tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN November 29, 2013 4:00pm-6:01pm EST
all has just been to keep asking questions until you get to this kind of stories. so sure. that is the way it should be. .. will look upon this 80 to 100 years from now. >> i think it is -- it took a very long -- it has taken a very long time. i think that the barrier is now falling. but it's always astonishing how long it takes to kind of bring s about some kind of change access.
as always -- was always amazing about these stories is white why to be white of you may now on the cusp ofn getting meaty a female president, why only now is the types of -- tide is slowly turning on the legalization of marriage? it's like it seems like we have these kind of moral insights but the gap between the site and the practical demonstration of that insight can be decades. i guess the task is to try to change that gap. it still amazes me. you know, if you look at the list of major northwestern dutch major countries in the world we are one of the few that has not had a female head of state. it's astonishing. even countries that you wouldn't
have thought would have beaten us to the punch. sure. >> you've already accomplished such an impressive body of work. i am impressive is one particular work that you are most proud of but also one that you might have instructed differently or to be updated. >> are you asking me if i have regrets? [laughter] i'm not going to sing for you if that's what you're thinking. you thought that i was headed in that direction didn't you. i am somebody that regrets virtually everything that i've ever done. so it's not surprising that i should have regrets about my writing.
i think -- i have not read the tipping point since i wrote it and i am now scared to in the same way it was written in 1998, so let's all think back to what our lives were like in 1998 and ask ourselves if we were suddenly transported back in time what we feel comfortable with our choices in that moment onward you be happy with the way that your hair looked in 1998 or the clothes that you were with the color of, you know, the furniture in your living room. there are so many things about 1998 that are deeply embarrassing to me and richard speck i'm quite sure were i to reread the tipping point i just would be in some pain. so what am i the most proud of? the things that you are the you're the proudest of cores are the things that all human beings are proud
of the things that others are not proud of or don't like. you are always drawn to the thing that question invites you to say every one in the world hated us. so this is true. i've done things that have been universally hated but i have quietly loved. and they are always liked little limericks that you wrote for someone's birthday party that fell flat when you delivered them that you but you actually thought they were sort of sly and in genius. it's that kind of thing i feel most proud of. i am sure that by the time i am an old man i will look back on my efforts and hang my head.
i'm sure that is inevitable as it is for all of us. sure, in the front row. >> you talked about the legacy in your talk and i was wondering how as a country we go about reconciling those that we may have angered the international community. >> that is a really good question. the question is if you create anger leaves a residue of anger and illegitimacy how do you go about correcting that. i tell a story in my book -- i'm finally mentioning my book at one hour and 15 minutes into this book talk. [laughter] a toy story in davidand goliath about a woman in new york city
whose job it is to police the housing projects of new york the worst parts of the city and asked that exact question. she gets the job and she says police are not considered legitimate in new york with good reason. not because the police force have misbehaved but because it's hard if you live in a community where the cops are on the present. all you see them doing is interacting in a emotionally and physically throughout way felt way with all of the young men in our neighborhood so we think as we think of the place as legitimate. a statistic i can't get out of my head is the percentage of a black man born in the 1970s who did not graduate from college or high school dropout black high school dropout during
the 1970s, 69% of them have spent some time behind bars. if you are from one of those neighborhoods, there is no way you could see that the law is legitimate so that is what she said to herself. i am now in charge of those neighborhoods. they don't see me as legitimate what do i do x. so she embarked on a policy to try to win back their trust and it was extraordinary. it took a lot of hard work if into it andif itinvolved her behaving in ways police officers do not normally be. she had to go to the families of juveniles (-open-paren and make friends. she started by bringing turkey on thanksgiving. i said look i know you don't trust us that only want to say is i'm here. i know that your kid is a double and cops always come and harass you. i'm here to say i'm on your side. here is a turkey.
