Valerie Solanas

“Valerie Jean Solanas (April 9, 1936 – April 25, 1988) was an American radical feminist and author best known for writing the SCUM Manifesto and attempting to murder artist Andy Warhol in the late 1960s.

As a teenager, she had a volatile relationship with her mother and stepfather after her parents’ divorce. As a consequence, she was sent to live with her grandparents. Her alcoholic grandfather physically abused her and Solanas ran away and became homeless. She came out as a lesbian in the 1950s. She graduated with a degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Solanas relocated to Berkeley, California. There, she began writing her most notable work, the SCUM Manifesto, which urged women to “overthrow the government, eliminate the money system, institute complete automation and eliminate the male sex”.[1][2]

Solanas moved to New York City in the mid-1960s, working as a writer. She met pop artist Andy Warhol and asked him to produce her play, Up Your Ass. She gave him her script, which she later accused him of losing and/or stealing, followed by Warhol expressing additional indifference to her play. After Solanas demanded financial compensation for the lost script, Warhol hired her to perform in his film, I, a Man, paying her $25. In 1967, Solanas began self-publishing the SCUM Manifesto. Olympia Press owner Maurice Girodias offered to publish Solanas’s future writings, and she understood the contract to mean that Girodias would own her writing. Convinced that Girodias and Warhol were conspiring to steal her work, Solanas purchased a gun in the spring of 1968.

On June 3, 1968, she went to The Factory, where she found Warhol. She shot at Warhol three times, with the first two shots missing and the final wounding Warhol. She also shot art critic Mario Amaya, and attempted to shoot Warhol’s manager, Fred Hughes, point blank, but the gun jammed. Solanas then turned herself in to the police. She was charged with attempted murder, assault, and illegal possession of a gun. She was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and pleaded guilty to “reckless assault with intent to harm”, serving a three-year prison sentence, including treatment in a psychiatric hospital. After her release, she continued to promote the SCUM Manifesto. She died in 1988 of pneumonia in San Francisco.” (Wikipedia)

Camille Paglia

“In the autumn of 1972, Paglia began teaching at Bennington College, which hired her in part thanks to a recommendation from Harold Bloom.[25] At Bennington, she befriended the philosopher James Fessenden, who first taught there in the same semester.[26]

Through her study of the classics and the scholarly work of Jane Ellen Harrison, James George Frazer, Erich Neumann and others, Paglia developed a theory of sexual history that contradicted a number of ideas in vogue at the time, hence her criticism of Marija Gimbutas, Carolyn Heilbrun, Kate Millett and others. She laid out her ideas on matriarchy, androgyny, homosexuality, sadomasochism and other topics in her Yale PhD thesis Sexual Personae: The Androgyne in Literature and Art, which she defended in December 1974. In September 1976, she gave a public lecture drawing on that dissertation,[27] in which she discussed Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, followed by remarks on Diana Ross, Gracie Allen, Yul Brynner, and Stéphane Audran.[28]

Paglia wrote that she “nearly came to blows with the founding members of the women’s studies program at the State University of New York at Albany, when they categorically denied that hormones influence human experience or behavior”.[29] Similar fights with feminists and academics culminated in a 1978 incident which led her to resign from Bennington, after a lengthy standoff with the administration, Paglia accepted a settlement from the college and resigned in 1979.[25]

Paglia finished Sexual Personae in the early 1980s, but could not get it published. She supported herself with visiting and part-time teaching jobs at Yale, Wesleyan, and other Connecticut colleges. Her paper, “The Apollonian Androgyne and the Faerie Queene”, was published in English Literary Renaissance, Winter 1979, and her dissertation was cited by J. Hillis Miller in his April 1980 article “Wuthering Heights and the Ellipses of Interpretation”, in Journal of Religion in Literature, but her academic career was otherwise stalled. In a 1995 letter to Boyd Holmes, she recalled: “I earned a little extra money by doing some local features reporting for a New Haven alternative newspaper (The Advocate) in the early 1980s”. She wrote articles on New Haven’s historic pizzerias and on an old house that was a stop on the Underground Railroad.[30]

In 1984, she joined the faculty of the Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, which merged in 1987 with the Philadelphia College of Art to become the University of the Arts.

Paglia is on the editorial board of the classics and humanities journal Arion.[31] She wrote a regular column for Salon.com from 1995 to 2001, and again from 2007 to 2009. Paglia resumed writing a Salon.com column in 2016.[32]

Paglia cooperated with Carl Rollyson and Lisa Paddock in their writing of Susan Sontag: The Making of an Icon, sending them detailed letters from which they quoted with her permission. Rollyson and Paddock note that Sontag “had her lawyer put our publisher on notice” when she realized that they were investigating her life and career.[24]

Paglia participates in the decennial poll of film professionals conducted by Sight & Sound which asks participants to submit a list of what they believe to be the ten greatest films of all time. According to her responses to the poll in 2002 and 2012, the films Paglia holds in highest regard include Ben-Hur, Citizen Kane, La Dolce Vita, The Godfather, The Godfather: Part II, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, North by Northwest, Orphée, Persona, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Ten Commandments, and Vertigo.[33][34]

In 2005, Paglia was named as one of the top 100 public intellectuals by the journals Foreign Policy and Prospect.[16] In 2012, an article in The New York Times remarked that “[a]nyone who has been following the body count of the culture wars over the past decades knows Paglia”.[35] Paglia has said that she is willing to have her entire career judged on the basis of her composition of what she considers to be “probably the most important sentence that she has ever written”: “God is man’s greatest idea.”” (Wikipedia)