(CNN) — When Camille Paglia says Taylor Swift has an “obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine,” you know a frenzy can’t be far behind.
Paglia, the often-quotable cultural critic and academic who has a history of ruffling feathers with her blunt assessments of performers, celebrities and other pop culture figures, struck again with an essay in The Hollywood Reporter in which she took on Swift and her “girl squad” pals.
“In our wide-open modern era of independent careers, girl squads can help women advance if they avoid presenting a silly, regressive public image — as in the tittering, tongues-out mugging of Swift’s bear-hugging posse,” she wrote. “Swift herself should retire that obnoxious Nazi Barbie routine of wheeling out friends and celebrities as performance props.”
Reaction, of course, was … uh, swift.
It’s not the first time the iconoclastic Paglia has tilted against the zeitgeist’s windmills.
On Lady Gaga
“For two years, I have spent an irritating amount of time trying to avoid Gaga’s catchy but depthless hits.” — The (UK) Sunday Times, September 12, 2010
On Katie Couric
“Let me take this opportunity to say that of all the innumerable print and broadcast journalists who have interviewed me in the U.S. and abroad since I arrived on the scene nearly 20 years ago, Katie Couric was definitively the stupidest.” — Salon, January 14, 2009
On Miley Cyrus’ 2013 MTV Video Music Awards performance
“She was clumsy, flat-footed and cringingly unsexy, an effect heightened by her manic grin. How could American pop have gotten this bad?” — Time, August 27, 2013
On Madonna, circa 2014
“The muddy, slack-jawed cover image makes Madonna look as paralytically congealed and mummified as a Celtic bog body.” — The (UK) Sunday Times, December 7, 2014
(In fairness, Paglia was once one of Madonna’s biggest defenders. “Madonna’s great period was 1983-1992. She absolutely changed the world. There’s no doubt about it. And since then, it’s cringe-making when the current Madonna … it’s embarrassing,” she told Reason.)
And on ‘The Sopranos’
“It’s really not the Mafia theme per se that offended me in ‘The Sopranos’ — it’s just the inaccuracy with which Italian-American culture was depicted. To me, it was out of date — it was by a guy who had left there and had vague memories of what it was like in the ’60s. I loathed it; I could never watch it for more than two minutes.” — Salon, October 10, 2012