Crying Wolf

Naomi Wolf has created quite a stir by alleging that Harold Bloom sexually harassed her when she was an undergraduate at Yale twenty years ago. Bloom has called it a “vicious lie.” There’s no way for me to assess the validity of the claim itself, but I must say I agree wholeheartedly with Camile Paglia on this:

“I just feel it’s indecent that if Naomi Wolf did not have the courage to pursue the matter at the time, or in the 1990’s, and put her own reputation on the line, then to bring all of this down on a man who is in his 70’s and has health problems—who has become a culture hero to readers in the humanities around the world—to drag him into a ‘he said/she said’ scenario so late in the game, to me demonstrates a lack of proportion and a basic sense of fair play,” said Ms. Paglia, who is professor of humanities and media studies at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she said she helped institute that university’s sexual-harassment policies in the 1980s.

“At the beginning of the 90’s, people said, ‘Oh, Naomi Wolf, this great thinker,’” said Ms. Paglia. “But what she’s managed to do in 10 years is marginalize herself as a chronicler of teenage angst. She doesn’t want to leave that magic island when she was the ripening teenager. How many times do we have to relive Naomi Wolf’s growing up? How many books, how many articles, Naomi, are you going to impose on us so we have to be dragged back to your teenage-heartbreak years? This is regressive! It’s childish! Move on! Move on! Get on to menopause next!”

Quite right. Wolf has managed to go on to a Rhodes Scholarship, several best-selling schlock books, and garnering princely sums as Al Gore’s fashion adviser. It’s time to give the Little Miss Victim shtick a rest.

Via Andrew Sullivan

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steven says:

    Not to mention that, despite her vaunted reputation, she comes across as decidedly un-analytical when she appears on TV.

  2. James Joyner says:

    No joke. I was honestly surprised she’d graduated Yale, let alone was a Rhodes Scholar.

    And, while she’s still a very attractive woman, I’m surprised to learn she graduated only a year ahead of me.