Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Susan Sontag, RIP

She died today of leukemia at the age of seventy-one. A whirlwind of a woman.
Justbetweenstrangers has a good homily, and here's one official obituary .

I found Sontag's writings challenging, both in the way they were intended to challenge, but also in some other way, having to do with different personalities, perhaps. I still have America only half-read, though I liked the Volcano Lover. Her biography fascinated me, but many of her famous short essays left me cold. Maybe it's because she was made into one of those icons which by definition must be very few and very different, and then people like Camille Paglia tried to trudge in her footsteps. I dislike the icon-building, especially with women, as the world is already a tough place for an uppity woman, and it doesn't help to be told, both implicitly and explicitly, that you must be unique to make it; only be unique just like Sontag, for example.

But none of this was Sontag's fault, of course, and it's small-minded of me to even mention that here. Sontag was not small-minded, and the world will be an emptier place without her.