she gradually won over the trust of the family and the crime rate began to fall because people realized it could be on their side but that took years of hard work and she have had to hire police officers who cared about kids and who could do that who were good at that thing where you knock on the door and they opened the door and, you know, they say fu and you have to say i would like to talk to you. there's a grand way of doing it at that can only be done in a person-to-person painstaking way. she put her story and because it is such a powerful lesson about kind of hurt a compassionate. you look at the crime in their neighborhoods and it is just mind boggling. >> i thought so many of the
stories in your book were so moving and inspirational. but there was one chapter about martin luther king that i had trouble with because it seemed to me although i know that all of us respond to what we see on the tv etc. and what we have been taught to believe happened. i was so surprised at the way -- >> don't give away the surprise. spoiler alert. cover your ears everyone. [laughter] i was very surprised what you drew out of martin luther king speaking experience andblank experience and i found it very upsetting. >> it's supposed to be upsetting. i do not disagree with your reaction. i'm not going to give away the ending but i will say i tell a story of the civil rights
movement in birmingham and how they managed to win against overwhelming odds and part of the answer is they play a trick and it's a trick that made people very uncomfortable at the time that led to widespread criticism along the way and continues to make people uncomfortable today, you and me. i will confess i also find that a little bit -- >> the trick is openly admitted to by wyatt walker, martin luther king blank number two. so the man who played the track after it succeeded then was very frank about what he did. it wasn't a secret he did many interviews in which he described precisely how they set about to pull the wool over his eyes and
the eyes of the press. so it is not a secret. it's what this guy wyatt walker who was the strategist but stayed in the shadows chondroitin -- brilliant guy and those of you that read the book i'd be curiousi would be curious to know your response because like i said, i don't disagree with your reaction. i think it's weird what they did. it's weird to think about what they did in the context of -- i can't keep talking about this and not telling you so i'm going to stop. i'm with you and i appreciate your response. abbas questioned. how do i choose.
in the back. yes, glasses blue -- blonde hair and green. >> the only sacrilegious of jews that is attending on a friday night, i have to ask this question which is how much do you think that religious upbringing plays into this? because i will say that every reformed conservative jew is product to challenge god, do everything got challenge authority versus my catholic friends who were accepting of authority and i'm wondering you haven't mentioned the religious factor yet and i'm wondering if it is significant at all. >> the last third is the last two chapters in particular but the civil rights chapter is
about the consequences in parts of the consequences of deep religious commitment to what that givesitgives you. and the last two chapters are all about extraordinary things that faith makes possible. i ended on that note because i came to understand and appreciate in writing the book that most significant weapon the arsenal of underdogs now a lovely phrase are the weapons of the spirit. the power that you get from your belief in god and at the end of the day nothing can beat that. i told a story about a woman who on the strength of her face, forgives the murder of her daughter. the last story about the book is the village of in the mountains about france protestant village
that openly takes in jews during the second world war and a complete defiance of the '90s and there is no mystery. there were two sets of people that have no external material advantage. they have no formal power. they have no money. they have nothing. but what they have is something in their hearts that says i am and how word by god to do the right thing. and that's enough. and it's a very both uplifting and kind of -- i was very -- writing this book moved me in a way that writing my previous books did not for the very fact that i was just by the end to sit in the backyard of a little bungalow in the winnipeg and
talked to a woman whose daughter was murdered by a sexual predator and who stood up on the day that her tortured daughter's body was found, stood up in front of a press conference of a hundred people, you know, waving microphones in her face and said without even knowing who her daughter's murderer was whoever he is, i am on the path to forgiving him. it's sort of me then and it floors me still. and you cannot have the power of that kind of thing if you hear it firsthand. anyway, thank you all. [applause]
recounts the life of norman rockwell best known for his portraits of american life in the saturday evening post. the author examines his professional and personal life which were marked by bouts of depression. this talk from the norm in the rockwell -- norman rockwell museum. [applause] >> thank you for the fabulously graceful introduction. and i'm glad he finally lets me upstairs. i can't believe as the archive has been digitized now that i'm done. what were all are all of those summers about? i had to wear gloves as i went through his papers. i had to their research gloves to keep oil of the paper. it was hard to turn the papers.
