Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Recommended: Regarding Susan Sontag

On HBO and HBO On-Demand.

A few random observations:

  • I read a review prior to the initial airing that stressed how Regarding Susan Sontag humanized her instead of showcasing her writing or intellect (which it also did, just to be fair). This is no shocking revelation -- women must be humanized before than can be viewed as intellectual or critical thinkers.  Not that humanity is a bad thing, of course, but women are never identified solely on their body of work. Plus it would have been uninteresting as a documentary.
  • Coming out: Again, given the time frame, and her generation, I don't view Sontag's never claiming any official identity a great loss. Trying to pigeonhole her into a nice, neat lesbian or feminist package, as many do, is a bigger mistake.
  • "The last intellectual." What a legacy. I can't remember who said it, but one of the interviewees called her identity as an intellectual "camp" --  all too accurate given that Sontag schooled the world on camp sensibility. Her erudition, her measured delivery, the cigarette... would be played for laughs today.

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