Quotes Categories

Susan Sontag Quotes

(1933), American Essayist

AIDS obliges people to think of sex as having, possibly, the direst consequences: suicide. Or murder.

Category: Aids

AIDS occupies such a large part in our awareness because of what it has been taken to represent. It seems the very model of all the catastrophes privileged populations feel await them.

Category: Aids

Ambition if it feeds at all, does so on the ambition of others.

Category: Ambition

American ''energy'' is the energy of violence, of free-floating resentment and anxiety unleashed by chronic cultural dislocations which must be, for the most part, ferociously sublimated. This energy has mainly been sublimated into crude materialism and acquisitiveness. Into hectic philanthropy. Into benighted moral crusades, the most spectacular of which was Prohibition. Into an awesome talent for uglifying countryside and cities. Into the loquacity and torment of a minority of gadflies: artists, prophets, muckrakers, cranks, and nuts. And into self-punishing neuroses. But the naked violence keeps breaking through, throwing everything into question.

Category: America

The quality of American life is an insult to the possibilities of human growth... the pollution of American space, with gadgetry and cars and TV and box architecture, brutalizes the senses, making gray neurotics of most of us, and perverse spiritual athletes and strident self-transcenders of the best of us.

Category: America

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.

Category: Aphorisms And Epigrams

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.

Category: Arts And Artists

What is most beautiful in virile men is sometimes feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.

Category: Beauty

Boredom is just the reverse side of fascination: both depend on being outside rather than inside a situation, and one leads to the other.

Category: Bores And Boredom

Cancer patients are lied to, not just because the disease is (or is thought to be) a death sentence, but because it is felt to be obscene -- in the original meaning of that word: ill-omened, abominable, repugnant to the senses.

Category: Cancer

The ideology of capitalism makes us all into connoisseurs of liberty -- of the indefinite expansion of possibility.

Category: Capitalism

Anything in history or nature that can be described as changing steadily can be seen as heading toward catastrophe.

Category: Change

In good films, there is always a directness that entirely frees us from the itch to interpret.

Category: Cinema

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.

Category: Critics And Criticism

The aim of all commentary on art now should be to make works of art -- and, by analogy, our own experience -- more, rather than less, real to us. The function of criticism should be to show how it is what it is, even that it is what it is, rather than to show what it means.

Category: Critics And Criticism