with a slow and laborious process that i'm glad to know that now people can complete it in ten minutes. [laughter] i came to this book from a historical background studying history at cornell and attended college in the 70s at a time when abstract expressionism was seen at the high point as the great savior because as is was said he shifted the capital of our power to new york. i always had a vision of a figure flying through the sky shifting the capital. and of course i didn't study rockwell and i didn't think about rockwell on till their peoples are thinking about him first such as laurie and robert rosenblum dead at the guggenheim
museum in 2001. i was immediately taken by the work partly because i have been kind of tired of spending my intellectual life in greenwich village in the 50s. i felt like please. his words just struck me as really interesting. so, i sort of took the plunge. it started when i did the piece for "the new york times" magazine about other people and i received a call on a monday morning out of the blue and he said that was interesting why don't you write a biography and you're probably joking. was that a joke? you didn't think that i was good to spend the next 14 years of my life working on that project. [laughter]
but i have loved working on this. it has been an expression and a labor of love. i just had the best time because i find the more i learn about rockwell, the more mysterious he became until the point and my wonderful editor who is here and my best friend and my husband. they knew how much i had been completely consumed by the mystery of norman rockwell. he didn't present himself as a mystery. he was a philosopher with a public personality. that event just everywhere i looked anything i looked out lead toled to something that week -- that required endless investigations and truths about
him and about american culture. in terms of the criticism that he has received over the years to try to figure out where it started exactly. when exactly did he become the antichrist of modern art and a symbol of what modern art was reacting against. the first review that i found was in the 50s. and i think that the lines at the expressionism and the beats in san francisco that hole in proposition lead at the surface of the 50s it did create a love of misunderstanding about his work and people assumed that
we didn't have the same emotions as a splash of pigment. i don't know why. that is one of the great mysteries. but i have so many good dissertation topics. there were just so many riddles. so i think in the 50s realism was discounted for instance edward hopper is all over new york now. and it's very gratifying to me because every time i turn around there is another show and i think he has now emerged, he has risen up to the power of politics in this kind of scene as an irrefutable american master and a genius and i hope that my work will bring rockwell
and. some people might say who cares. he had all of america behind him. to me it is important because i feel like as an art critic i want people to really look with their eyes and not fall prey to dogma and what i see as a kind of tendency to over classified information century art. so i was going to say that the criticism came from critics. two kinds of critics. art critics who like abstract art. they thought abstract art was emotional and painting was not. that was one criticism. the other was but it was very bitter criticism came from people who hated the saturday evening post. with men particularly who identifies rockwell with a
vision of the saturday evening post. one thing i learned in researching this book is that in many ways it was a very odious publication. they hated fdr and the new deal and spend a lot of editorial space trying to dismantle. and rockwell had nothing in common with them. he didn't share the magazine. he didn't oppose it, he wasn't thinking about politics until later in his life but in many ways his work became closely associated with the post in republican politics and what people in publishing small as the opposite of life magazine. the post in philadelphia was very conservative politically and it didn't help his reputation that he was associated in the post for all of those years. so therefore they didn't think
it was advocating a kind of life but it was not indicating at all all. i was going to say the criticism came from critics but not from artists because i have found this has been one of the gratifying things working on this book is that artists love talking about their love of work. i don't think that i've met one artist who has asked me why are you doing this. i've met critics. all of my friends give me shit all the time. [laughter] and i don't expect them to -- i'm not trying to convert anybody by doing this book. everybody has their own feelings. but all of them really love rockwell and understand what he was about and i think understand that the work was the creation of emotional necessity.
he wasn't doing this to earn a paycheck. he practically lost money because he took so long to do them and more of the money from advertising. but in the book i mentioned i have two wonderful anecdotes about rockwell blank work and the paintings he owned a portrait of jackie kennedy and a painting of santa claus which i think is hilarious because they were famous people but artists bought it and they also understand realism and that there is a tremendous emotion involved in the act of looking. and i really don't think that any artist ever worked harder than rockwell. his work is all about the act. i often got disgusted with him working on this book because he
wasn't very forthcoming. with the dates he was terrible. every data that he gets this wrong. you could get passenger records and any time that i checked it was wrong. when i revived to be very biased by that i stopped criticizing that because it's tiresome for the reader. you don't want to be the party pooper this is you were not in the navy. you can't keep doing that again and again. you can do it once or twice. but he loves telling them using stories and i don't think that he placed a high premium on forthright conversations. i think that he expressed himself through his work. his work didn't lie. his work is incredibly moving and deep. not all of it but some of it.
