>> you can't avoid that. >> one way to start -- to deal with the pain is to reestablish those communities here and make them helping communities where they are not just helping each other but they are helping the rest of us, and that is the extremely powerful thing that i see every time i go out on an either mission continued service program or a team disaster deployment. >> thank you. >> i just want to -- >> anybody who wants to ask a question to come up to the microphone? >> yeah, i totally hear that. it was simply a career to acknowledge. part of what we are doing is creating culture where people are able to talk. in the play when he decides to
>> one thing that both people have noticed is that there is a tendency to crash when you're back home alone after having done this. you do this exhilarating thing where you are helping people acting as a military unit and not firing anybody or worrying about taking casualties. didn't you go home and crash. and both groups have turned to the organization give an hour which is an organization of 6000 psychiatric counselors and psychiatrists, psychologists in the country who give in our own wheat to iraq and afghanistan
veterans. because of "charlie mike," because the proceeds of "charlie mike" the our kids and our staff members on both the staff of the mission continues and team rubicon. when you buy the book you are supporting that particular effort. >> yes. could you just say your name? >> i live in the area and one of my professional interests is, okay, is helping young men in their social, moral, after school for young men. i'm interested in those ideas you mentioned. i forgot the name because i was taking notes. >> with eric, he's picked up on, you should one of these to talk to someone else's book. william mchenry, the great
military historian, wrote a very slim novel. not a novel, a slim book at the end of his grid which was a history of close order drill. it had a lovely time of keeping together in time. what the theory was that avedon official of the african savannah if you went out by yourself, to kill the lion, the amount of being dinner for the line. but early on that he can dance and together doing they kill the lion dance was selected for an early humans and that was, that was the source of close order drill. that muscular bonding is hardwired into men and women, and what eric's idea is, is
before you put boys in a classroom, especially middle school hormonal boys and high school hormonal boys is you do and out of physical training first. do this at first thing in the day -- first ed first thing in the day. i would love to see that experiment spend that wasn't my question but that this great. just briefly, you're a journalist. i would like to i liked what you said about cynicism i think about it is a result of social media, people do just fine -- i worry quite a bit about in a lack of progress we seem to be able to make on who may need to be in our area. or should be. i think, i wonder what you both
have to say about manhood as much as about war? i think war is an interesting subject in that we see both the absolute worst men can do but often some of the most heroic, some of those passionate. the problem is i might think, especially a man, tries to speak of something kind of, that social scientists and sociologists and scholars can't seem to pin point about why so many males are drawn to this, whether it's through movies or just serving in the military. i feel like a conversation is cut short by discussion of violence and patriarchal values. i think that absolutely is part of the conversation needs to continue to happen, but as a man teaching young men i think there's something very powerful about stories of war, about why
men watch these actions. there's also a lot of problems. i'm rambling spent there are other people behind you. spirit if you can both keep your answers short. >> you know, the deal is that over time we have socialized war. kind all the arguments against pro football but i'm still going to be watching the jets-patriots again tomorrow. i think the way to take this is the boys in particular have a predilection towards action. and if the action can be guided towards helping other people. you know, i was in a mission continues community service project in brooklyn where we're cleaning up a school, special needs school, and i was thinking inside and i walk outside and yours jon stewart and his two
kids with bricks cleaning up the playground and how to use something. at the end of the day when the school was done, we all came away with it, including john's kids, with a tremendous healing of personal satisfaction. it ain't shooting someone, but it is using your muscles for the good of the community. >> there's a theory the ancient greek tragedy was a form of storytelling but also a training for late adolescent males who are about to metric of it both in the military but also civic participation or that's what all these characters in the ancient plays are so young. young people were thrust into them possible ethical situation in which every decision will haunt them for the rest of their lives. the place would have been enacted by combat veterans but we think the course was lame
male adolescents were part of the places themselves. storytelling and tragedy itself for this democracy into a chore was a way to preparing young men to get into the military but i think of lost touch with storytelling as attorney come as a tool. >> thank you. my name is david. my question is addressed to joe klein. given that so many veterans are going to public service, how to the address the issue of campaign finance? so much, the fact people spend so much time making rich people for money in order to get elected. >> well, i don't think that they have addressed it. i think -- >> i think you have to turn to lawrence lessig for this. >> and i think also this.
i've, i think campaign finance is a major problem we have in this country but it's a less important problem the farther you go the latter in elections. the more that people know, i've covered 11, god help me, presidential elections, the more people involved the less important political advertising is. in 1982 they tried to everything that bill clinton and they couldn't. in 2008 with barack obama the public was involved. greatest antidote available to us with the current composition, supreme court, the greatest antidote, campaign financing scandal, that is this country, is citizenship. the more the people that were involved, makes themselves aware of the elections that if you make choices in, the less impact big money will have. >> and that happens once they get in. first they have to ask for the nation.
thank you very much. one more question. >> my name is rich. i'm not very much enlightened yet on any sense of war, but the conversation that you folks are having didn't help me much with the 10 buddies were on the vietnam war memorial in washington. how do we make sense of the war and had we take your wisdom, your knowledge, your experience with just a small group of people, veterans? and not need things like wounded veterans organizations. we should take care of them. what are you folks going to be able to do, not just impact young man but young people in our schools come in our communities, 4-h clubs,
churches, whatever it is. there's only two of you. where are the rest of us speaks i think we're talking reconciled after the fact. >> talk about something else, too. my concern isn't about young people with regard to the. my concern is with all people who send young people off the stupid wars. including both vietnam, iraq and the expansion of the war in afghanistan. the our real enemies out there we have to confront. we cannot be defenseless but the fecklessness with which these kids were sent off is an outrage. and as for vietnam veterans, one of the most moving times i had was on team rubicon deployment in oklahoma when a woman got up and said i'm not a veteran of your wars. and a veteran of vietnam and for the first time tonight i feel as
i assembled the vietnam veterans are now welcomed in team rubicon deployments and also in nation continues service project. that are serviceable to start this a run by the mission continues that do good works all the time. not only vietnam veterans, but spouses of current veterans are in these platoons, and widows are in these platoons. and for the rest of you, civilians are welcome, too. it's one way we could make the rest of society aware of the sacrifices that are made. but i'm still worried about talking to marco rubio or jeb bush about caring out the nuclear agreement with iran just because bibi netanyahu wants him to. >> thank you. thank you so much for your question.
