It would be easy to dismiss Lee Siegel’s piece—“Where Have All the Mailers [he means Norman] Gone?”) in the New York Observer this week—but what fun would that be? Siegel, writing in typically bombastic fashion, obviously intends to start an argument. His essay is essentially a lament for the disappearance of fiction from just that sort of debate: the shared (and perhaps largely imaginary) upper-middle-brow cultural conversation many of us try to engage in by reading magazines like the New Yorker and going to see certain movies, etc. I enjoy that conversation, too; so let's have at it.
(Pictured above: Susan Sontag in 1962, photographed by Fred W. McDarrah.)