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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  September 8, 2012 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT

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america needs. what america needs its jobs, lots of jobs. [cheers and applause] >> know this america, our problems can be solved. [cheers and applause. our challenges can be met. the path we offer may be harder but it leads to a better place and i'm asking you to choose that future. i am asking you to rally around a set of goals for your country, goals of manufacturing, energy, education and national security and the deficit, real achievable plans that will lead to new jobs, more opportunity and rebuild this economy on a stronger foundation. that is what we can do in the next four years and that is why i am running for a second term as president of united states. [cheers and applause] ..
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>> thank you, all, for coming out. it was a lot of fun, and i think i wrote a book that i'm proud of. i think that we now are in a place where we need all kinds of voices, and i think that we're, as a country, in a fearful place, and i think all of us now how fear and narrow vision --
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you don't think clearly, and i think we make a lot of decisions we'll come to regret, but i wrote a book i hope makes you laugh. it is, at least, worth your read. thank you. i don't know what happens now. i feel like i'm in a jury. [laughter] he did it. i can't -- i can't thank you enough. i think that if we have more teachers like you. well, i mean, obviously, you don't want me to be the guy, but if we had more teachers like you who invested in children, we would be a lot better nation. [applause] i'd like you to stand up. [applause] >> what i did for him at 10 years old, he did for me at 60. [laughter] >> they all say, how's come i didn't get a student like him?
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[laughter] >> now there's that what -- what do we do? >> chat about the book, and then we'll take questions. >> oh, well, i think that originally this is the conception of the book came about. i was reading about martin luther and how he wrote his manifesto, and that challenged the catholic church, and that was the thought of the book. nobody wants to hear a black guy write about martin luther in the 1600s. it morphed into how i've been in every part of the country, and i don't think there's a state i have not been to, and i think that i noticed a pal pble change in not just us as a culture, but even interacting, you know,
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interculturally, the things we expect from each other. growing up, my mom said the world doesn't owe you anything, and now we have a nation of children who believed they are entitled. we feel like that all to a greater or lesser degree. it's not the place we grew up, regardless of the challenges we face. there was a certain set of pride. my father swept planes and worked in a steel mill, but he was proud of the job, and he instilled that in me. i hope to instill that in my chirp, but we come from a nation of people who came from all of these places all around the world and decided to take a stand here. we made the country great and transformative. we are descendents of people who won wars and led the world of manufacturing. we put a men on the moon, and now we're a step down from that, a nation with facebook so we can like all of that stuff; we just
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can't do it. i think it's a challenge to us to become way we know we are. i think all of us will want to be safe and all of us want to be in a position where we don't have to challenge ourselves, but if we don't do something about what is happening, and i think all of us know this internally, and if we don't do something what's happening around us, we won't be what we were or what we could be. that, to me, was the motivation for the book. i see now more black men are in jail than were ever slaves. i see schools that fail. i see a nation that is, like, i watch politicians say all the time we're the best labor force in the world, but nobody will hire us. even our uniforms, the martin luther king monument, chinese artists and workers. nothing wrong with that, but the idea we can't invest and bill ourselves is a challenge. i think that this book made me look at things more clearly, and
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i enjoyed doing it. i hope y'all enjoy reading it. that's all i have right now. kind of sailing around. >> take a couple questions? >> sure. >> who's got a question? anybody have a question? >> how are you, dl? >> i'm excellent, man. >> good. what did you get out of writing the book that you don't get in performing on stage or tv? >> well, writing it, it was the first time i had written something -- like, usually, when you write a text or e-mail, you are careful of the way it's perceived, and you, you know, if you are writing a text, you can put "lol" or a smiley face, and people get the intent. the book stripped that away from me, and it it was a process whei had to, you know, talk to myself and write a a book that i made
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sure i was clear on, and i was very clear when i wrote the book, and i really enjoyed the process much more than i thought i would. >> how long did it take you? >> it took four months, four months. it was -- i love comedy, but i couldn't imagine the process -- second to comedy, this is the most fulfilling thing, more than anything else. not more than you, baby. [laughter] >> thank you. >> questions? perfect. >> i know you've been down in the comedy store, hermosa beach and the united states, but what about overseas? any experiences performing overseas? >> we were -- we went to qatar, and that was the last kind of overseas trip i took, and we landed in qatar, and this is -- i had never flown a plane that was -- i flew qatar airlines,
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and i had never flown a plane that was flown by arabic pilots. i don't know if you woke up with a pilot speaking arabic, but it was horrifying. [laughter] they landed, and it was such a different culture. they, like, had the, i think the second highest standard of living in the world. they all made $200,000. everybody makes $200,000. the king a couple years ago got complaints from his citizens that they were paying too much in mortgage, so he paid their mortgages off. they are very wealthy, and they are consumed with learning, and at a certain point, i got jealous because i remember when we were, you know, i remember a different -- i hadn't been immersed in a culture that was so consumed with learning.
