Saturday, January 01, 2005

Happy New Year!

2004 has been a year of intense growth and progress for me, especially when it comes to introspective personal functioning and the formation of political beliefs and interests. As I continue to commit myself to become an official educator in the guise of a public school teacher, I continue to remind myself that being an educator is a lifelong pursuit that has no classroom walls in which to confine the passion for knowledge and the reverence for wisdom. These newfound and still-forming political realizations have done a great deal to give me purpose and inspiration, in addition to strengthening and creating new relationships with others with similar ideals and goals. I told a friend that I was hesitant to label myself as an “activist” just yet because I did not feel I had done enough to warrant that title, and thus I was content with “activist-minded.” Perhaps I am selling myself short with that description, denying myself a true recognition of my power and opportunity.

Perhaps 2005 will be the year in which I truly embrace my desire for activism.

Death of Susan Sontag, Speaker of Truth

This Democracy Now! article about Susan Sontag's death includes a transcript of her speaking at a college in March 2004. She discusses the "kind of demoralization of the culture, a dumbing-down of the culture, and an extraordinary ascendancy of materialistic and anti-idealistic values" that has taken place in American society, calling it a "discrediting of idealism," even a "triumph of consumerism." This frank, to-the-point assessment is a refreshing change of pace from the usual bullshit one encounters.

Especially encouraging was her emphasis on the idea that it is not up to writers to change society, it is up to people.

I will be looking into reading some of Susan Sontag's books when I get a chance, and I feel sorry that I did not know more about her while she was living.

"Very few people have the nerve to stand up for moral principles or have a sense of the right of criticism that's part of our national culture." -- Susan Sontag

"To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public." -- Theodore Roosevelt