Friday, January 08, 2010

Wallace Shawn Up to His Neck in Being American at BAM - Gothamist:

During the Q&A that followed, moderator Daniel Menaker asked Wallace Shawn about his dogged political dissidence and wondered, "Why don't you just give up?" After a long pause, Shawn replied:

Well, I'm still alive. I'm not extinguished. This is a grim moment and, you know, between irrationality and greed (if you're going list qualities that are dangerous), the planet is terribly threatened and a lot of people are being squashed as we sit here. But in my lifetime I have seen political action have some effect. And for me to give up, while still keeping everything that I have, I would be actively making things worse every day without even any attempt to make them better. I mean, I do believe that our lives are rather harmful, just by leading the bourgeois life that most of the people in this room live, we are hurting other people and we are certainly allowing much more violent things than we see in our own lives to be done to people we don't see in other countries. We're doing stuff every day and it would be quite unseemly for us, probably, to give up.

It was a funny exchange to listen to while sipping wine on a full stomach.