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>> anymore questions here? let me pop on over. >> hi. >> hi. >> great to have you here. >> good to be here. >> i know you have probably heard this a million time, but i loved your show on cnn you had a few years ago. >> right. >> why did you decide to play the strike man? >> because -- glad you called me a straight man. that was nice. we were putting a deal together, we were going to go to cnn or hbo, and john kline -- john; right? the president of cnn, and he said we'll put you on tv right now, and i was overwhelmed because it was the first time i didn't know what i was supposed to be, what i was supposed to be
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a news journalist, but at a certain point, i found that i was supposed to be me, and it was like landing in russia and not speaking russian. it was a total culture shock, but i learned a lot about myself, and i learned a lot about, i think, people and their consumption of news. i think, you know, it was an arguous process, one i shaped the way i started to see things. >> okay, good, good. [inaudible conversations] >> covering the thirst for learning, do you think if we had this kind of level of wealth that americans would still have
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a thirst for learning? that's missing from our society. >> there's never been a society more wealthy, and there's also never been a generation less curious. i think that we have been consumed -- like, we used to make things. like, i remember growing up, we had a slogan that said quality was job one, and now we make nothing, but we give you more of the bad stuff we make. if you complain about something, they give you -- i complained about delta airlines, and they gave me a free thin to the airline i hate. [laughter] used to be 30 minutes or it's free, and there used to be a level of pride and a commitment to what we get, and now i think we're just -- like i remember my mother used to say, and i knew that you had to work twice as hard to get half as far. they set a guideline for you that you understood, and even though you felt like it was
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going to be hard, at least they told you the rules. i think that now, irrespective of culture or ideologies you have, we don't tell people what is can wanted of -- what is expected of them. go shopping. that was really what we heard. there has to be a place where -- you're not just exceptional because of where your mother and father had a baby. you are exceptional because of what you expect and what you strive for. there used to be -- when i -- watching this olympics, and this was the first time i sat and watched it, and all the countries, going to a kids graduation, and, man, get through all the countries, and all of the countries invested in
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education, and many of them had a health care system that was superior to ours and that they invest -- like, germany, japan, they fought world wars, wanted to be world powers. they lost those wars. then they became economic and educational power. they are equal in those two endeavors. i think we could literally learn from that. i just -- i'm sad that we have not. i know it's weird to hear high school dropout talk about education. i know i'm being contradictory right now. >> i watched you through various talk shows you were on on tv and trying to talk about your brother, and i noticed thrmp a couple -- there were a couple -- [inaudible]
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>> i think i wouldn't have written a book that i was not prepared for people to do that. >> were you worried about that? >> i have not been worried about anything like that. i mean -- literally -- it's funny because i hear beautiful woman go, they don't like me, but -- >> [inaudible] >> yeah, but i always felt this way. [laughter] women say why they don't get dates, and they give you the reasons according to them why it happens. you can never explain somebody's definition. somebody says, oh, he's stuck up or this or that. i'll always be that to that person, and i'm comfortable with whatever definition people have. if they just made a story up for themselves about me, then i have to be, you know, mature enough to accept the fact that's the way they will see me, but i am not afraid to lose, and i'm not afraid to win, and i'm not afraid to be a hero, and i'm not
