Chris Hedges on the Purpose of Journalism

“When I left the United States, I was pretty much out of the country for 20 years. So I lost touch with many of those people that I had worked [with…] But it’s interesting, since I’ve come back to the United States, I teach in a prison and have been about to start again this fall and teach with inmates.

And I think part of that is because as a writer who cares about voices—and I think this is really the mark of what journalism’s golden function is within a society, giving a voice to those who otherwise, without us, would not have a voice.”

From Looking Ahead: Chris Hedges On Poverty, Politics, U.S. Culture {talk of the nation}.

Imagining Chris Hedges as Not a Buzz-Kill

Last July I wondered what was up with Chris Hedges getting everybody down all the time:

Mr. Hedges tells me what the darker side of my conscience knows: we are doomed. The part I love and hate about his telling-it-like-it-is-ness is how he reluctantly reminds us there’s nothing we can do about it. We’re haplessly trolling around, buying this and buying that, and nobody cares. We can buy all the organic produce we want, but China will still “double their carbon emissions by 2030, from a little over 5 billion metric tons to just under 12 billion.”

Part of me wishes we would be more serious; the other part wants to sit back and make the most of it. But we truly can’t deal with too much bad news, and we’ve been conditioned into thinking there’s “something YOU can do” for so long that our sense of reality is dangerously out of whack. I think Chris Hedges’ columns are demoralizing, but if the shoes fit, lace ‘em up.

This week, Dan from the always ace mp3 blog said the gramophone helps us humanize Chris Hedges in this post: Sex with Chris Hedges.

What else can be said?

Homework

For insight into the economic situation of the middle class and how today’s huge income inequality originated, listen to an excellent Radio Times interview with Jacob S. Hacker, co-author of Winner Take All Politics.

And check out one author’s take on what it would take to stop it, in an interview with Chris Hedges about his new book, the Death of the Liberal Class, embedded below.

Here’s a highlight:

Dostoevsky was obsessed with this, that’s what “Notes from the Underground” is about. It’s about the defeated dreamer; it’s about the person who went to all the Barack Obama rallies and chanted “Yes we can” and then realized that it doesn’t make any difference. And so they withdrew, underground, and laughed at all the idiots and buffoons in the Tea Party or Sarah Palin, and nursed their cynicism and self-indulgence. And Doestoevsky writes that when that happens you enter an age of moral nihilism. And I think that’s where we’re headed.

A bit heavy for Friday, eh?