Thursday, September 12, 2002

Andrew Sullivan gives the cadaverous Susan Sontag a beating in Salon. Reprinted on his web site here.


While Sontag has endured the wrath of many moderates and conservatives for her tacit approval of what happened on September 11 and her general hatred for her own country; and while she and other leftists have sparked a debate about patriotism that has shaken up many liberals, it's easy to forget that the Right has its own toads, spiteful "idiotarians" (as the excellent James Lileks calls them), who hate their country every bit as much as the Gore Vidals and Susan Sontags.



Since he was fired from National Review, Joseph Sobran has started his own web site where he weekly lists the evils of the country that nurtured him. It's hard to figure out where a writer as talented as he was went wrong. But I think he carried the cancer around with him. He was fired from NR for attacking Israel in terms that were construed as anti-semitic. But it's clear from his columns that he has many more axes to grind as well. There's the usual loathing of Darwin and Einstein that can be found among a certain strain of crack pots on the right. But he's also obsessed with the idea that Shakespeare's plays were written by the Earl of Oxford and that Abraham Lincoln basically ruined the U.S. when he went to war to keep the South in the Union. Not long before he died, the indefatigable J.P. McFadden, former NR editor and founder and editor of the Human Life Review, wrote me a long letter detailing the whole Sobran saga. Sobran's loathings were apparent to his colleagues for years before they leaked into his NR writings. Indeed, William F. Buckley 'covered' for Sobran for years, I'm told, until his Jew baiting could no longer be hidden.

After September 11th, you can only feel pity for writers like Sontag and Sobran, for whom the whole event was obviously nothing more than another TV show—just another program or issue to review and write about, with the peculiar, nasty and loveless view of the world they nurture every day of their lives....

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