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"My Substitute for LSD Was Indian Food"

(Photos: Iain Cameron and Michael Lionstar/The University of the Arts)

Camille Paglia is a professor of the humanities at The University of the Arts in Philadelphia and a leading public intellectual.

Paglia was recently interviewed by Tyler Cowen, an economist and polymath. In that conversation, Cowen asked Paglia about a line she had written about her intellectual development during the 1970s. While other people had psychedelic experiences from LSD and other drugs, she was eating Indian food. Specifically, she ate lamb vindaloo to open her mind. She explains to Cowen:

COWEN: You once wrote, I quote, “My substitute for LSD was Indian food,” and by that, you meant lamb vindaloo.


COWEN: You stand by this.

PAGLIA: Yes, I’ve been in a rut on lamb vindaloo.

COWEN: A rut, tell us.

PAGLIA: It’s a horrible rut.

COWEN: It’s not a horrible rut, it may be a rut.

PAGLIA: No, it’s a horrible rut. It’s a 40-year rut. Every time I go to an Indian restaurant, I say “Now, I’m going to try something new.” But, no, I must go back to the lamb vindaloo.

All I know is it’s like an ecstasy for me, the lamb vindaloo.

COWEN: Like De Quincey, tell us, what are the effects of lamb vindaloo?

PAGLIA: What can I say? I attain nirvana.

Good Indian food will do that.

You can read or watch the rest of their conversation here, which includes Paglia's thoughts on the movies Ben-Hur and Star Wars Episode III.

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OMG I can relate. There are certain dishes I am addicted to.
Indian Restaurants: Chicken Tikka Masala
Mexican Restaurants: Pollo en Mole
Chinese Restaurants: Moo Goo Gai Pan.
I can stare at a menu for ten minutes, examine every offering, and 99 times out of 100, I will order one of the above.
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