A conversation transcript with Howard Zinn:
“I’m convinced of the uncertainty of history, of the possibility of surprise, of the importance of human action in changing what looks unchangeable.” -Howard Zinn-
You have to understand that I enlisted in the Air Force. I volunteered. I was an enthusiastic bombardier. To me it was very simple: it was a war against fascism. They were the bad guys, we were the good guys. One of the things I learned from that experience was that when you start off with them being the bad guys and you being the good guys, once you’ve made that one decision, you don’t have to think anymore, if you’re in the military. From that point on, anything goes. From that point on, you’re capable of anything, even atrocities. Because you’ve made a decision a long time ago that you’re on the right side. You don’t keep questioning, questioning, questioning. You’re not Yossarian, who questions. -Hiward Zinn-
http://globetrotter.berkeley.edu/people3/Terkel/ A passage or so quoted:
For example, during the few days of Bush’s triumph in Iraq, we heard the phrase “embedded journalists,” continuously. But to my ear, it comes out “in bed with journalists.” And so you see, hearing impairment does away with euphemisms. We compose it to a higher truth.
Another case in point: Justice Scalia, the most powerful man in America, the man who appointed our president, Justice Scalia, who, by the way, taught at my alma mater once, the University of Chicago Law School — more about that in a minute — but Justice Scalia’s name comes out to my ear as “Scarpia.” For those of you [who know] the opera Tosca, you know Tosca’s a diva, and Scarpia is the police chief; the “whole room trembled,” the sort of J. Edgar Hoover of Rome at the time. And so it’s not Scalia, it’s Scarpia. And so you see, it works.
The other confession is that John Ashcroft, our Attorney General, and I are fellow alumni. We both attended the University of Chicago Law School. I did about thirty years before he did, but I figured it out. He is considerably older. John Ashcroft, I figured out, is 350 years old. Let me explain to you why.
You saw an early incarnation of John Ashcroft when you saw Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible. Now you all know The Crucible. It’s 1690-something, Salem, Massachusetts. The fear of the terrorists today: witchcraft, the witches. And so here comes this reverend — and that’s John Ashcroft’s previous incarnation — Reverend Parris, his name is. And he says to the young hysterical kids, “You’re with me or you’re against me. And if you deny my God, if you deny my God, you are consorting with the devil.” So they hanged a few old ladies. So I figured out his age: he’s 350 years old.