Susan Sontag Quotations

Susan Sontag

He who despises himself esteems himself as a self-despiser.

I am struck by the fact that, despite the rightness of many of our views and aspirations, in particular our sense of the madness of a nuclear war between the superpowers and our hopes for reforms of the many injustices of our own system, we were not responding to a large truth. And we were countenancing a great deal of untruth.

I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.

I have asked myself many times in the past six years or so how it was possible that I could have been so suspicious of what [Czeslaw] Milosz and other exiles from Communist countries -- and those in the West known bitterly as 'premature anti- Communists' -- were telling us. Why did we not have a place for, ears for, their truth? The answers are well known. We had identified the enemy as fascism. We heard the demonic language of fascism. We believed in, or at least applied a double standard to, the angelic language of Communism.

Instead of just recording reality, photographs have become the norm for the way things appear to us, thereby changing the very idea of reality and of realism.

The émigrés from Communist countries we didn't listen to, who found it far easier to get published in the Reader's Digest than in The Nation or the New Statesman, were telling the truth. Now we hear them. Why didn't we hear them before, when they were telling us exactly what they tell us now? We thought we loved justice; many of us did. But we did not love the truth enough.