28 December 2004

Susan Sontag, whom we've namechecked on this blog a couple of times, died today at age 71. I always had mixed feelings about Sontag: On Photography is a great, dense source of ideas, an important resource for more than one of my short stories and would-be novels, but on the whole, Sontag always seemed like a creation of her publisher, FSG, and her books never quite lived up to her smarts (or dust jacket photos). Of all the recent public intellectuals in America—Mailer, Vidal, West—Sontag's books will, I would guess, have the shortest shelf life. Still, it couldn't have been easy for her to stay so smart, so cool, and so articulate for so long. I hope I do half as well.

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