Susan Sontag Interview
March 10, 2003 9:55 AM   Subscribe

Susan Sontag gave an interview that was broadcast on BookTV via CSPAN2 back on Sunday, March 2nd. It was an impressive and in depth 3 hour program. It is now available online here for Realplayer. This is not the sort of thing your ever going to see on commercial television.
posted by Lex Tangible (11 comments total)
This is not the sort of thing your ever going to see on commercial television.

Praise Jesus.
posted by techgnollogic at 10:06 AM on March 10, 2003

I believe the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:34 AM on March 10, 2003

mr_crash_davis quotes Mr. Crash Davis. Cool!
By the way -- I echo the sentiment.
posted by moses at 10:36 AM on March 10, 2003

thanks for the link, Lex. welcome to fark.
posted by andrew cooke at 10:45 AM on March 10, 2003

Wolfe's prime example is Susan Sontag, whom he rightly lambastes for writing whoppers like this one, which appeared in Partisan Review in 1967

Wow. A three-year-old article with a single reference to a thirty-five-year-old comment posted half an hour after a link to a three hour program. That's intellectual rigor, Metafilter-style!
posted by Armitage Shanks at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2003

sontag is a hottie, though. she could do whatever she wants to my body... even if it is reading her crap into my ear.
posted by the aloha at 11:17 AM on March 10, 2003

I've watched about an hour of it. Why does she get such a bad rap? She mentions in that first hour that she can't believe that people still attack her for what she wrote 20 years ago even though her more recent writings repudiate some of what she once wrote. Does anyone want to be judged by their opinions of 20 years ago? People evolve and have the right to allow their opinions to evolve. Unless she's going to say something outlandish in this interview, in five minutes she speaks more intelligently than 95% of the people I encounter all day.
posted by archimago at 11:27 AM on March 10, 2003

"There is such thing as a just war":

On both the so-called left and the so-called right, identity-talk is on the rise. The anti-Americanism that is fueling the protest against the war has been growing in recent years in many of the nations of the New Europe, and is perhaps best understood as a displacement of the anxiety about this New Europe, which everyone has been told is a Good Thing and few dare question. Nations are communities that are always being imagined, reconceived, reasserted, against the pressure of a defining Other. The specter of a nation without borders, an infinitely porous nation, is bound to create anxiety. Europe needs its overbearing America.

Not all violence is equally reprehensible; not all wars are equally unjust. No forceful response to the violence of a state against peoples who are nominally its own citizens? (Which is what most "wars" are today. Not wars between states.) The principal instances of mass violence in the world today are those committed by governments within their own legally recognized borders. Can we really say there is no response to this? Is it acceptable that such slaughters be dismissed as civil wars, also known as "age-old ethnic hatreds." (After all, anti-Semitism was an old tradition in Europe; indeed, a good deal older than ancient Balkan hatreds. Would this have justified letting Hitler kill all the Jews on German territory?) Is it true that war never solved anything? (Ask a black American if he or she thinks our Civil War didn't solve anything.)

War is not simply a mistake, a failure to communicate. There is radical evil in the world, which is why there are just wars. And this is a just war.

--Susan Sontag. May 2, 1999.

Follow-up question: Does anyone really think Hussein -- a man who has murdered tens of thousands of Iraqis -- is less "radically evil" than Milosevic?
posted by pardonyou? at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2003

If you think she sucks now, wait 'till you hear her 'rap' album!
posted by hama7 at 6:38 PM on March 10, 2003

posted half an hour after a link to a three hour program. That's intellectual rigor, Metafilter-style!

wanna listen to it all? knock yourself out, man. I'd rather spend 3 hours reading one of the hundreds of American writers who can actually write
I don't like Sontag as a writer, I find her ideas fashionably predictable and her style very clumsy. I've read her Illness as Metaphor and the photojournalism thing and they both suck. she's made some very asinine political comments in the past (like, the North Vietnam social model is far superior to the Western one). she's a Leibovitz fan and I don't like Leibovitz at all (I don't ike her post Rolling Stone, color work at least)
Wolfe's attack ("another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering up to the podium") is dead-on. it's perfect for Sontag

anyway, thanks for the intellectual rigor mortis lesson
posted by matteo at 4:20 PM on March 11, 2003

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