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Paths, after all, cannot be changed without a reckoning.* It is unsurprising that the tumult of the present, our collective chagrin at what is to come, has provoked a turning back—a re-reading of those who have come before, catalyzed by the belief that this perusal of intellectual history, of catastrophe’s endured, can provide some faint blueprint for the formulation of an ethical and active dissent.
“There is a good deal of anxiety about American life.
In fact there is reason to fear that America may be entering moral and political crisis,” wrote the editors at the top of the document.
When Sontag submitted her response, the United States was in the midst of the Vietnam War; prettily titled operations with names like “Cedar Falls” were dropping bombs and killing thousands.
Lyndon Johnson was President and Ronald Reagan Governor of California.
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.
And her answers, laden with the intellectual acuity of all her work, offer some insight into our own sour present. ” began as a questionnaire distributed, per the editorial custom of the , among a number of the notable intellectuals of the time.
These included many men and, other than Sontag, a single woman: Diana Trilling.
And the country looks it.” Condescending as it may be, Sontag’s assertion continues to resonate.
Even before Trump was elected, comedian John Mulaney, appearing on the Seth Myers Show, joked that “Donald Trump is not a rich man, Donald Trump is like what a hobo imagines a rich man to be,” complete with “fine golden hair,” “tall buildings with [his] name on it” and a “TV show where [he fires] Gene Simmons with [his] children.” Mulaney was riffing, but in the months since others have picked up the track, pointing to the garish nature of Trump’s gold-laden rooms and conspicuous consumption as the core of his appeal to those who have little or nothing.