I missed this exchange while on holiday – Letters of Note reprinted a clattering of faxes between Julie Burchill and Camille Paglia. I’m no Burchill fan, but Paglia’s tone is so staggeringly egotistical and bizarrely sinister that I’m giving this one to the Englishwoman, on points. Here’s a flavour of Paglia’s odd attitude:
As the years pass, it will become clearer and clearer to everyone, perhaps even to you, that this was a pivotal moment in your life. You had an opportunity to move forward and to grow by making an important alliance. But instead you chose to dig in your heels, clamp down, and sulk at the new girl invading your turf. You have behaved childishly.
I could have helped you far more than you could help me. I am read and translated around the world from Japan to South America, and the basis of my fame is not just journalism but a scholarly book on the history of culture. You are a very local commodity, completely unknown outside of England, and you have produced nothing of global interest. It is you who began this fight, and it is you who will pay the price for it.The more vicious you are in print, the stupider you will look.
Alliances? Fights? What is this, literature or cage-fighting?