02 November 2009

Local Event ~ Rebecca Solnit at RIT

This Wednesday (11/4) Rebecca Solnit will be speaking at RIT as part of the Gannett Lecture Series. You can find details about her talk - entitled "Other Loves: Public Life & Unsaid Emotions" - as well as of a reading that she is doing earlier at Writers & Books here. If you have visited the blog even occasionally you'll know that I think Solnit is a wickedly smart, politically astute writer. I am looking forward to her talk. As a tune up you might enjoy reading her Op-Ed ("California's Common Sense Deficit") from The Los Angeles Times yesterday. You can find that here. And here is a reading - focusing early on mostly on really insightful passages on Henry David Thoreau - that Solnit gave a couple years back when she published her wonderful book of political-aesthetic essays Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes of Politics:

Part of what she reads goes like this:
"The police and the media willfully, if not consciously, mistake what kind of danger civil disobedients pose. Martin Luther King, that reader of Thoreau and great advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience, was a dangerous man in his time, because he posed a threat to the status quo, and it was for that reason that the FBI followed him and many hated him. Like Thoreau, he went to jail; like Thoreau he posed no physical danger to anyone. But to admit that activists can be dangers to the status quo is to admit, first, that there is a status quo; second, that it may be an unjust and unjustifiable thing; and third, that it can indeed be changed, by passionate people and nonviolent means. Better to portray activists as criminals and the status quo as the natural order -- and only celebrate revolutionaries long after their causes are won and their voices are softened by time, or misrepresentation; for Thoreau and King are still dangerous men to those who pay attention to their words."
Just so ... I highly recommend a trip out to RIT on Wednesday evening.

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