Sunday, November 28, 2010

Caveat Lectores on Bill Moyers

The Lector has had some role models in the quest for credibility. I want to write like Lewis Grizzard, Donald Kaul and Carl Hiaasen, and to deliver lectures at USF like Lewis Black and Ron White. However, I would give up my entire quest for other people’s talent if I could just think like Bill Moyers. Should I ever develop that quality, I will find a way to put it on paper.

Bill Moyers: "Welcome to the Plutocracy!"

Wednesday 03 November 2010 by: Bill Moyers, t r u t h o u t | Speech
Bill Moyers speech at Boston University on October 29, 2010, as a part of the Howard Zinn Lecture Series.

I was honored when you asked me to join in celebrating Howard Zinn’s life and legacy. I was also surprised. I am a journalist, not a historian. The difference between a journalist and an historian is that the historian knows the difference. George Bernard Shaw once complained that journalists are seemingly unable to discriminate between a bicycle accident and the collapse of civilization. In fact, some epic history can start out as a minor incident. A young man named Paris ran off with a beautiful woman who was married to someone else, and the civilization of Troy began to unwind. A middle-aged black seamstress, riding in a Montgomery bus, had tired feet, and an ugly social order began to collapse. A night guard at an office complex in Washington D.C. found masking tape on a doorjamb, and the presidency of Richard Nixon began to unwind. What journalist, writing on deadline, could have imagined the walloping kick that Rosa Park’s tired feet would give to Jim Crow? What pundit could have fantasized that a third-rate burglary on a dark night could change the course of politics? The historian’s work is to help us disentangle the wreck of the Schwinn from cataclysm. Howard famously helped us see how big change can start with small acts.
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