One can live by ideas or one can live by media consultants. Public figures in contemporary America seem to have made their choice. ~ George Scialabba from his essay “Honesty: A Syllabus”
Even though I matriculated from college in May of last year Aside: Wow, has it been a whole year?! I’ve never really lost the desire to know things. I yearn for knowledge, or, at the very least, knowledge which I’m interested in, superfluous and trivial though it may be. Still, to avoid becoming well-versed in things found only on the back of a Trivial Pursuit card or in the Potpourri category on Jeopardy, I try to find knowledge and entertainment in things that have served the common good for centuries, or are currently being touted as “need-to-know.” Generally, this information comes from the Intertubes and one must have a fairly fine filter to divine whether or not the information is useful and genuine. Other information comes from books which have always been, in my opinion, mostly above board in their reliability for useful knowledge. Still more knowledge is gleaned from the shimmering air of radio. More often than not, the radio portion is limited to NPR, PRI, and their family of networks that bring us news from around the globe.
To that end, on a drive out to a friend’s home for dinner on Tuesday, C. and I were tuned in to the radio listening to Fresh Air on NPR and caught a segment on George Scialabba, whose quote you see at the top. Mr. Scialabba is, like myself, a staff member at a university. His university is one you may have heard of, Harvard University. However, his writings are becoming (or maybe have been) well known and just upon reading a few of his essays and reviews, I’ve found that we are kindred spirits in our desires to be well read and well informed. Mr. Scialabba is definitely ahead of me on both counts, but now I have a goal for which to aim. He not only reviews books but writes them as well, and he has one out now called What Are Intellectuals Good For? which should be a very interesting read, but one of his reviews is for a book by Peter Singer called The Life You Can Save:Acting Now To End World Poverty. I have come to the conclusion based on a small variety of sources that poverty is the number one detriment to global reconciliation and community. I’m certain that this book, based on the review, would be more than substantial in showing us how we, any of us, could be instrumental in eliminating poverty around the world with a minimum of effort.
So…that is my challenge as I become a new father Aside: No, the baby is not here yet. I’ll let you know, I promise! to do my part to make certain that poverty becomes a thing of the past. As a friend of mine wrote the other day: 200 dead of swine flu in the Americas, 410,000 dead of malaria in sub-Saharan Africa…I’m just sayin’.
See you in the funny papers!