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afraid to be a villain. i think it's a wonderful thing when the sound of your own voice can comfort you. even when i'm scared, it's me i listen to. that sounds arrogant, but i'm not afraid of somebody obsessing over me. [applause] except you, baby, only you. [laughter] >> time for, like, two more questions. >> what advice could you give to the youth of america? >> i think the best advice i've ever gotten from anybody was that you don't have to do -- you don't have to know what you will do, just know what you want. at a certain point, you have to know what it is at your core you are. that can't come from your parents or your teachers or your coaches. at a certain point, there has to be something in you that you listen to, and that you -- that you trust, that you trust because no matter where you go,
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you will always be with you. you have to be enough in tune with yourself enough that the sound of your voice comforts you. that you can be your own hero. i think too many times we have given that power to somebody else to make us feel better or give us away. you will decide what you do or you won't. that's kind of how life will be. >> i was actually listening to you, and i noticed that you said that you are a high school dropout. >> sure. >> and you've amounted to where you are at today. i'm actually a college dropout, and i've amounted to where i'm at today as well. not necessarily a lot, but it's something. >> right. >> i like to think that that's not the system or the education system or any government system that got me there. i like to think that that was, much in your case, family, and
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just having the determination to be focused, but what do you think should be done in our education system and in our government system to try to free up that knowledge and make it look attractive for our people, for minorities to want to have that desire to want to learn the way out and to want to learn how to be just as successful as those that they look up to? >> it's a -- it really -- even writing the book and reading and watching all of the things i watch, one of the things that is -- has stuck with me since writing the book is that young, black, and brown men, young boys, do not -- they are not educated. they are not accessing the educational as system.
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part is cultural, part is societal. the dinosaur had the ice age. we have the education and technology age. in either one of those cases, the dinosaur didn't make the adjustment. it's not here anymore. the black and brown male, if they don't adjust, they won't be here anymore. the job we used to be able to do, we can't do anybody. there's not the manufacturing base there were. we have to make it safe for our children to be smart, to be respectful, to be individuals because when i was a boy, i wanted to be accepted so bad that i lowered myself so i could see eye to eye with somebody. i'll never allow that to happen again. when you look around you, if i can't change the people around me, i have to change the people around you. you have to be unafraid to be by yourself. sometimes standing by yourself
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is the clearest you'll ever be, and i think that there's such a tendency to want to be accepted so bad, what's black, what's cool, what isn't, that we lower ourselves. i remember people have all kinds of estimations how they saw things, but i saw men who would do -- i came from a man, and many did, who would do anything to take care of the family. there's no such thing as i'm not going to do that. they would do anything. there was something that was in a woman that saw a man that would do anything for them, anything. i think black, white, young, old, we've lot that kind of thing where people respect us. like, you can do whatever you wanted to in my neighborhood, but at a certain point, you were going to deal with a man. i think there are -- i feel like what's happened to you is we left young boys like you by yourself to figure it out. that is our failing. i think that the only way that that changes is that we access
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education and men, make it safe for boys to grow up. [applause] >> my father used to say that making -- not making a choice is making a choice. >> it is. >> just listening to you talk about that makes me think about all the things that my father told me, like, not making a choice is making a choice. i just recently talked to a friend of mine, he's 45 years old, and now he's just figuring out what he wants to do with his life. what do you think about that? like, not making a choice is making a choice. it took him this long, since college, to really figure out exactly what he wanted toot -- to do with his life. >> sad thing is 90% of people never have that moment. whether he was 45 or 7 # 0, as long as he does it before he closes his eyes, i'm glad.