so there's something in this book about i think -- i don't know if anyone will even notice it. there are so many parts but to me that was a discovery. i was a very critically they wrote a famous essay in 1961 in the partisan review that was kind of emblematic of the modern disregard for the mainstream culture of what they called the middleground culture and in researching this, i read books through the papers and found that he originally wrote the piece as a saturday evening post and they killed it. they killed the piece because at the time -- this gets complicated but bear with me.
at the time he was a staff writer at new york and he criticized the magazines as noble brow. the post, harper the atlantic and the editor on the piece said you have to include the new yorker if you are going to criticize all of these magazines come and he worked at the new yorker. so they have the letters going back and forth and everyone knows about the new yorker. it's just ridiculous. so then they killed the peace and at that point he wanted to be paid and so forth. so there's a big fight and he's arguing he needs the money. then he goes back and he rewrites the peace insults at to the partisan review and he puts in a lengthy attack on norman rockwell. the post killed his article. that is such a conflict of
interest. even if his opinion wasn't shaped by the fact that the post had killed his article it is still not a good opinion. it is an opinion based very much on the categorization which was the big activity of the critics. they always have to draw the line on what is hot and what is low. dwight macdonald added the middle category then there was hiding away at low and they were just big on putting everybody into categories. to me it was just common sense. even an arch modernist couldn't possibly be the free abstract in the painting in the world was better than norman rockwell. does that make sense? people were not thinking. there was a lot of category making i think in the 20th century and that is what was in rebellion against right now because the postmodernism which
isn't any kind of great benefactor necessarily that it but it does represent i think kind of the first categorization of the snobbishness of the past. and i really hope that this moment you see as a kind of good rockwell moment will be a moment about indoors. i really think that there is a tremendous appreciation for his work because of your efforts. if this museum wasn't here i don't know what would happen to the worker to his papers. his papers and sure would be impossible to find because he himself was not a big archivist to put it mildly. where would everything be?
how would we see his work? we come in and form an opinion. it's important that it's here because he wasn't given space in other museums. and so it's not like other careers where they go and see a painting because you just can't see it. they studied for the freedom of speech. i told the story of how they acquired it and it was disgusting. they practically stole it for a hundred dollars. every time i see the director i say if you don't hang it up i'm going to come in and make a video. it's still not hanging. but it's just a greater tolerance generally as we all know towards the realist painting i think and i see him
as a great american realist. he thought of himself as an illustrator and he was. he was very much in the straighter. one of the fascinating questions is why didn't he try to do art painting a call of the other illustrators. a lot of them split of themselves in to. they did their commercial work and been dated paintings that they wanted to sell at galleries and try to make a reputation in the world. he didn't do that and i think that is one of the fascinating questions surrounding his career. why did he do that? my own feeling is that he be leaving thedeleted the greatness of illustration and wanted to live up to what he saw as a very extraordinary american tradition
tradition. there are so many questions. i could talk forever. in terms of his weaknesses, i should discuss that. that is what you all came here to now he was very big on male bonding and he was a very physically thin person who loved being around other men and wasn't very relaxed around women and i didn't find that problematic. you can: a feminist. he never had a female assistant he only had six male students and then there's always one at the end of the book.
