Susan Sontag: Fragment of “What’s Happening in America (1966)”

“Everything that one feel about this country is, or ought to be, conditioned by the awareness of American power: of America as the arch-imperium of the planet, holding man’s biological as well as historical future in its King Kong paws. Today’s America, with Ronald Reagan the daddy of California and John Wayne chawing spareribs in the White house, is pretty much the same Yahooland that Mencken was describing. The main difference is that what’s happening in America matters so much more in the late 1960’s than it did in the 1920’s. Then, if one had though innards,one might jeer, sometimes affectionately, at American barbarism and find American innocence somewhat endearing. Both the barbarism and the innocence are lethal, outsized today.”

* Sontag, Susan, “Styles of Radical Will”, What’s Happening in America?, F.S.&G NY, 1969, pp194

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