Sontag Essay 1966
Each of these fights, and others not yet enumerated, will require continuing energy, continuing vigilance, continuing insistence on feminism as a verb. ” Sontag also notes three historical facts that required confrontation before any analytical grasp of the “moral and political crisis” of 1966 was possible: that America was founded on genocide and on the “unquestioned right of white Europeans to exterminate” the indigenous population, that it had the most brutal system of slavery that did not “in a single respect recognize slaves as persons,” and, finally, that it was essentially peopled by a European underclass who were not, in their native Europe, cultural producers.
As a result, she argues, after America was “won,” it was “filled up with new generations of the poor and built up according to the tawdry fantasy of the good life that culturally deprived, uprooted people might have at the beginning of the industrial era.
The outgoing Obama Administration, lauded now in part for its contrast against the garish and gaudy replacement, was sly in its use of America’s “King Kong paws,” raids and bombings and secret wars all an acknowledged part of its arsenal.
Under Trump, King Kong promises to be ever more wild and unfettered, building walls, crushing and trampling with relish; in Sontag’s words “naked violence breaking through, throwing everything into question.” If Sontag were alive, she may have noted that neither presidential candidate truly considered the nature of American power in the 2016 election.
” reveals it to have been flailing for at least five decades.
As we confront the inauguration of a bawdy President, indecorous, undignified and illiberal, many among us—American liberals in particular—have been tempted to ask: “What’s happening in America?
” Susan Sontag, whose political prescience has been duly noted, asked and answered this same question 50 years ago.
It is perhaps just this inability to re-conceptualize power itself that bears some relationship to the almost-but-never-quite nature of American women’s quest to get into the White House.
Today, President Elect Trump will be sworn in as the President of the United States and his cabinet, made up of the whitest and richest of America, will begin to run the country.