Monday, March 17, 2008

Real Democracy Takes Guts

'Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born.'
--the indomitable 88-year-old novelist and Nobel laureate Doris Lessing, in The Golden Notebook. To learn more about the life & times of the self-educated Lessing, who dropped out of high school at the age of 15, you can go here. Like all great writers, she resists classification. While many regard Notebook, published in 1962, as a pathbreaking feminist tract and its author as a feminist icon, she spoke out in this interview with the Guardian, saying "I find myself increasingly shocked at the unthinking and automatic rubbishing of men which is now so part of our culture that it is hardly even noticed."

6 Comments:

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Buster said...

By the way, how's that ombudsman at the New York Times working out?

Kristol commits major error in NYT column.

 
At 1:02 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

The only positive outcome of giving that right-wing clown Kristol such valuable real estate is how much he's embarrassed himself with a series of these kinds of factual errors, which have made him look even sillier than he already did.

As for the current NYT ombudsman (or reader's rep, as he's formally called), the jury is still out, but I've seen nothing to dissuade me from believing that he was a good and possibly even great choice. On the other hand, everyone who succeeds the first guy, Dan Okrent, is going to be challenged to fill the shoes, while just about anyone can look good in comparison to the second guy, Byron Calame, who was mostly a bust.

Glad to see you back in comments, dear Buster. The conversation around here just isn't the same without you.

 
At 1:15 PM, Anonymous (I mean) Mr. Bluster said...

Apparently the "readers' rep," Clark Hoyt, writes a column twice a month. That's it. There is no institutional soul-searching nor garment-rending going on.

I think the Times simply bought themselves some cheap insulation from criticism for a time by hiring Hoyt, no matter what fine credentials he had. He doesn't seem to be much of a firebrand.

 
At 1:20 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

No, at least not compared to the first guy. And the decision to hire Kristol, by all reports, was the publisher's alone. And no doubt not popular among large portions of the staff, no doubt among a majority. But you know the saying that "he who has the gold rules." So I wouldn't saddle the entire organization with that decision. It was one guy at the top who made it, and who thus bears responsibility for it.

 
At 2:41 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Don't say "bear" today, or readers are likely to get "stern" with you.

 
At 2:49 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

That story leaves you shaking your head. Here's an investment house that made it through the Great Depression, but folds now, sold in a fire sale for $2 a share. It sure makes you pause and wonder about what's next for this economy. If only we had a president with the ability to inject confidence, rather than the second coming of poor, clueless Herbert Hoover.

 

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