>> this will be the last question. >> there is someone behind you. >> we want that last question. we will keep it short. >> we will keep it very short. >> suicide is nothing new, but i wanted to ask you about suicide attacks and mass shootings, especially on military bases like fort hood. is that a phenomenon? if so, what are you talking about? >> look, i can't generalize about all suicide attacks, these attacks that happened on our bases. we've seen a pattern in our schools, in a society on a scale police we have made no were up on the level we are now. i will say simply this. ajax is a story about someone who feels he has been betrayed. whether he's been betrayed or not is actually irrelevant. he perceives he's been devalued
and betrayed by those above him. and in some ways that's the wounded that cuts deep his friend and i think it is the wound that cuts deep is for many people in our society, for better or for worse. i think there's something to be learned from the ancient play and also the ancient perspective. there's another would look at this play that as much about suicide as it is about an act of attempted violence that precedes the suicide that is fueled by sense of isolation and betrayal. and also, and i said this earlier, a vocabulary of violence, a lack of ability for this person in the blood and in our society, young people, to express themselves in any other way. >> can't i just say very quickly that suicide bombers on the
flipside of people who take their own lives. they are doing it in the pursuit of a cause. and the people who are doing it now, i know the president doesn't want to call it radical islam, but there has been on the sunni side of islam i distortion of what islam was essentially about. and it has fed a lot of radical movements like al-qaeda and isis. and until islam deals with the distortion within, and our real science is beginning to happen now, i think that the rest of us are going to have to be patient but also more important, be very vigilant. >> thank you. very quick comment. >> this is more of a comment than a question. i came here because i'm
interested -- automatic i feel like i will, understanding my father better, also a veteran. i have struggled to understand where he's coming from and want to thank you, guys for helping. >> thank you. >> thank you so much. [applause] >> thank you both. very much appreciate it. thank you all for coming as well. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> [inaudible conversations]
>> literary critic professor james wood is next on booktv. from the seventh annual boston book festival. >> [inaudible conversations] >> hi, everyone. i'm deborah porter, the founder and executive director of the boston book festival and it is -- [applause] thanks. it's really wonderful to see you all here today to the amenities keynote with james wood. before we get started though, i have a favor to ask of you. the book festival is getting bigger and bigger every year, and more and more expensive to
run. if everyone who is in this room right now donated $10 to the boston book festival we would pay for the rental of this beautiful venue for the day. if everyone who comes to this room today gave $10 we would not only pay for the venue but also for the people who run this who we bring every year to make to have a good listening experience. i would be very grateful if you take out the envelopes from the program guides and gave a donation as you with the people who we are so happy to do this festival for. and now i have the great pleasure of introducing james wood. james wood is professor of the practice of literature at harvard and a staff writer at "the new yorker" magazine. is considered by almost everyone to be the most influential literary critic in the english speaking world. but is also an essayist and novelist tom and h is one of
boston's reigning literary power couple. we are lucky to have been in boston and even luckier to have inherited a to give the keynote after his dog he will sign books in the back. so enjoy the talk. thank you. [applause] >> thank you very much. i certainly don't deserve that sort of introduction, but i'll take what i can get. so not going to draw -- drone on for too long i hope. i have somewhat of an analogy, to lectures and such and i don't want to lecture today your i wanted to talk for a little while and then take some questions. and as a talk i want to try to try to work something out to the of and satisfaction. and that's because i haven't
worked out this particular problem. at a particular problem has to do with something that is always obsessed me in literature and that is the question of detail. why is it that we can forget almost everything about a novel and alarmingly early after reading of it, a year or two. we have forgotten most of it, important plot has gone by the way. we remember a particular detail, 203 details. remember some absence of seeing or the contracting of a scene into a particular moment. that's also true isn't it about scenes from our own lives. when you think back to childhood we tend to fix onto textures,
remember smells something that someone said although of course we miss remember those details, two. i think there's a strange magic around detail. and magic, i would put something like this. last week i was teaching a novel to students at harvard, and i wanted them to explain to me a couple of very beautiful details in that novel. one of them is early in the book when describing the piano playing, she got better at the
piano so the sound could be heard in the village. and then he says and then sometime the balis clerk walking down the street hapless with a sheet of paper in his hands would stop and listen to the music coming from the open window. that's one detail. there's a beautiful one towards the end of the novel after emma's death, the day of her funeral i think, after her funeral. flaubert moves in on the young servant boy justin who consumer was clearly in love with emma and is described as kneeling on the soil in a field and crying your then flaubert moves away to
a character called -- the gravedigger, says as the gravedigger came into the closure, so justin who have been crying let away and ran over the wall. and flaubert continues, and then the gravedigger knew who have been stealing his potatoes. that's very characteristic, isn't it, of flaubert, makes us laugh. that ironic move away but it is also oddly moving. anyway, i asked about 100 students do not think like english students about to write papers, not to look for the meaning of those details by just to try to think like writers or writerly readers and explain to me why, first of all, that balis
were stopping to listen to the music hapless with a sheet of paper in his hands and secondly just and crying are rather justin crying followed by flaubert realizing that just isn't the feet of his potatoes. why those touches in some way. what is it about them that pierces the us? address us. they couldn't do it. nor could i. i could see them looking with expecting faces as to say, you are the professor, you tell us. i spent some time trying to tell them come and i still find it extremely hard to do. you can think like an english student so let's take the bailiff's clerk. you can say well, there's something very moving about
going just aesthetically about a camera panning from as a were an open window where piano music is coming out, to another detail. there's something very moving thing about moving from one world, emma the world, very fleetingly, to another world, and suggesting to us, this is the bailiff's clerk, that his world is completely his own, autonomous, and may exist in almost a complete separation from emma the world but is worth noticing. i think that that's what flaubert does a second time with justin. there is just who's going potatoes set of emotions that a very intense enough to do with morning time when. and then cutting into that is the gravedigger who may not
mourn in one, anyway thing he by his potatoes. but that's easy, is that not? that's the easy part. we can all get there ourselves and do the explication that is needed. there's still some question that needs to be asked about how this detail behooves us, and why. that is the thing i find incredibly difficult to describe generally in fiction and in poetry. i wrote a book in 2008 called how fiction works, which sort of source through a number of technical issues in fiction. but in a sense every chapter was moving in on the same issue,
which was the peculiar magic of fictional reality as it appears in the particular details that we remember. i recently wrote a book called "the nearest thing to life" and try to come up with a formulation which i would formulation which i would just read to you if it doesn't seem too cumbersome. i'm not sure if it's true really, but here it is. it is as true as i can get. details represent those moments in a story where form is outlived, canceled, ejb. i think of details as nothing less than bits of life sticking out of the freeze of form, deploring to touch them. details are not of course just
bits of life. they represent that magical fusion whereby the maximum amount of literary artifice, writers, genius selection, imaginative creation produces the maximum amount of non-literary or actual life. a process whereby it is indeed converted into new life, fiction life. details are not necessarily life like, but the reducible, things in themselves, what i would call life itself. that i think gets somewhere close to a strange mystery. the mystery that we, the sense that we have when we read fiction that certain details or as i put it there are sticking out in some way of the form of the novel.
