Thursday, January 28, 2010

RIP Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn has been a very influential person in my life. He was one of the few people that I would fan out over if I got the opportunity to meet him. Mr. Zinn passed away yesterday at the age of 87.

I first read A People's History when I was 18 and was in love. It is the book that whenever I travel I bring it with me to open up to a random page and read. I have been reading and rereading that book for 12 years now. If you have never read it I suggest you do. Last time I was in California a teenage girl saw I was reading A People's History, and asked me if I liked the book. I told her I did and asked her if she had read it. She responded in a manner typical of someone who wants to tell you something that you don't already know. She had no idea that I have read the book cover to cover at least 5 times in the last decade. She then proceeded to tell me that the book is "super biased". I responded by asking her what book isn't biased. She thought for a second to come up with a solid answer, "THE BIBLE". I laughed uncomfortably realizing I didn't want to get into this kind of conversation and told her I was going to get back to reading.

The whole point of A People's History is that it is biased, but so is every history book that has ever been read. Do you really think rich white men have done 99% of everything worth mentioning? Do you really think those in power are the ones that have brought about real change in our society? Hell no, change flows from the bottom up, always has, and always will.

Here are a few Howard Zinn quotes.

"Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience."

"I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own."

“Even if you win the rat race, you're still a rat.”

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

RIP to the People's Historian 1922-2010