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.
MARK HERTSGAARD, a fellow of The Open Society Institute, The Nation's environment correspondent, covers climate change for Vanity Fair, Time and Die Zeit and has written for many of the world's leading newspapers and magazines. He is the author of the highly acclaimed study of the media during the Reagan years, On Bended Knee, as well as Earth Odyssey; A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles; The Eagle's Shadow, and his newest, HOT: Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth.
I like it when someone does something better than they have to, or takes stands or risks they don't have to take. RICK STEVES has a comfortable business and a comfortable place in our culture and media. He helps people learn how to make travel less stressful and more enjoyable. But in TRAVEL AS A POLITICAL ACT, he sticks his neck out. He has traveled to and written about Iran, El Salvador, Turkey, for instance, in ways that challenge what passes for conventional wisdom. Of course, conventional wisdom is often a contradiction in terms, conventional meaning parochial, provincial, small minded, with little possibility of wisdom. Not only that, STEVES serves on the board of NORML and has given keynote speeches calling for legalization of marijuana.
Though RICK STEVES received degrees at the University of Washington, his real education came in Europe - since 1973 he's spent four months a year there. Spending one third of his adult life living out of a suitcase has shaped his thinking. Today he produces Europe Through the Back Door guidebooks, a travel series in America on public television, a weekly hour-long national public radio show, and a syndicated weekly column.