Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Quotation of the Day comes from our previous president.

It's so easy to get tied up in knots by the daily flow of crimes and misdemeanors coming from the inarticulate TV-watcher-in-chief currently occupying the White House; I needed to cleanse my mind this afternoon by reading this full interview of novelist Marilynne Robinson by President Barack Obama that appeared in two issues of The New York Review of Books in November 2015.
"...When I think about how I understand my role as citizen, setting aside being president, and the most important set of understandings that I bring to that position of citizen, the most important stuff I’ve learned I think I’ve learned from novels. It has to do with empathy. It has to do with being comfortable with the notion that the world is complicated and full of grays, but there’s still truth there to be found, and that you have to strive for that and work for that. And the notion that it’s possible to connect with some[one] else even though they’re very different from you..." -Barack Obama, 2015
Even though it hurts to know that he's not the president now, it helps to know that Barack Obama is a fellow citizen. I'll say it again (and again and again): The 2016 election was a contest of readers versus brain-dead boob-tube addicts (not to be too judgmental about it), and the TV watchers are currently (but, I hope, temporarily) in control.

You can read the full text of Part One of this conversation in the November 5, 2015 issue of  NYRB and Part Two in the November 19th issue (the quote is pulled from the beginning of the second part).
The full audio version of conversation is available for free from iTunes:

I was steered toward today's quotation, and inspired to find the full conversation, by the January 12, 2017 episode of Kurt Andersen's Studio 360, "POTUS as Tastemaker." Thanks Kurt.

No comments: