Spoken Word

Spoken Word

“In the Tolstoy State Museum in Moscow, there are 1,754 letters from Americans ... A ‘Bradford’ wrote in 1890, just after The Kreutzer Sonata was published, to Tolstoy in St. Petersburg, Russia. Of course Tolstoy was not in St. Petersburg, but letters that were addressed to Tolstoy anywhere in Russia got to him. He was that famous.”

Robert Whittaker, professor of Russian at Lehman College 1

“If you put a single chimpanzee in a room with a computer, in a week that single chimpanzee could write a health care reform bill that would do better than the existing health care system. There’s no way policy makers could actually make things work worse than what we have now.”

Mark Schlesinger, SLC Health Advocacy Program faculty member 2

“White people have to own up, admit you have a race. The first step is admitting you’re white.”

Damali Ayo, comedian and author of How to Rent a Negro 3

“History is in some ways a very creative act, because you have limited evidence—you just can’t know everything. Everybody can tell a slightly different story even if they have the same evidence.”

Judy Wu, author of Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: The Life of a Wartime Celebrity 4

“Extinction is an unusual form of death because while most death adds a spoke to the wheel of life, extinction carries a peculiar finality, an end of lineages, a preclusion of futures. As the poet Gary Snyder put it, ‘death is one thing. An end to birth is something else.’”

Carl Safina, scientist, author, and founder of the Blue Ocean Institute 5

“In the two decades following World War II, Jewish American writing—with the focus on Bellow, Malamud, Roth—was mainstream, due to the equivalence drawn between the Jew as a figure of alienation in an era of universal alienation, the Jew as everyman. But with the advent of multiculturalism, Jewish American culture has been receding, moving back toward the margins that it occupied when the ‘melting pot’ reigned supreme.”

Hana Wirth-Nesher, director of the Goldreich Institute for Yiddish Language, Literature, and Culture at Tel Aviv University 6