Ursula Le Guin’s Viral Video: “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”

Ursula Le Guin’s Viral Video: “We Will Need Writers Who Can Remember Freedom”

Ursula K Le Guin

Writer Ursula Le Guin recently received the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters and her thank you speech went somewhat viral. Her opinions on capitalism, literature, and imagination are worth some special attention.

In the midst of all the end-of-the-year lists and reminiscences, there is a speech that made the social media rounds recently that we thought deserved a special mention here at BillMoyers.com.In accepting the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at this year’s , , eminent sci-fi writer Ursula Le Guin made a knock-out speech about the power of capitalism, literature and imagination that, as she put it afterwards, “went sort-of viral on YouTube.”

The 85-year-old writer started with a shout-out to her fellow fantasy and sci-fi writers, who have for so long watched “the beautiful awards,” like the one she’d just received, go to the “so-called realists.” She continued:

I think hard times are coming when we will be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now and can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine some real grounds for hope. We will need writers who can remember freedom. Poets, visionaries — the realists of a larger reality. …

Books, you know, they’re not just commodities. The profit motive often is in conflict with the aims of art. We live in capitalism. Its power seems inescapable. So did the divine right of kings. Any human power can be resisted and changed by human beings. Resistance and change often begin in art, and very often in our art — the art of words.

I have had a long career and a good one. In good company. Now here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want — and should demand — our fair share of the proceeds. But the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.

Le Guin’s speech was fully transcribed by Parker Higgins, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. You can read the entire speech at Higgins’s blog.

In 2000, Bill Moyers interviewed Le Guin about the 1980 PBS adaptation of her 1971 book, The Lathe of Heaven, that became the most requested film ever in the PBS archives. The plot revolves around the main character’s dreams altering reality. Le Guin tells Bill she was very skeptical that it could be adapted for television. We’re working on adding the show to our archive, but in the meantime, here’s a version from YouTube.

http://www.nationofchange.org/2014/12/28/ursula-le-guins-viral-video-will-need-writers-can-remember-freedom/
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Family’s fury after prisoner has to say goodbye to his dying mother on the phone

Family’s fury after prisoner has to say goodbye to his dying mother on the phone

Prison officials at Strangeways deny request for man on remand to be allowed to visit hospital. Now family fear he will miss funeral

Barbara Edge with sons Dale and Carl

A family has slammed officials at Strangeways after a prisoner had to say his goodbyes to his dying mother over the phone.

Relatives of Barbara Edge gathered at her bedside when doctors told them she had only hours to live.

A senior doctor and family members telephoned the Manchester jail requesting that her son, Carl Birchall, be allowed to visit her at Salford Royal Hospital.

Mr Birchall, 30, is currently being held on remand at the Manchester prison after being charged with common assault and actual bodily harm.

But Mr Birchall was not freed under guard and had to say his final goodbye on the phone. Prison bosses say they were assessing the request when Mrs Edge passed away.

But her family now fear he will not be allowed to attend his mother’s funeral.

Carl’s sister, Stacey Birchall, 24, of Lower Kersal, Salford, said: “My mum had only been in hospital two days when she started to deteriorate quickly. She had emphysema and was admitted on a general ward but the next day was put in intensive care. …. http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/familys-fury-after-prisoner-say-8279266

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Die Rebellen, die Frauen, der Urwald – Die Vergewaltigungen und der Wald

Die Rebellen, die Frauen, der Urwald – Eine Reportage (1/3)

Die Vergewaltigungen und der Wald

David Signer, Niania 3.12.2014, 18:25 Uhr

In den Auseinandersetzungen im Nordostkongo werden Frauen systematisch missbraucht, um die Bevölkerung einzuschüchtern.

In den Auseinandersetzungen im Nordostkongo werden Frauen systematisch missbraucht, um die Bevölkerung einzuschüchtern. (Bild: Helmut Wachter)
Vergewaltigungen werden im Osten von Kongo-Kinshasa häufig verübt. Aber diesen Frühling nahmen sie in der Provinz Orientale sprunghaft zu. Warum? Es geht um Bandenkriege, Wilderer, Goldminen, Naturschutz und eine korrupte Armee.

«Ich war bei meiner Schwester in Salaté zu Besuch, wo ich alleine in einer Hütte schlief. Die Rebellen kamen mitten in der Nacht. Sie zerrten mich aus dem Bett und schleppten mich zu einer Wiese ausserhalb des Dorfes. Dort wurde ich von drei Männern hintereinander vergewaltigt.» Das war im Mai dieses Jahres, im Nordosten von Kongo-Kinshasa. Die vierzigjährige Jeanne erzählt davon, als ob es gestern passiert wäre. …

http://www.nzz.ch/international/afrika/die-rebellen-die-frauen-der-urwald-teil-1-1.18438363?extcid=Newsletter_12122014_Top-News_am_Morgen

No Charges For Cop Who Broke Face Of Handcuffed Woman In Patrol Car

The Fifth Column

E0pdmsl2ta98zzyantsh King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg | AP Photo – Elaine Thompson

Needless to say there is a nationwide pattern here.  The question now is who or what is behind the outrageous decisions to allow such inhumane actions to continue?

TPM LiveWire

King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg (pictured above), whose office handles felony cases in the area, said he would not seek a felony charge against officer Adley Shepherd, 38, according to the Seattle Times newspaper.

Satterberg declined to file charges despite the urging of Seattle’s city attorney, whose office said the punch “undoubtedly met the felony standard,” the newspaper reported. The city attorney’s office, however, has no jurisdiction to handle felony cases…

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