Charles McGrath's appreciation in the New York Times adds a dissenting note from time to time:

"Ms. Sontag could be a divisive figure, and she was far from infallible, as when she embraced revolutionary communism after traveling to Hanoi in 1968 and later declared the United States to be a "doomed country ... founded on a genocide." But what her opponents sometimes failed to credit was her willingness to change her mind; by the 80's she was denouncing communism for its human-rights abuses, and by the 90's she had extended her critique to include the left in general, for its failure to encourage intervention in Bosnia and Rwanda."

Jonah Goldberg reminds us of some other unflattering quotations:

On John McCain's torturers: "The North Vietnamese genuinely care about the welfare of hundreds of captured American pilots and give them bigger rations than the Vietnamese population gets.

On Castro's Cuba: "The Cubans know a lot about spontaneity, gaiety, sensuality, and freaking out. … The increase of energy comes because they have found a new focus for it: community.

On red-state America, circa 1969: "To us, it is self-evident that the Readers Digest and Lawrence Welk and Hilton Hotels are organically connected with the Special Forces' napalming villages in Guatemala."

Roger Kimball offers a damning summary of a literary life (via NRO):

"As a writer, Sontag is essentially a coiner of epigrams. At their best they are witty, well phrased, provocative. A few are even true: "Nietzsche was a histrionic thinker but not a lover of the histrionic." But Sontag's striving for effect (unlike Nietzsche, she is a lover of the histrionic) regularly leads her into muddle. What, for example, can it mean to say that "the AIDS epidemic serves as an ideal projection for First World political paranoia" or that "risk-free sexuality is an inevitable reinvention of the culture of capitalism"? Nothing, really, although such statements do communicate an unperturbable aura of left-wing contempt for common sense."

UPDATE: Tim Blair has more, including a lament from the radical chic James Wolcott.
|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2004/12/sontag-r.html|||12/29/2004 01:24:00 pm|||||||||