Friday, March 31, 2006

Return from Gotham

Just back from Gotham, and a terrific "Writers of the Storm" panel at The New School.

If you were there, you know I don't exaggerate when I say that keynote speaker, David Cay Johnston, was superb as was moderator Terrence McNally, as well as every member of the panel that included Danny Goldberg, Anne Waldman, Paul Robeson, Jr., Arthur Kopit, Phil Rockstroh, and Bob Hershon, whose combined dynamism made for a provocative, and electric debate. If you weren't there, you missed one hell of an evening.

Seldom are we graced with so much brain power, and grit under the same roof, at the same time. One can only hope that dialogue, like ignorance, will be contagious, and that this will prove to be just the beginning of more high octane discourse on the subject of censorship, manipulation of the press and media, as well as disenfranchisement, on all levels. If we can clone sheep, why not principles, as well as a principled struggle that transcends categories, labels, and the viscera of contempt. Any idea that can be viewed in only one dimension is one that is doomed to be obsolete before it can see the light of day.

As we, as a nation, move closer to censuring a president, it was refreshing to watch a group of writers accept the challenge to take the debate where it most needs to go, out of our living rooms, and into the streets. What we take away from Tuesday night's discussion, if nothing else, is that democracy is not now, nor has it ever been, a spectator sport.