he looks very nervous over there. one day i found a letter that he wrote to yale. the art school had written to him and said can you write a recommendation? this woman has applied to our school she says she knows you. do you think she should come here? he writes back he says i'm sorry to say i cannot write that letter. i do not know her well and i'm sorry to say that because she is my goddaughter. i was so upset and then i looked up that women in davenport who was the daughter food, his european trips. i tried to find her and she had died but i checked and she did get into yale. [laughter]
he didn't want to write a recommendation for someone he doesn't know that well. to me it was more about how he really didn't take into women. he was so caring and sensitive towards his male friends and why is that? so i think fortunately he portrayed women as pretty good because i would argue that it was a proto- feminist women not all of them but the women tend to be female aggressors and they are kind of boyish and that was for him the vision that he needed to connect with. i found him to be an incredibly sympathetic than who felt like he had no skin, just very
unsupported. he probably felt like because he was so small no one looked at him and his childhood and he wanted people to look at him. he was a bit of an exhibitionist. he liked looking in the mirror and he really did look at people come here looked at them very carefully. if you have a purple vein in your knows he would have noticed that. it's beautifully observed and even though i don't always like him as a person my respect for him as an artist has grown exponentially while working on this book. ' make is that enough?
>> thank you. >> i have covered culture in new york my entire career and this museum first of all there are times i was here when the entire staff was female that everybody is so gracious. there is none of the usual but what about my book? it's just everybody really supports the spirit of rockwell and his welcoming to people who come in with their own insight. i've been to be the never seen anybody get along so well with so many people. >> the museum of fine arts in boston wouldn't open up the wing representing the pantheon of american art without borrowing a very important work from last because -- this is a very interesting question. one question to consider is
because the paintings are here and where else would they be otherwise by now if they were not being collected by museums. the question is as he does well in stature how can we integrate them into the collections if they work so well here? you probably know about the museum founded by alex bolton in arkansas she purchased those and i like the idea of him being shown with thomas and i think that is where he belongs and can certainly hold his own but if all the paintings are here what do you do? >> the good news is they are not all here. we have the largest and i think the most significant collection of rockwell blank work that many
of them come on the market as we know is about to happen and it is my fervent hope that more museums to add rockwell to their collections into but in the meanwhile that's why there's so much pressure on this museum to lend our collection. freedom is going into the art institute of chicago next month for an important exhibition on art food and tasting. >> appetite looking at the cultural traditions in food but also the collection is frequently requested for blowing around the country. we worked with more than 125 museums in this nation with our illustration exhibitions. now, you're going to take questions that we have one thing to ask of you. we are going to pass microphones around and as you can see this talk is being filmed and is it is going to be broadcast on c-span so please stand to know if you
ask a question you will be part of the conversation and broadcast and please come use the microphones so everyone can hear your questions and then deborah will be happy to respond to anything. there was the condensed version of the books book published in the smithsonian magazine in its october issue which i assume many of you have read and many of you have not yet had a chance to read the book because it hasn't been available until tonight unless you are a member of the press or a friend of deborah and read it in july as i did on my summer vacation. you have seen some news articles about this and it's probably at the smithsonian article and this is your opportunity to hear deborah blank interpretations firsthand. thank you. >> think you. >> i am a member of the press.
>> but don't you get your name plaques. >> i did get an advanced copy about two thirds of the way through and i'm trying to get absorbing and illuminating particularly the way that you present him in the context. but as you say that there are many questions and mysteries about him and i see that in the book you pose various questions and avenge all conclusions which i'm feeling are your own but supportive. but i'm wondering how much you your self have to create in writing this book and how much were you able to verify along the line? >> there is very little
speculation in the book. a lot of the work was through archives especially here but also other archives i got as many letters as i could and i was able to go through the newspapers which are now online. i did that unnecessary labor going through the library and then the bennington banner from arlington. but you gather as much basic information as you can during the biography. and i tried not to. what did you find a speculative? because i kind of lady evidence out there. for instance the microphone controversy over the question is that what you're thinking of? >> his psychological frame of
