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.
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.
” Responses were then published in the ’s Winter 1967 issue.
Sontag’s take begins with a repetition of the editors dire characterization of the present, presenting readers today a precedent for the apocalyptic flavor of our political moment.
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.
And yet, tomorrow, thousands of women will march and protest in Washington D. to express their opposition to his flamboyant misogyny, his xenophobia, and his ascendance to the country’s leadership.
Sontag famously said in an interview to the Paris Review that “feminist” was “one of the few labels [she was] content with.” She went on to ask, “Is it a noun?
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.