i sent in rather overwrought way there and point us to touch them but they are also touching those. sticking out in some way other think it's no accident that they as it were survive the form of the novel. of the things we remember when so much else is forgotten. as i said think some of the mystery is, this is clearly, they are clearly created by the artist and yet they are created in such a way that they begin to seem not just lifelike but actually pieces of life for themselves. this is, what i just said, is a formulation that would be highly contested, disagreed with by probably the last 40 or 50 years of literary theory insofar as
literary theory is taken interest in such matters, and it generally is up. but what i just said about a detail, the coming life, not just in lifelike but becoming a piece of life through some weird magic is, as they say, is, seems almost a lie to a great deal of modern theory which places the emphasis, and not wrongly, on artifice rather than on life. so the famous french theorist writes in the '60s, i think, an essay called the reality of that in which he looks at detail, his example, one of his
examples is from flaubert a simple art, where flaubert is describing a woman's house, a bourgeois house which has ended up the end of a barometer and a pile of boxes i think under the piano. and flaubert says the piano, yes. the pimp would be the end of virtual household. a pile of boxes just a certain amount of israel because she's recently widowed with a barometer on the wall says it's the kind of thing that is, the kind of thing that annoys and because it is just put in by we list writers. and he goes on to say, a postmodern -- to look at the
barometer and think the barometer tells anything about what the it merely announces to the reader this is realism, this is the kind of thing you get in your read on realist writer. there some truth in this come is there not? what he's describing there is a kind of formal lake conventional filling in a detail, but does indeed conflict a great deal of fiction and a great deal from flaubert onwards. we can go into a bookshop right now 90% of the books we pick up will be essentially written in that kind of fairly easy conventional realistic formula of a kind that doesn't challenge us very much and is full of those kinds of details. the question is whether he is right to suggest that all detail, even bovary and the
potatoes or the bailiff's clerk come with all details belong in that derided category. i would say for obvious reasons that it doesn't. and i would actually point to another book, a great book he wrote on photography. there he very sensitively works through a number of photographs that he loves, trying to explain to himself into the reader why he loves them so much that it turns out that what he loves about photographs among other things, they are full of accidental details. he loves the fact that we have photographs of a tonight of a couple and the guy has not done his osha build up properly, or shoelace is undone. he calls this kind of detail the thing that comes out and
actually punctures us, actually reaches out from the photograph and sears us in some way. makes the whole thing us. appeals to us. and he likes that in photography it seems to me. he likes in photography because it's accidental and found by and large. of course, they can be arranged by a photographer but often it's just about in the sort of . it is found and he likes it because it's accidental. but then when he looks at writers like flaubert come he doesn't like it because the writer intends it, makes it up. and so far flaubert's puritani puritanism, the detail is not accidental so much as intended. clearly what drives him mad is
the idea of a writer sitting in his or her desk saying now, i will make the man in the photograph poignant because i will ensure that the us not done his built up properly, or i will make the woman interesting in the photograph because i will have one shoe undone. that seems to drive him mad because, because they're so much determined artifice and control and ambition about it. where as when the photographer just find it on the street, it's fine. this is illogical, is it not? and the more interesting thing to do would be to take what he says about detail in photography, takes back to fiction and say, of course we know the writer makes it a. of course, we know the writer intends it to get of course we know that a great deal of convention, up description in fiction becomes formulaic
conventional and empty. but let's not look at that. let's look at what still, let's look at this is in fiction. let's look, instead of saying that the detail is a problem in fiction, let's say it's the best kind of problem because it's the sort of problem that keeps on challenging us to work out why it moves us so much. we know when we read fiction, or at least half of our mind knows when we read fiction that the details are not accidental in the strict sense. they are not found. they are made up. and yet at the same time, we willingly join forces with the fiction writer and except in some kind of contract that they
are accidental, that they have the power of accidental detail. thinking again and again about this over the last few years i came to the decision that detail, the great detail in fiction, like the bailiff's clerk, like lester boudoir with his potatoes, has the ability rescue life from disappearance, that it's right to say that detail is like a piece of life because it actually rescues life from its own death. let me read out a passage from an essay i wrote called serious
noticing. what to write is to do when they seriously notice the world. perhaps they do nothing less than rescue the life of things from their death, from two deaths. one small and one large. from the death of lead reform always threatens to impose on life. and from actual death. i mean by the latter, the fading reality, the details as they recede from us. the memories of our childhood, they almost forgotten flavors, smells, textures but the slow death that we give to the world by the sleep of our attention. i congested habits or through laziness and lack of curiosity, then haste. we stopped looking at things. growing older is like standing in front of a meter while holding another mirror behind
one's head and seeing the receiving dance of images. quote, becoming smaller and smaller as far as the eye could see. his world is one in which the adventure of the ordinary, the inexhaustible the of the ordinary as a child once experienced it. quote, the taste of salt that could fill your summer days desaturation. is steadily retreating. and which things, an object, sensations are pacing towards meaninglessness. and such award providers task is to rescue the adventure from the slow retreat to bring meaning to come and live back to the most ordinary things. to crane's entries into force and even to gibson guitars and amplifiers and old spice and ajax. you could still buy slots and you tennis rackets, -- the
houses were relived were still standing, all of them are the sole differencdifferenc e, he continues, which is the difference between a child's reality and adults come is that there were no longer laden with meaning. soccer boots with just a pair of football boots. if i thought anything one had a pair in my hands now, it was only a hangover for my childhood, nothing else. nothing in itself. the same with the sea, he continued, the same with the rocks, the same with the taste of salt i could fill your summer days desaturation your now it was just salt. the world was the same that it wasn't. for its meaning was displaced and it is still being displaced approaching closer and closer to meaninglessness. literature, by god, pushes against times fancy makes us insomniacs, offers to rescue the
life of things from the dead. the story is told about the artist who's leading a life drawing class. the students were aboard and doing boring work. so he whispered to the model, told her to collapse to the ground. he went over to the prone body, listen to his heart and pronounced him dead. that class was deeply shocked. been a model stood up and he said, no, draw him as though you are unaware he was alive and not dead. what might that painting in fiction of a life body look like? they would end up body that was truly alive, but in such a way that we might be able to see that the body is always really dying. you would understand that life is shattered by port healthy adults make a difference in metaphysics of his life giving aesthetic. isn't this what makes serious
noticing truly serious? it might read like this passage, something to remember me by. is a paragraph about a drunken irishman who is passed out on a couch. quote, i looked in on input thrown down the code and taken off his drawers. his face, the short nose pointed sharply, a life science in the throat, the broken look of his neck, the black care of his belly, the short summer between his legs into a spiral of loose skin. white shine of the shins, the tragic expression of his feet. this is perhaps perhaps what he had in mind. painting in words a model who might or might not be a life. a painting that threatens any moment to become a still life. source character looks very hard the way endangers young parent does at a sleeping baby, checking that it is still a life. eddie is still alive.
