Susan Sontag

I have often said that I am just smart enough to realize how smart I'm not. This is never more in evidence than when I sit down to read Susan Sontag, which I have to do slowly, in a good, sturdy chair with plenty of sleep under my belt. Christopher Hitchens writes a beautiful eulogy for Sontag for Slate magazine, in which he puts into beautiful, succinct words one of the chief reasons I've always admired Sontag:

With that signature black-on-white swoosh in her hair, and her charismatic and hard-traveling style, she achieved something else worthy of note, the status of celebrity without any of the attendant tedium and squalor. She resolutely declined to say anything about her private life or to indulge those who wanted to speculate. The nearest to an indiscretion she ever came was an allusion to Middlemarch in the opening of her 1999 novel In America, where she seems to say that her one and only marriage was a mistake because she swiftly realized "not only that I was Dorothea but that, a few months earlier, I had married Mr. Casaubon.")

In the age of fame for being famous, quiet, earned celebrity is a rare and beautiful thing.

xxx c