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most of us plug into the majors, do what we have to do, never fulfilled, just always feeling empty because there's something or -- well, we're always looking for something. you can see that in people. i think i feel like he's blessed to have found -- i just hope it's the real thing that keeps him going. you know, all of us make a lot of choices, but the only thing, and i know this sounds romantic, but the only thing that keeps you do anything is love. you got to love it. you got to love it when it doesn't like you. i think that when you talk about a man who found that thing he thinks will give him the strength to get up every morning, it's admiral, but it will never matter to him that he had 45 years where he was unfocused, and i hope he has another 45 good ones where he is. >> hi, the demographic of your
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book, i mean, i was doing research on generation y, born in the 80s and 1990s, over 7 # 0 mill in american history, the largest generation in american history. do you think there's a tug-of-war between one generation and the other? >> exactly. >> i have nephews in that generation, and i've been around them, and i always noticed that education was something that was, like, okay, i may do it. in the household, and they have to books around them, try to teach them, but when you look at other cities and exposure, i think exposure's important to young people. >> right. >> sometimes that doesn't happen, and i think more and more points should expose their kids early, early in life regardless of what race you are. >> right. >> i think that's important. i was just trying to find out, your book was written for any
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demographic; right? >> well, i've never cared who got the message -- not care, but never directed a message specifically at anybody, and this book is the same thing. i think that it is -- we can give ourselves permission to be excellent. we can decide that i want to be a great standup. i'd like for the world to look different because of the things that i say. that's obviously probably never going to happen, but everything i do is put to that end. i think that it's okay. i think i just don't see that light in people anymore. like, people -- i see young cats and their lights are out. they have no light in their eyes, no thing they live for. we are doing a documentary that will come out october 27th on
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comedy central, and we're trying to get the young black men put on the endangered species list. it's funny and sad and good a thing i've done, but one thing in consistently talking to them is it was not that they were lost, more than they didn't have a goal. it's that their light was out. they didn't believe anything anymore. at least we can at least give them some level of belief in something. >> [inaudible] >> on a lighter note, when your neighbor meets you -- [inaudible] >> [inaudible] [laughter]
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i hope that they had been. [laughter] >> what's your favorite -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> my favorite what? curse word? [laughter] you know my favorite curse word. i think it's universal for the black man. i love it when it's not necessary. that doesn't go there. i never knew why i love it. [laughter] i remember practicing cursing in the mirror to get it right. [laughter] not in your class, mr. boston, i promise. i read everything you put up. >> oh, my gosh, doesn't get better than that. that's the best question. give a really big round of applause, please, to the very talented dl. [applause]
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>> i would say i'm working 9 to 3. writers who say they write for seven or eight hours a day are exaggerating. you just can't. you sort of lose it after awhile. you lose it when you are working on a novel because the edges of your imagination start to blur after i would say best case about three hours. even when you write a non- fiction book, you know, you may put in three good hours of pounding away, and the rest of it is research, looking at e-mails, making another cup of coffee, that sort of thing. fiction usually begins with a theme for me. you know, identity, redemption,
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art, fame -- things like that. the whole process picks up a theme when i start to ground some of my thoughts in a character who will become the protagonist, and that character becomes sharper and sharper to me. i think all writing is affirmatively good. it's only because it leaves a piece of yourself behind. say you are blogging through your 20s and almost no one reads your blog, but 20 years from then, you'll have children, and you can show them what you wrote, and think will understand things about you that they might not understand otherwise. what i say is writing, even in the most basic form, a letter, a poem, a note to someone, it confirms an immortality. we all had that experience of loving someone, of losing them, opening a drawer and finding a
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card they signed or a letter they wrote and thinking, still alive, still alive in some way. i think the more writing the better. >> any regrets about anything you've written? >> you know, i think regrets are things that a good columnist, and i like to think i was a good coal -- columnist gets out before she publishes, in other words, you spend a fair amount of time at the computer backstopping yourself. when you write about your family constantly, and even when you are writing about events, part of your brain is thinking how will this feel in ten years? how unequivocal do i want to be about certain things? i think you do a lot of -- i wouldn't at all call it censoring, but it's more taking
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the long view, and because of that, i don't really have any regrets on anything i've written. >> any advice for writer? >> yeah, don't wait for inspiration. i don't know where she is, but she's not coming, or at least she's never coming here. i never see her. occasionally, there's like a fleeting fly-by, and then she's gone again, and it's thoap about hard work. the hard work part does not largely consist of thinking about it. people say to me all the time they are thinking about writing a book. no book is written by thinking about it. at a certain point, you have to sit down, and sit down whether you feel like it or not, and i think too often people think that if you're going to write well, it must be because you wake up in the morning, and your heart sings. my heart doesn't


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