just a life sign in the throat. although he was too competitive to say anything decent about his. no, it's hard to read this discussion of a man asleep at thinking of his words on how the writer models a man asleep. he offers, he's left the ornamentation of the commonplace. these do not bother about any rethink of the world. they merely try to squeeze the best they can out of the given order of things can out of traditional patterns of the fiction, critique. replying to a critic saying, don't concentrate on the ways in which fiction gets pressed down and decompose and becomes merely commercial and conventional. concentrate on what remains original, what continues to be
an explicable or hard to explain. but the real writer, he continues, the fella who sends planets spinning and models a man asleep and tempers with a sleeper's rib, that kind of offer has no given values at his disposal. he must create in himself or if you are dividing very futile business, he continues, if it does not imply first of all the art of seeing the world as potentiality of fiction. he is a highly self-serving and romantic view who seems of no indebtedness to any other author. indeed, this right has fashioned humans from ribs is god himself which might well mean -- but they have hold i think of a central truth that surely it's no surprise we so often granular details the concern the deaths
of real people, famous last words and so on, final scenes. isn't this because it's such a moment we are snatching the details of life and the life of details from the extinction that surrounds and threatens? the essay cruelty right about the last minutes of socrates life and how you said to have scratched his leg. by the quiver of pleasure, he feels him scratching his leg after the irons were off to see not betray the sweetest and joint in his soul of being unfettered bypass discomforts? and easy not prepared to enter into the knowledge of things to come? but whereas he strikes is essentially pre-novelistic because he has a tendency to more lies about such details and seize this moment of scratching
the leg as an example not of accident but of moral vigor, preparing for the life to come. a later writer like tolstoy, say, we see such a gesture as accidental, or automatic, as life just instinctively desiring to extend itself beyond death. i think at the moment with us by. in war of peace when he sees a young russian blindfolded and about to be executed in a firing squad filled with his blindfold, perhaps in order to make it a little more comfortable. and a detailed remind summary of a famous detail from george orwell's essay, a hanging, where orwell watches in burma a man being led to the gallows inexplicably swerve around a puddle at the last second on the
way to being hanged. and although it actually happened, he is was as seen in a novelist by, this occurrence which is an explicable, it seems to me, except as some kind of life force extending itself beyond death, write what we can all see it makes no sense. the man's life will be over a half a minute. and yet some other life circa list goes on instinctively as if he were going to live another day. and so he doesn't want to get his shoes dirty. he walks round of the puddle. i think it's important, i cleverly push together their montaigne, nsa, nonfiction, orwell, an essay, nonfiction, and tolstoy, fiction, made up,
to make the point that in all these cases want to thing that comes out and grabs us is this moment of accidental lifeless and that to most of us i think it is irrelevant that tolstoy is the sole fiction writer into a trio. that tolstoy is the one who makes it out. so what? he makes it a. it has exactly the power of the other two nonfiction writers, and that is the flag which we wave in postmodern enemy territory. this is the life circa list pushing itself be on death, alleging that the think of tolstoy. loneliness, they removed the plums of this child. and the way and when you cut
down to the pit of the fruit, the saliva would flow. when moses sees lobsters behind the class of a -- their futures been pressed up against the glass. with the contemporary american novelists rachel kushner sees a squashed cockroach on a new sidewalk she sees its long with the antennae swiping around for signs of its own life. invalidity this story, but there it comes to the conclusion that her dying father is pure, has become nothing more than the adverb not come into the story's title. and yet much remembers, what extent out of her story is the way her father is frowning as he lies in his sick bed. or she is seen this brown many times in her life.
it's what bellow would call life site. to notice is to rescue, to redeem him to save life from itself. one of the characters in marilyn robinson's novel, housekeeping come is described as a group who felt the life of perished thanks. in the same boat she writes that jesus raised lashes from the dead and even restored to separate your of a soldier who came to rescue him. the fact she rides that allows us to hope the resurrection will reflect to considerable attention to detail. i like the idea that heaven might reward us or what we have lost by paying attention to detail. that have been most be a place of serious noticing. or perhaps we can bring back to life or extend life here on earth by doing the same, by applying what was once called a natural prayer of the soul, i can do this. we can bring the dead back by applying the same attentiveness to their shades as we apply to
the world around us by looking harder, by transfiguring the object. perhaps recalling this idea of attentiveness when he wrote many years later that is, if the ball really yielded to the object, if it's attention were on the object, not on its category, the very object would start talking under the lingering i. thank you. [applause] >> i would be very happy to take questions. those of you wan i want to ask questions, you are encouraged to come and talk into the mic so that anyone else can hear. if people can't hear, of course i will repeat the questions. i think have about 15 minutes or so. and if there are no question
forthcoming, then i won't just dribble on a bit. [laughter] >> great talk, professor. i have one question. like the details that you kind of outline, but what do you think of the blunt detail in foster's book, the one about the house? i do remember how it ends in the sense that who gets the house is so important. is that a detail or is that like a point that rises beyond itself and becomes a detailed? >> that's a very good point did anyone get -- a question about the end of, which is to come everyone remembered the end of powers and because it's an important point, someone who inherits the house.
