Susan Sontag’s Blog
I’m Jane, and I’ll be working for Nao Bustamante along with Robin Riskin for the among friends symposium. For now though I’d like to discuss another woman: Susan Sontag. Sontag was an American critic and most of her stuff got published in and around the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Socially, she was a quite the scenester and a wunderkind of 16 when she started at UC Berkeley. Her obsession was culture – absorbing it, interpreting it, writing about it, living in it. She wrote about photography, interpretation, AIDS, pain, camp, and today we get a chance to see her look at herself. I just got her recently published journals and I feel like they should have a place in the among friends blog. Click the link and we can read these together.
Let’s go to something really personal:
Poor little ego, how did you feel today? Not very well, I fear – rather bruised, sore, traumatized. Hot waves of shame, and all that. I never had any illusion she was in love with me, but I did assume she liked me.”
I choose something so intimate because I’d like to make sure that you feel as weird as I do when I read this entry (Sontag’s and mine too I think). For me, it’s not so much the message of unrequited love but the transmission of the message itself that gets to me. I’m embarrassed! Embarrassed for her, embarrassed for me, embarrassed to relate all of this to someone else, lengthening that icky chain of information disclosure.
And aren’t I a total creep for reading these? But is it okay to keep on reading if I feel bad about it?
My reaction to these journals is so embedded in my readings of other journal-like web productions, like facebook status or Twitter. Those short tell-alls, similar in form and maybe even sometimes in content to Sontag’s entry here for me can be weird in a different way: someone’s facebook status is published for the world to see and never intended purely for personal use or record. I wonder how different these aphoristic web journals are from Sontag’s (Click the twitter link – it’s MC Hammer’s Twitter, and he can be pretty intimate about his marriage at times). Are we engaging with MC Hammer the same way we engage with Sontag’s old school model of self-publishing? What do you think? There’s more to say about this.