mind. >> i didn't speculate at all i just laid out the evidence he was on a camping trip and he shared a bed with his studio assistants and the next morning he commented on how attractive the student was. i think people tend to stamp the word gay wherever they see ambivalence. he was conflict it as in most aspects of his life but i didn't use that word and i think that i resisted speculation. i don't think the book is -- i thought the book was firmly grounded in research and conclusions based. but if there's something that strikes you tommy. >> i'm not angry. it's obviously very well researched. i just wanted to have your take
on how much speculation, quote unquote, you have to engage in on some of these mysteries. >> you just don't find the answer. you lay out the information and biography is a puzzle. you gather pieces and then you have a thousand pieces and none of them fit together. that is biography. it's a puzzle where none of the pieces fit and you can lose your mind. you just lay the pieces out in the end and i hope i did that and i hope that readers can draw their own conclusions. i would never speculate about his sexual orientation for one thing because, you know it's too easy. why do that? i might speculate in other areas such as why he painted the golden rule for how did eric san influence him? i was fascinated by the
relationship between ericsson and rockwell and researched the hell out of that and hope i captured something there. also in researching his relationship with his models including the first one who died tragically at the age of 15. rockwell used them almost exclusively for his early work and i got every scrap of information i could and it was disturbing, but i don't think that i really concluded anything. i just concluded that a boy died and that rockwell seemed to be a little bit dismissive of the whole thing but then also such a beautiful painting that ran on the cover of the post on his 16th birthday after his death that is the most tender eulogy that i've seen. he is riding on a train with his
dog and you know it him because the basket has a little tag on it and it showed where they lived. and i saw that reading his comments in the biography it seems to contemplate the death of this boy. and then to compare that with the painting that is so thrilling and made me think you just can't pay that much attention to his comments. most of them are not that revealing. a lot of them just obfuscate. i never thought his comments about me closer to him. >> daphne from new york.
having read the book as a friend of deborah, i think that one question that still remains with me and i guess i would like for you if possible to talk about a little more. for me, the burning question about rockwell is to does he transcend the illustration from a criticism viewpoint does his work go beyond the confines of illustration? it was a question that for me you kind of answer. but i'm still not sure of the leap from going he didn't do the double thing.
do you not think that there was a leap in calling him a great realist paper? his realism of course i would like you to just address that and also the ways in which you find him moving. >> i think that he transcended the category of illustration and one very easy way for me to prove that his looking at his work you look at the other illustrators of his era and it's just shocking. it is not in the britannica today. it's not in the end wikipedia britannica. and we all know many other illustrators whose work is not considered only remembered. and i think the fact that rockwell continued to engage in this level of interest suggests that there is something more.
so that is a very kind of indirect answer of what makes him an artist. to me i see a sense of emotional urgency in the pictures. people think you have to do an image of loneliness, he only painted a dark paintings at the end of his life. painting a dark painting has nothing to do with emotion. when i look at his work i see a man that just looked at the world to escape his own skin he wants to connect with his subjects and he did by the presence. and i think that his own -- he was a very lonely person and his
longing for a sense of belonging kind of very neatly escalated america's sense of people wanting to come together in the mid-20 century and belonged to something. we no longer have this. we no longer think that you have just one national identity. now we have ten zillion and we are probably better off. a lot was sacrificed for america to just have one national identity. but anyway i feel that sense of longing in his book and one thing i noticed how too this is a great cover why is no one looking at this. he always thought that story through and every detail means something. sometimes you look at other covers of the magazines and i look at other covers and think
why is this here and it never adds up. i had no idea what the artist is trying to do. the story didn't come through with the joke didn't come through and rockwell just cut away all of the slab. that's what it is on one level it's a brilliant editing until all that is left is what has to be there. and he did that. i don't see a lot of the paintings. i feel like if the detail in the painting means something he put it there deliberately. >> i'm curious if you ever thought about what kind of paintings he might have made and how living in vermont and stockbridge really informed what
he did because so many people that i know think that he created a fiction of small-town life when i think a lot of us who live here know that it's very authentic and you still see that rockwell moments. >> right. well, he was born on the other west side of manhattan and he did spend his first 40 plus years living in new york and its suburbs so he was very familiar and it seemed he was in school at the time of the show. it's just something that's driving me nuts because i keep thinking he was right there. every art student.
