SOUNDBITES — “It depends on what sort of mood I’m in. When I hear the Nice and the Good abominating same-sex marriage, I wish everybody would come out. Dogs, cats, the little raindrops falling from the sky, the kitchen sink, etc. I guess with Sontag, her discomfort and reticence strike me now as more poignant than anything else. She was permanently ambivalent about female homosexuality, in a way I can understand, even if I don’t feel that way myself as much as I used to.” —Author (and new memoirist) Terry Castle on whether she’s frustrated her idol, and later-in-life friend Susan Sontag didn’t come out publicly (via)
Self hating and confusion make sense when you are raised in the culture that she was raised in. Not believing in lesbianism makes sense when you are partnered to who she was partnered to.
Gee, how nice to paint her shame and self hatred as a poignant ambibilance is good for a biographer. But Sontag was no shrinking violet in ANY OTHER AREA of her life. She left millions worth of property to Annie Liebovits and was with her for years and years, yet in her obit all that was mentioned was her ex husband from a divorce from years before. Stop painting a picture. She was just another closet case who would scream about every other issue but the one that actually resonated within her own life. Just like it’s much easier to tell your friends whats wrong with THEIR lives than it is to take a good look at your own. She lived in the arts community in NYC. It isn’t as if she was about to be rejected.
Sontag was highly influential as a social commentator and a moralist. A closet by any other name is still a closet. For me, considering she wrote in this era, it negates her whole body of work. She was over-hyped anyway, like Didion.
Susan Sontag became less relevant as her writings like “Notes on Camp” no longer resonated in popular culture. Her legacy is much smaller than in the minds of the gay preserving academia that lauds her. I hope they don’t do a movie about her, that would be unspectacular. Like her flame, she just died with irrelevance.
@dontblamemeivotedforhillary: She is relevant as cautionary tale for Gays and lesbians who don’t make sure that their partner’s are taking care of legal issues. Her work? meh.
Terry Castle wrote a very funny account of her complicated relationship with Sontag. It’s rather bitchy, but honest – Castle was in puppylike awe of Sontag, who treated her well at first, then like a servant, then dropped her. It’s a pretty absorbing read, Sontag’s theatrical personality comes through. Castle describes herself as Madge to Sontag’s Dame Edna, lol.
@ No. 3: Sontag can seem over-hyped in retrospect, but in the context of when her writing was coming out, it was pretty edgy stuff. And while I can admit that Didion isn’t for everyone – I love her work, but can see how others wouldn’t – I think it’s tough to claim that she didn’t have a substantial impact.
Sam: Didion had an impact all right. Still does, unfortunately. Ever read “Play It As It Lays” ? Catch what she used gay people to symbolize? And what the fuck did she ever know about us coming from the rats ass Sacramento delta. I can respect your appreciation of her, but you can have her.
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