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 :: 1933-, American Essayist

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Guns have metamorphosed into cameras in this earnest comedy, the ecology safari, because nature has ceased to be what it always had been -- what people needed protection from. Now nature tamed, endangered, mortal -- needs to be protected from people.
~ Susan Sontag - [Ecology]

 

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I do not think white America is committed to granting equality to the American Negro... this is a passionately racist country; it will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
~ Susan Sontag - [Race and Racism]

 

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I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.
~ Susan Sontag - [Paranoia]

 

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In America, the photographer is not simply the person who records the past, but the one who invents it.
~ Susan Sontag - [Photography]

 

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In good films, there is always a directness that entirely frees us from the itch to interpret.
~ Susan Sontag - [Cinema]

 

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In most modern instances, interpretation amounts to the philistine refusal to leave the work of art alone. Real art has the capacity to make us nervous. By reducing the work of art to its content and then interpreting that, one tames the work of art. Interpretation makes art manageable, conformable.
~ Susan Sontag - [Critics and Criticism]

 

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In the final analysis, ''style'' is art. And art is nothing more or less than various modes of stylized, dehumanized representation.
~ Susan Sontag - [Style]

 

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Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution. Poignant longings for beauty, for an end to probing below the surface, for a redemption and celebration of the body of the world. Ultimately, having an experience becomes identical with taking a photograph of it.
~ Susan Sontag - [Image]

 

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Intelligence is really a kind of taste: taste in ideas.
~ Susan Sontag - [Intelligence and Intellectuals]

 

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Interpretation is the revenge of the intellect upon art. Even more. It is the revenge of the intellect upon the world. To interpret is to impoverish, to deplete the world -- in order to set up a shadow world of ''meanings.''
~ Susan Sontag - [Literary Criticism]

 

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It is not altogether wrong to say that there is no such thing as a bad photograph -- only less interesting, less relevant, less mysterious ones.
~ Susan Sontag - [Photography]

 

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It is not suffering as such that is most deeply feared but suffering that degrades.
~ Susan Sontag - [Suffering]

 

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It is the nature of aphoristic thinking to be always in a state of concluding; a bid to have the final word is inherent in all powerful phrase-making.
~ Susan Sontag - [Aphorisms and Epigrams]

 

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It's a pleasure to share one's memories. Everything remembered is dear, endearing, touching, precious. At least the past is safe --though we didn't know it at the time. We know it now. Because it's in the past; because we have survived.
~ Susan Sontag - [Memory]

 

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Jews and homosexuals are the outstanding creative minorities in contemporary urban culture. Creative, that is, in the truest sense: they are creators of sensibilities. The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony.
~ Susan Sontag - [Minorities]

 

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Much of modern art is devoted to lowering the threshold of what is terrible. By getting us used to what, formerly, we could not bear to see or hear, because it was too shocking, painful, or embarrassing, art changes morals.
~ Susan Sontag - [Arts and Artists]

 

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Nature in America has always been suspect, on the defensive, cannibalized by progress. In America, every specimen becomes a relic.
~ Susan Sontag - [Nature]

 

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One set of messages of the society we live in is: Consume. Grow. Do what you want. Amuse yourselves. The very working of this economic system, which has bestowed these unprecedented liberties, most cherished in the form of physical mobility and material prosperity, depends on encouraging people to defy limits.
~ Susan Sontag - [Society]

 

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Ours is a culture based on excess, on overproduction; the result is a steady loss of sharpness in our sensory experience. All the conditions of modern life -- its material plenitude, its sheer crowdedness -- conjoin to dull our sensory faculties.
~ Susan Sontag - [Excess]

 

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Perversity is the muse of modern literature.
~ Susan Sontag - [Literature]

 

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