that's really screwed because of course it's important to define, it's important to define what a detail is it is not true of course that we only remember the striking things or things that move us or touches the we remember all sorts of things. our minds are full of junk that we would like to get rid of. but i suppose i could turn it back to you, which is, you remember the inheritance of the house. do you remember the final scene from that novel speak was no. not even seeing the movie actually spent it may be in the movie, to the that the children are playing in the field, where the hay is still yet to be cut and there's a sort of, it's 20
years ago when i read it but i do actually remember that thing of a sort of move out from the house to the next generation who in the field. maybe someone will correct me. but yes, i think simply what we remember wouldn't be good enough definition of what's striking about detail. we are also going to remember scenes and plot points and the like. and perhaps i think a better way, a better way of thinking about the definition of detail is that it's the thing that arrests of seven challenges us to explain it and possibly defeat out explanation. that's what i'm drawn back to, drawn to again and again. thank you.
>> this isn't really a formulated question, but you did quote, and could you speak to the use of detail in his voluminous book? and, cheap shot, what you think of his work in literature? >> right. no, i think is a very good writer to bring up but because in some sort of flaubert test he fails, write? if the flaubert test is how well you select and how brilliantly you notice and what your general, how high your general level of noticing is, then there's obviously something
deliberately prosaic and almost lazy, and he will sort of admit that in a way. what he wants to do often is to saturate and to blow things up. there is wonderful detail in it. i think the moment of volume three about boyhood, which i think is a lovely book, because it takes time just to sink down were he is brushing his teeth, very typical. most writers would bother with brushing their teeth and he says the sound of the brushing was so intense that is what takes over his mind and it's all he can hear him because his father coming into the bathroom behind it and say something i think rather start to enter because at
the moment of the toothbrushing companies and higher life is full of the sound of a toothbrush. and i thought the children. i thought a fully good as a single pungency, but i thought it was in away i thought it was good as a sort of analogy or as a figure for all of the knausgaard world, that is very good at describing and, indeed, unafraid to describe that way in which, in which a detail becomes us and we become detail. for instance, very good on how in that same volume when we were children we had a particularly charged relation to objects that we don't have when we are older i think in the same way. some orange t-shirt that you
loved as a kid and that you're proud to take to school for the first day, and jealously watch when you take it off and put it in your cubbyhole. is your world for a while. that orange t-shirt. we all remember what we were like as kids. does that happen in quite the same when we are older? i don't think so. and he's right about some lost although we were magically talks too much about the loss and not about what is gained in looking up, growing up. but for me that's what i find most powerful in his work. i've only read -- have a red? academy member. i've only read the first three volumes. that's what's most powerful is this agency takes with describing childhood. and this, i mean, they can seen, it can seem annoying and
as part of the business of setting up our writing ambitious. so you remains exciting to me. thank you. >> i just read how fiction works. thought your defensive realism was striking a convincing. toward the end of the book talk about -- i don't remember exactly how you phrase it, but almost substitute the word truthful for realistic. while it sounds counterintuitive it struck
me as being very accurate and telling. >> what i'm going to talk about now is, what is truthful about details. once we work your analysis made up. then there's the critique about it being formulaic or in some other way failing, once you work through that that aparticular moment fiction has moved you must not talk about detailing more. and then the language which to talk about. it seems to me that the
terms that you see in ordinary reviews, and i am sure use my reviews which related to work like realistic cost of things are faulted for nothing" plausible. that's insufficient. the thought about how fiction lines up with the possible, credible call or lives up with life. if that were the case of the all kinds of writers casco american and so on. they would turn away from it and that since we clearly have to move beyond the term realism which has a distinct history and sort of get started in the mid-19th century and means a number of specific things. if we want to move beyond the word realism probably
want to move beyond the word real, two, which is why i try to define other words. the problem is, the other words aren't there, and the most obvious one, truthful, seems the most scandalous because you're putting it against what is made up. and yet that has always been done in the tradition of talking about fiction. fiction writers have engaged. we did put -- when you get any collection of writers together think they will all no what you mean when you start talking about something not seeming truthful on the page, not honest about alive and vital vitality is another standard word that helps get us beyond realism, but all of these words fail in some way
, which is why i was forced at the end of my book to come up with a horrible nihilism, hoping that english readers would think a cut it. thank you very much. >> hi. you mentioned kennedy of this detail, but i was wondering if you thought his ideas, reference code to provide space for the readers, intensely personal. >> just to say one more thing about that. that is interesting. >> the idea that these men are an essential part of any work. >> thank you very much.
what is interesting, i should say when i read i feel in certain ways talking about fiction and a certain kind of fiction. i always feel that he is 99 percent right. in other words, i go a long way with this critique, and i think he has brilliantly described the ways in which a certain kind of realism goes completely dead very quickly. but i always think that the 1 percent or i don't agree is a very large 1 percent, as it were, rather like the 1 percent that separates us
genetically from chimpanzees. obviously statistically only 1 percent, but in every other way it's clearly 58 percent. so and i think in general what i like about ms the reason i go back and read him again and again is that exactly as you suggest, suggest, he is very, even when he is writing about a conventional formula that he does not like or skeptical about what largely for him 19th century realism, there is some part of him that is greatly searching for, i think, the secret of its life. what i find i like and him is this divisiveness, he seems to be drawn back and back to effectively murder the thing that he secretly
loves. and i think it is no surprise the toward the end of his life he came back to writing about 19th century fiction. and i think, yes, this idea that there is space and fiction for our own fault or constructions is important, a supposedly disliked about the formulaic conventional fiction is that it does not allow that.that. it simply direct you. here is the barometer. for everything to say in contemporary terms, the thrillers, they direct you in a certain way that is absolutely not conventional and has its own traditional history. and it allows us very little space to rebel or do our own
construction whereas the bailiff, the clerk, for all seemed very manipulative and controlling, supreme artist, impersonal got so on. there he is walking along with a sheet of paper. stopping to listen to the piano. we can do what we want with it. it is hours. perhaps out for more question. [applause]
>> that is the biggest difference between the article in the book. i was essentially saying gittleman to the top we have to have much more flexible work my different darker careers, but i was still assuming that the goal is primarily career and family is something you fit in around the edges. i would say after three
years of thinking hard about this and asking myself questions where i come out is rather no, actually, there are two parts to all of our lives. if we are -- the women's movement was about women being able to advance that virginia woolf part but equally important when i invest in my children not only i hope my doing something for them doing something very important. going, learning, and doing something of value.
