Reply to "What is the current book you are reading?"

I'm reading "The Measure Of A Man" an autobiography by Sidney Poitier, I found @ my local library.



In today's high-speed, technology and mega-consumer, celebrity-driven world, with films crammed full of product placements and car chases, it's touching and grounding to read about Poitier growing up on tiny Cat Island, in the Bahamas...


"On that tiny spit of land they call Cat Island, life was indeed very simple, and decidedly preindustrial. Our cultural 'authenticity' extended to having neither plumbing nor electricity, and we didn't have much in the way of schooling or jobs, either. In a word, we were poor, but poverty there was very different from poverty in a modern place characterized by concrete.

It's not romanticizing the past to state that poverty on Cat Island didn't preclude gorgeous beaches and a climate like heaven, cocoa plum trees and sea grapes and cassavas growing in the forest, and bananas growing wild.

But the beauty of Cat Island wasn't just what we had; it was also what we didn't have. Poverty notwithstanding, I was lucky, and the reason I was lucky was that I wasn't bombarded with contravening images and influences that really didn't have any direct connection to my nurturing. I didn't have to diget - television - children's show and cartoons. I didn't have to digest the stuff on radio and have to ask, 'What are they saying? They're talking about selling me something. Why are they selling me something? I don't have a job." I didn't even have to deal with the myriad stimulations that come from the presence of mechanized vehicles. No one on the island had so much as a car or motorboat.

[Now if you take a modern family in the United States...]

"We put our kids to fifteen years of quick-cut advertising, passive televison watching, and sadistic video games, and we expect to see emerge a new generation of calm, compassionate, and engaged human beings?

In the kind of place where I grew up, what's coming at you is the sound of the sea and the smell of the wind and your mama's voice and the voice of your dad and the crazines of your brothers and sisters - and that's it."
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