Saturday, January 01, 2005

Death of Susan Sontag, Speaker of Truth

This Democracy Now! article about Susan Sontag's death includes a transcript of her speaking at a college in March 2004. She discusses the "kind of demoralization of the culture, a dumbing-down of the culture, and an extraordinary ascendancy of materialistic and anti-idealistic values" that has taken place in American society, calling it a "discrediting of idealism," even a "triumph of consumerism." This frank, to-the-point assessment is a refreshing change of pace from the usual bullshit one encounters.

Especially encouraging was her emphasis on the idea that it is not up to writers to change society, it is up to people.

I will be looking into reading some of Susan Sontag's books when I get a chance, and I feel sorry that I did not know more about her while she was living.

"Very few people have the nerve to stand up for moral principles or have a sense of the right of criticism that's part of our national culture." -- Susan Sontag

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt

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