With Alger Hiss dead and Gloria Steinem married, liberals were in desperate need of an “intellectual.” Woody Allen was a possibility, as were Carter and Clinton, but they were all too clich√?∆? ¬©. The Left needed someone relatively unknown to the masses — public opinion isn’t good for liberals — and someone who knew lots and lots of words. (The definitions were essentially irrelevant, but pronunciation was key.) They settled, at long last, on someone just as good as any Soviet apparatchik they could have ever found: Susan Sontag. Recently deceased at the age of 71, Sontag was to liberal elitists what the Kama Sutra is to porn.
It would be rather uncouth, at this point, to unearth the various manifestations of Sontag’s traitorous existence – but rest assured, if anyone has led such an existence, it was Sontag. Subversion was by all means her m√?∆? ¬©tier.
It’s interesting, thus, that the media has been so quick to salute Sontag. When President Reagan passed away last year, insensitive liberals lambasted him, and sensitive liberals kept quiet. Few left-wingers praised him, and if they did, it was to lie about him. But Sontag’s supporters, of whom there were apparently quite a lot, are rushing out of the woodwork like an Ashlee Simpson audience out of a concert hall.
The Village Voice gushed that Sontag “made being an intellectual attractive.” In a single paragraph, Sontag was called “indispensable,” and a champion of “moral responsibility” and “perceptual clarity.” Moreover, according the Voice, Sontag was an outspoken and brilliant champion “for aesthetic pleasure, for social justice, for unembarrassed hedonism, for life against death.” Actually, deaths of Americans from terrorist attacks didn’t much bother her, at least insofar as she once blamed terrorism on American foreign policy.
Far more mainstream publications than The Village Voice have embraced Sontag. One newspaper, in a lengthy editorial, hailed Sontag’s “courage,” as if “courage” is required to be a liberal in New York. Richard Lacayo of Time magazine, writing in the “Appreciation” column, opined that “Susan Sontag was our icon of the questing mind. For more than 40 years she made it seem both morally essential and utterly sexy to know everything….It didn’t hurt that she also possessed a dark, slightly exotic beauty, the kind that could make her seem like the star of her own foreign film.”
Lacayo called Sontag “the intellectual plenipotentiary of American cultural life,” and, taking his cue from liberals everywhere, declared that she had “courage.” But don’t fret! He had an example. According to Lacayo, in a full-page, Kleenex obituary, Susan Sontag had “courage” for once stating that Communism was “fascism with a human face.”
“Courage,” Lacayo wrote, “was never a problem for her.”
What was evidently a “problem” for Sontag was: the United States of America. Sontag, you may recall, is the bundle of joy who claimed that the 9/11 hijackers weren’t cowards. She also didn’t like Israel, and once had the audacity to claim — on a visit to Israel — that its foreign policy was unacceptable, “militarily and ethically.” She didn’t say why.
The current mash notes being madly written to Sontag are based on liberals’ horrific distaste for America. Sontag, dead at 71, represented liberal treachery better than most liberals ever could. As we’ve come to discover and expect, the media love a traitor.
Sign up to the Human Events newsletter