Her opposition to interpretation locked criticism into a self-abnegating passivity, abstemiousness, and austerity (as if borrowed from a work by one of her heroes and models, Kafka’s “The Hunger Artist”: “I always wanted you to admire my fasting”). The “erotics of art” that she endorsed in the last line of “Against Interpretation” wasn’t a lust for the work of art itself but, rather, signified the critic’s own erotic aura. Instead of “interpreting” a work, it would suffice for her to anoint it with her approval, and thereby elevate it to her canon of contemporary cynosures. She turned criticism into a performative gesture, a stylization of desire akin to that of Garbo or Dietrich.
Richard Brody on Susan Sontag and the movies. [via The Book Bench]