Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Start with skepticism" - H. Zinn

It was a miserable November day last fall -- an unnerving mess of rain, wind, and cold. I don't know whose bright idea it was to walk down to Soho and look for jeans -- probably mine, and yes, I am embarrassed to admit it. Coming upon a line outside Cooper-Union's Great Hall, RG and I spontaneously decided to wait in it so that we could join the audience for a special event that day,  "The People Speak Live." Matt Damon was headlining to promote a History Channel documentary with his old Cambridge neighbor, Howard Zinn. Despite the inclement weather, our deliberation was brief: Shopping or intellectual self-improvement..."Howard Zinn is, like, major," I think I said.

Looking withered at 87,  Zinn maintained a very charming vibrancy and sharpness of mind, commenting on audience questions such as the reality of Obama's presidency vs. his campaign hype with,  "What comes through clearly is that we cannot depend ... on [political leaders] to remedy the injustices. It's people's movements that push and prod the leaders of our government."

RIP, Howard. We couldn't help but fall in love with you, not just a little, but a lot. Now go and check out A People's History of the United States.