we have lost sight of the value of the entire world of care. >> you can watch this another programs online. welcome to sacramento, california. mounted in 1850 during the height of the gold rush sacramento is california's capitol city. later we will talk to a local author wrote about the special relationship between general george custer, his wife elizabeth. >> george and elizabeth were so much in love that elizabeth could not bear to be away from george for any length of time. he would say it is much more easy to be with you and have to endure all that you have to and whatever posts we are
going to be have been to bear life without you. >> first, we learn what life was like in japanese internment camp. >> when the japanesefrom the japanese attacked pearl harbor are west coast account potential combat zone. we knew some among them potentially dangerous. no one would knew what would happen among this concentrated population of japanese forces should try to invade our shores. this picture tells how the mass migration.
>> 9066 we will never be forgotten by 120,000 of us. you know,know, it amazes me that it took only one person to say we have got to get rid of all, anybody with more than one 16th japanese blood. one 16th. every japanese so on the west coast all of us were considered possible five 72 hours. for instance, we were right next to the seals. my father brought that land
in preparation for the war in 1930, and they blamed everybody living near military installations. >> there are more japanese in los angeles than in any other area. in your vice and pager houses and hotels occupied almost exclusively by japanese. shipyards, oil wells. every opportunity to watch the movement of our ship. japanese farmers were living close to vital aircraft. of course this limited evacuation with the solutions only part of the problem. >> the commander of the western defense command. once a jeff always a job.
that was published all over the place. so many people just jumped on the bandwagon. it was amazing. and it was -- i mean, everybody express there hate , and it was acceptable at that time. so then he convinced president roosevelt to sign executive order 9066. and he had full command. it amazes me right now that they were able to find shark -- shelter for 120,000 of us a matter of a couple of months.
now, a couple of them were racetracks, santa anita, and families were put into horse stalls, family. general john i'll do it wrote his report on how well the people were taking care of. and he said, people were happy is the worst though because they were renovated, modern. and you could not get the smell out. and when it rained it was mother roman numeral over the place.
but if you read general do its book you will find that we have medical care comeau we were well taken care of, modern equipment in the kitchen. >> santa anita race track, for example, became a community or 17,000 persons. the persons. the army provided housing and plenty of helpful nourishing food for all. >> in our case we had ten days. orders were mailed all over. telephone poles, buildings, fences, everywhere. and i was driving down route tear road.
in my 32 studebaker. i wish i had that. i saw this big old -- to all those japanese instructions. i did not want to stop my car and climb up to the fence and read the fine print. here's another one. here's another one. i thought to myself, why can't they at least -- there are only four of us. why didn't they at least mail it or deliver those things?
not just sacramento county. the western defense, but hours. down south they were given 48 hours. can you imagine? with only what you can carry. now, and those ten days i really had to scramble to get my brothers and sisters all packed with what they could carry. you know, what was so great about this whole thing was that our parents, no matter what, it was for the sake of the children.
sake of the children. and it did not matter that they lost everything, they were going to keep children safe. we were escorted from the train to the rows and rows of open army trucks. i got separated from my family. my family was in the car way ahead. my family tree i started going away. and then there were hundreds of those cards. and he told me to get into the truck. you have the charts have to
side events. that is all you see. and the rest of us were squeezed in. we did everything in our power not to make it worse. i was the main thing. everything went very orderly. >> these locations centers, evacuees format by a vast contingency. newcomers looked about with some curiosity. they were in a newa new area on land that was raw, untamed command full of opportunity. here they would build schools, educate their children to reclaim the desert.
>> 127 degrees that day. a big old sign in the middle of the desert. and i thought toi thought to myself, giddy comeau we are guests on an indian reservation. and i had learned in us history the indians were well taken care of. those lands to hunt on, and then i found out that we were right in the middle of it. 200,000 acres of sagebrush and sand command in the middle of that from 18,000.
my father was a wise man. we were loading up, took the blanket off of my bed, laid out on the living room floor things that he thought were totally necessary. hammer, nails, wire, a bucket, which was absolutely necessary, and gallon jugs for water which was so wonderful. and then would you ever think to take seed?
don't forget the seed. it is amazing what the people dead, the 1st thing they did was check the seas between the barracks. and water with cans from the mess hall. what a day. what a celebration when you see that green thing pop out of the ground in the middle of the desert. they said nothing will grow. >> this brief picture is actually the prologue to aa story that is yet to be told. the full story will begin to unfold than the lands of the
desert turned green, all adult hands are productive work on public land or in private employment. it will be fully told only one certain sensecircumstance permit the loyal american citizens once again to enjoy the freedom we in this country cherish and when the disloyal have left this country for good. in the meantime, we are setting a standard for the rest of the world and the treatment of people who may have loyalties to an enemy nation, protecting ourselves without violating the principles of christian decency,command we won't change this fundamental decency and a matter what our enemies do, but of course we hope most earnestly our example and fluency axis power and their treatment of americans who fall under their hands. >> you are given $25 and a one-way ticket to were everyone to go. it was sad. it was really difficult. what do they do? they had no place to go home to. everything was stolen.
the railroads, we're going to seize for wartime use, so he had to get rid of -- i think they paid him $175, something like that. people asked that so often. aren't you angry? no, no. i suppose you can say that about your own family. there are things you don't like about your parents, but you love them. i mean, i was born here, this is my country. five of us volunteered for the service. we felt we owed to the country.
no, no, where does bitterness get you, really, you know. i was so pleased to hear about the emanuel church that they forgave the killer. and i thought, you know, for a change we're going to just feel this sort of a -- sort of a -- what's the word? comforting forgiveness over our country, maybe, that we will take a different look at things hopefully.
