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The Last Empress Besieged

Susan Sontag <><><>Susan Sontag  photography by Fred McDarrah
Susan Sontag at a symposium on sex in 1962 at the Mills Hotel, now defunct, on Bleecker Street. (Image source from NY Times “On Self” by Susan Sontag)
In previous posts on Sontag, I have emphasized how Susan Sontag expressed her wish to be remembered as a novelist. This view was reenforced after reading a hilarious and a touching article, a portrait of Susan Sontag with warts and all by a Stanford professor who used to escort Sontag from time to time. (Terry Castle – Desperately Seeking Susan)

Susan Sontag is back in the public discourse recently in relation with the opening of Diane Arbus retrospective at the Met. Finally from a seasoned critic came this article on Diane Arbus by
Peter Schjeldahl
calling her a revolutionary artist. Peter illustrated how wrong headed Sontag was in her treatment of Diane Arbus.

“Sontag’s notorious attack on Arbus, in an essay from 1973 that became the linchpin of her book “On Photography” (1977), passed one test of great criticism. It asked the right question—about photography’s claim to be a full-fledged and legitimate art—at the right time, when Arbus’s work had advanced that claim with unprecedented force. Otherwise, the essay is an exercise in aesthetic insensibility, eschewing description of the art for aspersions, often pithy, on the artist’s ethics…. (read more here).

Susan Sontag was right when she said one must remember artists by their best work and not by their worst.
I have many posting on Susan Sontag in this blog because I remember her for her best works and her forceful and tireless promotion of international talents in the arts and her high minded activisim but not for her controversial book on photography .

Besieged Besieged

Here is a photo based digital image, neither my best nor my worst, just created recently when I saw the groove of cement on the floor while my spouse was fixing the tiles in our bedroom.

Elsewhere in the world,
Matt (Pas au-dela) has great post on Wittgenstein’s Mistress, David Markson’s brilliant novel. Make time and read this delightful work.

Two birthdays passed by on March 16: Isabelle Huppert and Bernardo Bertolucci.
Isabelle Huppert – there are so many memorable films by her,
she was especially brave and brilliant in “The Piano Teacher”.
Thinking about the twisted relationship of mother and piano teacher, reminds one of our pathological repressed leaders .
I will digress here, I often wished that our Secretary of State had stayed in the music world as a concert pianist or a figure skater. She is an amoral monkey performer, a consumate careerist. Astrologically speaking , Condi Rice and Laura Bush share the same Sun and Moon combo- Scorpio with Moon in Cancer – one in 144 – W is a Cancer. The threesome seems to embody the worst of Cancer trait – needy, cagey and ready to attack at any moment. W shares a birthday with the Dalai Lama, which I find kind of funny, like a story from Dumas the Iron Mask the exiled King and the fake King.

Isabelle and Bernardo are Pisces Snakes.
Bernardo Bertolucci old films inspired me and gave me the title of this post. His film “Besieged” was not appreciated as well as his other films. His earlier film “The Conformist” influenced Coppola, dark, brooding operatic style so well incorporated in the first two Godfather. Bertolucci’s Birth Chart

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