Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dana Heller on Susan Sontag

The white race is the cancer of human history'? Who was this woman? Who and what? An anthropological epidemiologist? A renowned authority on the history of cultures throughout the world, a synthesizer of the magnitude of a Max Weber, a Joachim Wach, a Sir James Frazer, an Arnold Toynbee? Actually, she was just another scribbler who spent her life signing up for protest meetings and lumbering to the podium encumbered by her prose style, which had a handicapped parking sticker valid at Partisan Review. Perhaps she was exceptionally hell-bent on illustrating McLuhan's line about indignation endowing the idiot with dignity, but otherwise she was just a typical American intellectual of the post-World War II period.
-- Tom Wolfe

That was written some years back, while Sontag was still alive. I thought & still think it was devastatingly funny. I'm not so sure about this piece by someone named Dana Heller, in The Common Review. There's something about postmortem score-settling that doesn't sit well with me.

Via Arts & Letters Daily.

1 comment:

  1. I would like you to develop in more detail your objections to Dana Heller's essay, for publication in the letters section of The Common Review. Thanks!

    Daniel Born, Editor
    The Common Review
    (The magazine of the Great Books Foundation)


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