>> and while in sacramento, california, we talked to peter hect which looks at the border and economic dynamics for marijuana for recreational and medicinal use. >> congress had six successful votes to rationalize foolish policies and opening opportunities for legal industrial cultivation. last fall voters in my state of oregon looking at the evidence and experience like in colorado approved adult use. the marijuana reform train has left the station, it's time for the froth to redouble efforts to developing policies that work.
>> one of the things that it lives in a recreational war or medicinal war. there's an overlap between the realms and extremely sympathetic and people with seizures that have relief. there's a culture that celebrates other benefits. what you're going to find in this book is the real inside narrative of how we span that led us from the early days, the crisis in san francisco by young men turned to cannabis for symptom relief for hiv and we
fast-forward of the unlikely birth of a million dollar industry and it's a very remarkable story and we tell it with a rich texture focusing on people and place in california where the story began. in my case, i started the story about six years after the proposition 215 in an unlikely raid by administration agents on the marijuana garden in santa cruz mountains. it was run by terminal ill patients, some of them had wheel wheelchair ramps constructed. it was here where a dea led by a former marine captain who served as an air marshall protecting us
andradeed this garden -- raded for garden and arrested her husband and provoked a huge outrage, a very unlikely thing happened. sick people, some of them sobbing, some of them curseing and alerting the media for rating this garden for seriously ill people. we fast-forward and the california legislature passed in
2003 senate bill 430, 430 for those who know is a nickname for pot or marijuana. senate bill 420 intended to do was protect medicinal gardens and guarantying their right to raise their own medicine and share it, a retail-style dispensary, some handling tens of millions of dollars in cash transactions. we see the birth of an industry serving not only very seriously ill medical marijuana patients, but also popular culture and recreational use. marijuana, the whole movement and acceptance of it, obviously was a very popular in the culture, antiwar days of the 60's and 70's and early
80's. even though it was illegal. but then several things advanced forward. number one, of course, the aids crisis in san francisco. medical marijuana research where the state spent $8 million for 300 patients. it showed widespread cannabis with pain in the nervous system. studies cut against the grain and challenged federal and federal government continues to insist that there's no medical value for cannabis and it has a high potential for abuse, but these studies would seem to contradict that. from there you have the growth of the market.
you have cities, local governments and states realizing that there are considerable financial gains to be made on sales taxes on the product on additional taxes imposed on the marijuana itself, so in 2010 in california we had a legalization initiative, adult recreational use that the state that was facing fiscal troubles could get a billion dollars in revenues from marijuana sales. that didn't work but a similar argument prevailed in colorado and washington, so marijuana became an unexpected source of revenue for local and state governments. well, this book is full of what i love to call unlikely p protagonists. his story was he was a rock and
roll trust monkey who set up the lighting for aerosmith and ll cool jay. turned to cannabis for relief and eventually he becomes part of the movement. comes to california, opens the dispensary in oakland, eventually cannabis trade school and bankrolls this initiative. you have people like dr. donald abrams, san francisco general hospital begins treating young men with swollen glands who we will later find out are the fist patients of the aids crisis.
his own lover dies in the disease, he observes that this young man survives one and then another, pushes for medical marijuana research to try to ascertain, does this herb, in fact, have beneficial medical value. you have people from all over the country who track into the north coast of california to get on the legendary country and get part of this movement. marijuana accounts for 3% of the use in california. there was this huge migration of people drawn here. it's amazing the people that came, the gentleman steve deangelo who was from
washington, d.c. and comes to california, the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the world. so there was a green rush, there were people that came to california because this was the first state that take the steps and there were people that became characters and drivers of this story who you would never have expect. we are really in the era where we are seeing the end of marijuana prohibition. it's still going to be playing out for another decade or more. we have a critical mass of 23 states that have either legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. you're talking about well more than one-third of the population of the country. colorado, washington, alaska, oregon went legal, recreational sales for adult use, california
is next up. the district of colombia which has approved medical use and also recreational use. congress has stopped them from doing actual sales of recreational marijuana, so that's still influx. there's still significant battles to be fought. i think there have been some legislation in congress to try to debilitate efforts in case where is it is legal under state law. some of the advocates are overreaching. you see the feds go in where they think fed laws are being violated in addition to state laws. i think eventually we are going to reach an accord much like alcohol prohibition. you get a critical mass of
states, you get some sort of accord in congress to make peace on this issue. it's going to be played out differently in different parts of the country. it's going to be intensely debated and it is going to be part of our national discussion for quite some time. we can understand the contrast. i want them to understand the people that paid the price for liberties that some many people are enjoying today in a casual way to be able to go to a medical marijuana dispensary or to use or cultivate recreational marijuana in various states. they do have to thank young men who are whitherring away and dying of aids in san francisco in the late 1970's through the 1980's and they have to thank courageous doctors for marijuana research and they have to thank a great deal of people who kind
of layed it on the line for this cause. my hope is if recreational marijuana becomes widely accepted that it might also help the medical marijuana patients by liberating some physicians who have been load to deal with medical marijuana because they didn't want to be the pot doctors, they didn't want to give recommendations so that there would be their patients hookup for weed. well, a lot of good physicians who might feel liberated to talk to patients about medical marijuana if the recreational users can go elsewhere and if they feel they are working with somebody for whom cannabis can be part of their overall care. that would be interesting to see how it plays out, see how the kansas cities continue to relate
all these things, sacramento was built with this very vibrant and unplanned roughens about it. and alcohol was a big part of that and then you have immigrant coming here from germany who bring the brewing knowledge with them and they come here because we had a wonderful availability of fresh water, we had a great climate for growing cops and they established brewing industry and you have wine industry outside of sacramento. there's one in sacramento that's around here. so all of these things, you know sacramento, alcohol was part of the development, we are a big agricultural area and so you have grapes as well as other commodities.
