The Cult of Saint Joan

Daphne Merkin at the NYT:

The literary scholar Christopher Ricks made a distinction between being “unenchanted” and “disenchanted.” The latter category implies that you have been let down in your hopes and dreams; the former that you never had any to begin with. Didion, of course, belongs to the first breed. Nothing ever seemed to excite her or faze her or disappoint her, largely because she set her sights so low to begin with. She cannot be disabused. Spotting Jim Morrison on a spring evening in 1968 recording a rhythm track leads her to comment on his outfit — “black vinyl pants and no underwear” — and the gnomic remark (one of her specialties) that his whole gestalt suggested “some range of the possible just beyond a suicide pact.” Didion was the archpriestess of cool — possessed of a corrosive sense of irony and an overriding habit of condescension — in a period of greater naïveté and belief than we live in now.

more here.