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One of the most celebrated intellectuals of the twentieth century, Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) has left indelible marks on contemporary culture spanning film criticism, literary theory, political activism, theater, and education. From her prolific and penetrative essays to her novels to her production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot in a candlelit theatre during the Siege of Sarajevo, Sontag’s extraordinary work ethic and uncompromising cultural stance earned her numerous literary prizes and a MacArthur “genius” fellowship.

In On Photography (1977), Sontag constructed a seminal critique of the role of visual culture in capitalist society; in Illness as Metaphor (1978), she confronted the “blame-the-victim” sensibility and its long history of shaming those suffering from disease by projecting onto them psychological failings in addition to their already debilitating physical pain; Against Interpretation (1966) endures as one of the most critically acclaimed essay anthologies in history.

Despite her daunting powers of reason, Sontag was also a woman of immense emotional capacity. Per her self-professed account, she had been in love nine times in her life — four with men, one of whom, the writer Philip Rieff, fathered her only child, David, and five with women, including legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, with whom Sontag spent the last decade of her life.

From her poignant meditations on art, love, and writing to her formidable media diet of literature and film to her intense love affairs and infatuations to her meditations on society’s values and vices, Sontag’s recently published journals reveal an intimate glimpse of a woman celebrated as one of the twentieth century’s most remarkable minds, yet one who felt as deeply and intensely as she thought, oscillating between conviction and insecurity in the most beautifully imperfect and human way possible as she settles into her own skin not only as a dimensional writer but also as a dimensional human being.



At SXSW, Maddow bookmarks were handed out with free copies of Drift after Rachel’s talk. There was a QR code on the bookmark that led to this MaddowBlog page. The page includes wallpapers (available in different resolutions) and ringtones. Enjoy!

h/t @ImTheQ

First off, those are some great photos. More importantly, Has the legit official MaddowBlog come to tumblr??

Welcome to the party!

Just because Rachel Maddow is holding a lightsaber. 

People are beginning to rebel against the ways in which we’ve increased our dependence on corporations to provide for us. The food movement has its problems, and its struggles will probably increase. But it offers people so much. Fighting for environmental causes can be really discouraging. The food movement offers pleasure in the fight. It’s one of those rare instances where the right choice is usually the more pleasurable choice, where you can align your ethics and your hedonism. Tell me: where else in life do you get to do that?

Michael Pollan, Lucky Peach (via prettayprettaygood)

That’s how I feel about shopping/hanging out at independent bookstores.

(via rachelfershleiser)

Ben Bernanke, Hippie

That dismissive attitude toward anyone who spoke out against the Iraq war 10 years ago is back to disparage any critic of fiscal austerity.

I get that not everyone agrees with Keynesian principles, but the dramatic grandstanding over the deficit is toxic.

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