My 2018 conversation w/ARLIE HOCHSCHILD (Strangers in Their Own Land) – listening to our alienated fellow AmericansWritten on January 21st, 2021
Last week I spoke with ARLIE HOCHSCHILD, author of STRANGERS IN THEIR OWN LAND: Anger & Mourning on the American Right, about the Trump years, the insrrection, and the future. Given the inauguratiopn of Biden and Harris and the several immense crises we face, nothing may be more important at this moment than understanding our neighbors with whom we disagree. So here’s my 2018 conversation with Hochschild, in which we learn about her path to her current work and the lessons she learned from the folks she listend to. Finally we ask each other what new story might inspire more Americans to yearn for the future rather than the past.
In 1964, the original 7 UP – in which children talked about their hopes and dreams – was broadcast as a one-off special in the UK. Michael Apted (Coal Miner’s Daughter; Gorillas in the Mist), took over as director on 14 UP and has returned to interview these same 14 individuals every seven years since. Roger Ebert, A few months before his death, wrote of the series, “It is a mystery, this business of life. I can’t think of any cinematic undertaking that allows us to realize that more deeply.” 63 UP is in theatres.
In his latest book, THEY DON’T REPRESENT US: Reclaiming Our Democracy, Harvard Law School professor LAWRENCE LESSIG points out big problems the U.S. is NOT solving, and adds, “The crisis in America is not its president. Its president is the consequence of a crisis much more fundamental…The core problem with our democracy today is that it is essentially unrepresentative. We should secure, finally, a representative democracy…let’s just try it for once… and see if things get better.” We talk about how democracy is broken and how we can fix it.