Reading the social critic Camille Paglia is like watching Keith Moon play the drums. Moon (1946-1978) was the manic drummer for the British rock band The Who. His playing was mercurial, brilliant, and unpredictable. Moon would play to the vocal instead of the beat, drift in and out of the proper time, do mind-boggling fills at odd moments, and yet through it all maintain a kind of swirling order in the chaos.
Like Moon, Paglia is manic, idiosyncratic, and sprawling. Yet at the core, her critique is chugging in a central direction. Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender and Feminism, Paglia’s new collection of essays, shows the pop culture polemicist recreating some of her greatest hits about sex, art, and feminism.