As you know, CSpan does a 3 hour interview with authors it judges to be significant. Today it was the writer Chris Hedges –ex NYTimes reporter who has made a name for himself as a political/cultural critic with strong anti-war views.
One of the things that impressed me about Hedges was that though one could say his politics were generally to the left of center, a tendency to speak his mind (and, apparently, KNOW his mind) could land him outside that GPS zone.
He mentioned that he had no TV, and did not tweet. He preferred to read. I found his list of favorite books more than a little daunting, with titles that sounded like symposiums, or some elite pretentious course of “higher learning”. [People who read this blog are familiar with my feelings about teaching and teachers. Some teachers seem to want to impress you with their superior knowledge; with their big words they do not lend themselves to easy communication and comprehension. My assumption that “the effect created is what the creator actually wants to create” has shown me time and again that superior knowledge must be combined with simple communication.]
I am not accusing Hedges of this but I am saying that his complicated titles make me a little uneasy. The desire to impress is important but is often a sign of a certain immaturity, and perhaps my sense of “not being drawn” (see my blog title above) to Hedges comes from a hint of superiority in how he presents himself.
But I was at the same time drawn to known more about him, and was pleased to discover in myself a positive reaction to many of the things he was saying.
One thing very much in his favor was the fact of how much he supports Occupy Wall Street. Indeed, you could say (or I should say, I could say)
that OWS seemed to him to be the answer to so many things that upset him about our political, economic and cultural decline.
[The myriad disagreements that we both might discover that we have do completely EVAPORATE in the face of this one huge area of agreement. That is how important I –and presumably Hedges– see Occupy Wall Street.]
I imagine that there are many Chris Hedges speeches to be found on YouTube and other places.
I will just quote a section from Wikipaedia’s biography of CH that gives a good sense of what he is about]:
” Hedges, an outspoken critic of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, was also an early and vocal critic of the Iraq War. He questioned the rationale for war by the Bush administration and was critical of the early press coverage, calling it “shameful cheerleading”. In May 2003, Hedges delivered a commencement address at Rockford College in Rockford, Illinois, saying:
“We are embarking on an occupation that, if history is any guide, will be as damaging to our souls as it will be to our prestige and power and security.”
His employer, The New York Times, criticized his statements and issued him a formal reprimand for “public remarks that could undermine public trust in the paper’s impartiality.” Shortly after the incident, Hedges left The New York Times to become a senior fellow at The Nation Institute, write books and teach.
In his December 29, 2008 column for Truthdig, Hedges identified himself as a “socialist” in contrast to what he sees as “ruthless totalitarian capitalism.” On November 4 2011, Hedges was arrested with others in New York as part of the Occupy Wall Street demonstration.”
[I will leave it at that for now. I am sure that you can still find that whole 3-hour CSpan interview with Hedges. They will probably rebroadcast it a few times over the weekend.
I will certainly be looking at it again. See you back here later?