Monday, January 05, 2009

introduction for a book by Susan Sontag

Isabella of Castile is meant to have remarked that she knew of only four fine sights in the world: "a soldier in the field, a priest at the altar, a beautiful women in bed, a thief on the gibbet". The allegedly meritocratic society of our own time does not accept these values, and instead regards the priest as a pious child it would be cruel to disabuse, and the thief, once suppressed, as a child sealed into childhood trauma. The soldier has become an object of pity: an unfortunate lost child. Like children they cannot pay for themselves. And to this end the poor woman has to be prised out of her bed, where she could turn so little profit, and onto the redundant gallows.