JONATHAN SCHELL was a writer and editor at the New Yorker between 1967 and 1988. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation grant for writing on Peace and Security, Schell now teaches at Wesleyan University and the New School and is the Harold Willens Peace Fellow at The Nation Institute. He is the author of several books, including The Fate of the Earth; The Gift of TIme: The Case for Abolishing Nuclear Weapons Now; and A Hole in the World.
Also MARC IAN BARASCH, Author
My transition seems mild compared with that of today's guest, TOM SHADYAC. A onetime actor/comedian and the youngest writer to work for Bob Hope, Shadyac achieved huge Hollyood success -- writing, directing, and producing hits like ACE VENTURA, LIAR, LIAR, THE NUTTY PROFESSOR, and BRUCE ALMIGHTY, earning four People's Choice awards and a ton of money.
His new documentary, I AM recounts what happened after a cycling accident left him incapacitated for months. Though he recovered, the possibility that he might never be able to work or create again had changed him. He sold his estate, moved to a mobile home community (in Malibu), and set out to make a very different kind of movie.
With a four-person crew, Shadyac documented his journey to find answers to two questions. What's wrong with humans? What can we do to fix it?
Shadyac questions scientists, scholars, activists, poets -- David Suzuki, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Lynne McTaggart, Ray Anderson -- and Marc Ian Barasch, who joins the conversation in progress.
MARC IAN BARASCH is a writer, editor, television producer and environmental activist. In his book, The Compassionate Life: Walking the Path of Kindness, Barasch asks, "What if the great driving force of our evolution were actually "survival of the kindest?"
Are humans basically kind or basically cutthroat? Is compassion our birthright, or a hard won creation of culture? What exactly is compassion - that x-factor that every faith (or its founders, at least) exalts as a supreme virtue?
All proceeds derived from the release of I AM, in all media, will go to THE FOUNDATION FOR I AM, a not-for-profit established by Shadyac to fund various causes and to educate the next generation about the very issues and problems explored in the film.
ROBERT SCHEER, editor-in-chief of Truthdig, was Vietnam correspondent and an editor of Ramparts magazine from 1964-69. He worked with the Los Angeles Times for nearly 30 years, as a national correspondent from 1976-1993 and as a weekly syndicated columnist until 2005. In 2005 he co-founded Truthdig. Scheer is heard weekly on Left, Right and Center on NPR's KCRW. A clinical professor of communications at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, he is a contributing editor for The Nation as well as a Nation Fellow. Scheer has written nine books, including With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War; The Five Biggest Lies Bush Told Us about Iraq; The Pornography of Power and his newest, THE GREAT AMERICAN STICKUP.
REBECCA SOLNIT is the author by my count of 10 books, and a co-author of at least 15 more. She is a journalist, essayist, environmentalist, historian, and art critic; a contributing editor to Harper's, a columnist for Orion, and a regular contributor to Tomdispatch.com and the Nation.
She appeals to a wide spectrum of readers. As evidence, RIVER OF SHADOWS: Eadweard Muybridge and the Technological Wild West - her 2003 book on the history of photography, the dawn of the cinematic West, and the annihilation of space and time-won the National Book Critics Circle Award in Criticism, a prize from the Society for the History of Technology, and WIRED Magazine's Rave Award for Book of the Year.
Her latest books are STORMING THE GATES OF PARADISE: Landscapes for Politics; A PARADISE BUILT IN HELL: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disaster; and THE BATTLE OF THE STORY OF THE BATTLE OF SEATTLE, with her brother David.
Aired 02/05/09 Part 2 of 2
Now National Affairs Correspondent for the Nation, WILLIAM GREIDER has spent forty years examining how powerful institutions affect ordinary people. For 17 years he was the National Affairs Editor at Rolling Stone magazine, and is a former assistant managing editor at the Washington Post, where he worked for fifteen years as a national correspondent, editor and columnist. He is the author of national bestsellers ONE WORLD, READY OR NOT, SECRETS OF THE TEMPLE and WHO WILL TELL THE PEOPLE. Greider also served as a correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS, including "Return to Beirut," which won an Emmy in 1985.