Skip to main content

What I'm Reading: "Hold Everything Dear" by John Berger

An interesting little tome I picked up off the Nashville Public Library "New Arrivals" shelf, its addition to my information diet has been refreshing--in a disturbing but satisfying way. It's Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance by John Berger.

Berger is a globally prominent activist who is concerned with media, blind power, proletariat struggle, and the rift between the humanity of the haves and the have-nots. This collection of very brief essays, all written over the course of the past six years, attempts to make sense of topics like despair and the terrorism it spawns. Digesting this book, savoring its prose, I've read views I've rarely seen espoused in our culture, views which nonetheless strike chords of truth. I'm sure Berger would be among the first to encourage the reader to exercise skepticism, but his prose is seductive, his analogies convincing.

A sampling of essay titles might say more:

  • "War Against Terrorism or Terrorist War?"
  • "Let Us Think About Fear"
  • "The Chorus in Our Heads or Pier Paolo Pasolini"
  • "Flesh and Speeches"
  • and
  • "Ten Dispatches About Place"

These essays are not for the smug. They firmly encourage one to reflect outside the box that our omni-pervasive media wash us into in such unremitting ways. The thoughts therein may drive one to activism, in fact. I jokingly told my wife that if I disappear it's because the powers-that-be discovered I had checked out this book from the library. Here's a quick quote from "The Chorus in Our Heads..." that might offer a taste of Berger's perspectives. He lovingly describes the long-suppressed film, La Rabbia (Italian for "The Rage"), crafted by Pasolini from television footage and narrated by two voices that serve in roles like those of the classic Greek Chorus :

"The film lasts only an hour, an hour that was fashioned, measured, edited forty years ago. And it is in such contrast to the news commentaries we watch and the information fed to us now, that when the hour is over, you tell yourself that it is not only animal and plant species which are being destroyed or made extinct today, but also set after set of our human priorities. The latter are systematically sprayed not with pesticides, but with ethicides -- agents that kill ethics and therefore any notion of history and justice."

Berger, John. Hold Everything Dear: Dispatches on Survival and Resistance. 1. United States: Pantheon Books, a division of Random House, Inc., 2007.

Yup, it's true, in some ways I'll be glad to have finished and returned this book to its shelf. But its messages, and in particular its balanced and concerned treatment of the underlying causes of terrorism--both state-enacted and personally-fomented--will stay with me, both steeling me against hatred in its many guises and reminding me of the humanity of those who commit the most heinous atrocities against others.


Popular posts from this blog

Periscoping a Fall Walk across Nashville's Pedestrian Bridge

On my final day of Fall Break, which I spent mostly knocking out home-focused honey-do items (though I did get to Marrowbone Lake for one morning of fishing), I decided to take a walk over the John L. Seigenthaler Memorial Bridge. I had never done it before! My goal was to take a 360 panorama for my little side project, Nashville360VR, which has been suffering lately from my dedication to my new job at Warner Enhanced Elementary School. I did that, and on a whim I Periscoped it. Here's the video of that which I saved locally. Folks popped in and out--I don't think I had more than 20 or so concurrent viewers, but all in all I received 251 peeks over the 13 or so minutes or so of the 'cast. You won't see chat or comments (or hearts :), but you can view the video. Here:

Thanks to 'scopers for dropping in. And thanks to the powers-that-be for such a gorgeous Friday afternoon!

Here are a couple normal "pano" shots I took on my iPhone:

That is all. Oh...

If yo…

The Dreamers Exhibit in Second Life

Wow. I had a fantastic hour early this morning while my lovely was sleeping and the canine brutes were resting in front of the fireplace. Lured by the login page's description, I tp'd over to the site, which promised a celebration of peace in the face of violence. 
The description of the project begins:
Because violence will not take away our ability to dream!
When we were just beginning to create this project, the events of Charlottesville happened. Our hearts stopped. We cannot do this - we thought - we must alert to the political situation we live in! The danger of tyranny. The danger of environmental disaster. The danger of xenophobia, sexism, homophobia. The danger of hate! But then we stopped.From within us came this beach, this horizon. This sea, this lake, these white clouds grew. No! We will not give up on The Dreamers. We will not give up on beauty. They will not steal the beauty of the world. They will not steal tenderness. They will not steal the life we have left.A…

THE BEST ISTE EVER: Day 4 Reflections

I'll get a start on it. Day 4 was the bomb. Here's the "moneyshot" again  to prove it:

Tuesday morning I actually slept in until 7:30, had a good workout, and dressed smartly for my photo shoot at 11:20. I'd been asked by ISTE to be a poser and you know me, I couldn't resist. But that did mean I was in slacks and had to haul my blue blazer around all day. That's okay though, I look forward to recognizing myself in some upcoming issue of Learning and Leading with Technology. If you check out last month's issue you'll see Andy Wheelock's personable self gracing the inside front cover--like that. You should also catch Andy's article from the May L&LT:

I actually had a sit  down breakfast at the Hilton's Riverwalk restaurant, and the breakfast wrap was good but I never had a coffee refill and no one actually checked in with me at any time. I had to flag down a …