prohibition began in 1920. it ended in 1933. initially we are talking about a 13-14 year span but it's important to remember that there was a -- approximate 75-year runup to get this to happen. but the core of the prohibition story is that 13 years from 1920 to 1933. the way it relates to sacramento is that we were under federal law just like everyone else and two years after the prohibition amendment was passed and enacted we enacted state laws that allowed for enforcement. it had been a long-time cultural right taken away. eliminating industry brewing industry, hops farming, wine making, all of these kinds of
things, anyone who worked in those fields out of work, it impacted things legally, they were suddenly, you know, making their own wine, beer, maybe transporting it somewhere which was illegal. it changed the character, not just in sacramento where people didn't think so much about drinking before. now they thought about it quite a lot. they thought about getting alcohol. they thought about consuming alcohol. prior to prohibition men and women would not have gone out together in public to drink. during prohibition then you have women going with men to a speak easy or a party, you have teenagers. it changed things in sacramento just like it did in the rest of the country. the way law enforcement responded -- it was difficult in the beginning. here is a federal law that's
been passed. allow that allows federal enforcement. you may not agree with the law, but if you are sworn to uphold the law, you don't need to do that. now in 1922 california passed the right enforcement act which was a provision for state law enforcement, local law enforcement to enforce the laws. prior to that, they didn't. they may not have agreed with it, but you had plenty of raids, you had to have probable cause to get in there. you had to get an agent to a speak easy to actually purchase alcohol before they could come back with a warrant to get in. you couldn't just suspect something. there were incidents where someone in law enforcement may have stepped out of line on something where -- i mean, we have an incident where we talk
about the ku kluz klan going to sacramento. there were some law enforcement people involved there and there was a raid in los angeles. it's recounted in the book where the klansmen, they were actually law enforcement people as part of the klan. you had some who stepped out of the line but some enforcing what they had to enforce, didn't necessarily had to enforce it, but that was their job. in some of their comments from enforcement officers, that's where you get a lot of what were the issues. federal agents said that sacramento was easily as wet as san francisco. we were the problem places. it was very difficult to keep alcohol out. first of all, we department want -- didn't want to keep alcohol out. there were people here that were in a dry camp. you would have that. most people didn't want to keep
alcohol out. here we have the sacramento river going into the delta going into the bay, going to the ocean. 800 miles of coastline. try patrolling that. you have ships or boats going up river from sacramento into the delta and out to meet these ships to bring the alcohol to bring it up river. sacramento and san francisco were, i would say, sister cities in keeping the alcohol flowing and san francisco may been a little bit larger, but we were no less wet than they were. in fact, right here in sacramento on the river there is one of our seam ships. the delta king was a ship that was used during excursions and
at night bring alcohol. the modern established in georgia. in addition to the racial component, this -- this klan also had an issue with immigration, with various religious groups, they were in favor of prohibition, it gets into this whole idea of the fact that, you know, i would like to say that prohibition is about more than alcohol. prohibition was a cultural war. what you have, what you see is you look at the various groups like the klan and the women's union and you start looking at the groups, what you see is a lot of anxiety about changes in the culture and the changes are seen like more people are living in cities than in rural areas. now more people are working for wages.
with those wages, they are buying the things they need rather than making them out in the force. you have things like movies that people are seeing, and things portrayed in the movies may not be in the liking of some people. you have young people engaging in social practice of dating. now you involve cars with dating. now you in-- involve illegal alcohol with dating. everything is changing and they were like, i want stop this. it wasn't just antiafrican american, antijews, you had the sudden interest of the kkk in sacramento and happened on palm sunday at the presbyterian church and six hooded klans
walked in and handed a letter to the reverand, we have been watching what you are doing and we appreciate your work and we want to support you. this was the appearance of the klan in sacramento. there was an immediate outcry. we don't want this here. it started the backlash, the back and forth. sacramento plays quite an interesting role in the prohibition story. publisher was vocal against prohibition. he was not in favor of saloons. they were considered no good from a civic or moral or social standpoint. people had problems with the saloon, with alcohol in general, most people did not have a problem. he was noted by graham as
newspaper publishers who kept speaking the truth about prohibition. this is wrong, this is bad, we need to have another way. in the prohibition forces were pretty powerful and there were a lot of people in government who were afraid of them, there were a lot of people in the press that were afraid of them. he spoke his mind. as part of that story, he was long-time friend with johnson, senator in washington. johnson entered the senate right at the time that prohibition was being debated. so he stepped into his first term in the senate right in the middle of all this and he writes letter back and forth saying, i don't know what to do here, there's a lot of arguments about the liquor machine, liquor trust, i don't want to be aligned with them but the
prohibition people have a lot of power, i don't think that's right either. what do you hear about sacramento, what are people saying? he would put his opinions, also things he was hearing from other people, he gave a voice from soldiers returning to world war i. so he was really just kind of the megaphone, if you will, for sacramento's feeling. he published from anything to who had joined the klan. when the district attorney in los angeles raided klan headquarters and managed to get ahold with the california list,
published it in the newspaper. law enforcement, neighbor who had joined the klan. he was pretty well fearless in putting these things out there. it was his big role in prohibition. he just kept on pointing out to people, we have these raids but this is wrong. prohibition ended in 1933. when the 18th amendment was ratified. you had one year where it became the law of the land. when you repeal an amendment it's immediate. with people watching to ratify the first amendment, they are watching to see when you get to the requisite number of states,
on december 5th, three states were slated to render their decisions and everyone was sure that they were going to ratify. people were prepared. they knew on that day that prohibition would be officially over. you had places in sacramento that were preparing. they were laying stores of alcohol, in sacramento alone i want to say that on december 5th, 1933 there were some $300,000 worth of alcohol layed in for sale, that's about 5 and a half million dollars today. that's a tremendous amount and they sold out. stores like brooners, furniture, they ran ads in the paper with special glassware that you could by for your repeal party. people didn't have bar wear. you had 13 years of prohibition.
so the ripple effect was everybody threw open the doors. it was extremely wet. [laughter] >> a lot of drinking going on. a lot of arrests on knew -- new years eve. happy days were here in sacramento. >> you're watching book tv on c-span2 and this weekend we are visiting sacramento, california to talk with local authors and tour literary sites with partner comcast