what do you think? do you think he went? i would love to have an hour with him. he very much resisted modernism and some people say you know, he hated modernism. so. does everybody have to love modern art? he ended up speaking about picasso and he totally understood modern art and was interested in it and what he wanted to do and i think that as a young man it broke the surface of art. he wanted to build service art
and in some ways there is always another behind the surface so he had arrived modern to write modern art for that reason and it did not appeal to him in some ways it's very conservative. he didn't want to go out and get drunk. he was up every morning in the studio by 8:00 and i was very moved realizing that by the end of every day he was in a state of total disenchantment because he felt like he didn't really get done what he had intended to do like every great artist in the world i think that compelled him forward to work as hard as
he did on the pictures and realized there was always a vision out of there that he had yet to capture. >> he had a good work ethic and at the end of the day you you're not necessarily supposed to feel satisfied that the new rise again the next day and keep going. >> i think that's really interesting. there were a lot of early interviews but in one interview that he did he set ivy league
art is 99% [inaudible] succumbing inso, you know, it is just a myth that they go to their studio with a head full of ideas and i'll come spilling out. that is one of the myths of the modern movement. do you like to adhere to a routine in your work? >> i like when i feel like i'm going to get up the next morning and work. >> that's always good. >> another question? >> can you tell us your name? >> my name is bonnie. i wonder if you could address the issue of the mentality which many people criticize him for having a certain quality of
sentimentality and then also may be connected with that the renewed interest in rockwell is there an element when andy warhol by his jackie & the id is a different relationship to the material then perhaps what is invested in the painting of the subjects. maybe i'm wrong. but it reminds me of little little bit of attention and robert frost, the popular robert frost and then there's the lie and all troubling the dark ironic. but we don't have that division rockwell in the same way. you don't discover another rockwell. >> you said andy warhol discovered another rockwell. i do think there are different rockwell's for different people. in terms of the sense of
mentality it is a very interesting question that makes me want to write another book. i think that his subjects were really misunderstood during his lifetime. he often painted people getting along, townspeople. the humanitarian side of america where people look at one another. walking is very important, and listen to one another. if you look at the freedom of speech you will see a lot of eyes and ears because it's all about looking and listening. why do i see say that? because the idea of community media to stop people in their 60s as very sentimental but i think now at the time we are still reeling from a government shutdown and the unbelievable pettiness of american politics we can see that kind of
humanitarian ideal is a very worthy goal. and i think that he didn't like the idea of people coming together. she didn't really attack back. he liked everybody to get along. if you look -- i think it's fascinating if you look at the freedom of speech where all eyes are on the speaker. you will know that figure rising up out of at the town hall meeting he's not wearing a wedding ring and who is he he might be an immigrant. darker skinned than anybody in the paper. i don't know if he is supposed to the greek or italian. they are older and they are in suits. and i think that to me, that is the emblematic image of american
democracy. and it's a fantasy of american democracy because it is a worthy goal. we all listen to one another. if you look on the other hand after the turkey painting, the thanksgiving painting, that is a family scene. bought at the town hall that no one is looking at anyone. and the three generations of the family you can't believe how many different directions they are looking off. you don't know that many directions existed when you look at the painting. no one takes contact. so i think that if you look at his paintings more closely we start to distinguish different subjects and i hope that the graduate students -- one interesting subject to me is the
whole question of the paintings i looked back earlier he has been hanging in the house in the studio and that was the kind of image of the painting. the genre paintings that is supposed to be about everyday life. you always have people staring in different directions. but all dog isthe dog is looking lovely in the ice skater over here and we did something entirely different. he brought all of them together. a lot of his paintings are about the interlocking such as the homecoming soldier where the soldier comes and you see him from the back and the mom is reaching out and all eyes are on the soldier. ..eyes on the soldier and fell whole idea was something he very much needed in his
emotional life and as an artist whose energies were related it all became complicated in his work so that is one question i love to see a graduate student investigate with his work how did he change it? there are so many questions. he painted "the golden rule" published and then in 1964, erik erikson it are brilliant gina strings loaded on the baltimore and became the centerpiece of the book. and i just thought busy taking them from him? why are they both doing back? there was a lot of little
questions like that i found doing batteries reach. i tried to research and i've got some questions cannot be a third. the other people will continue to research. [inaudible] >> -- he's got to either say yes or no. what is this? >> yes yeah. see what you can do with it. >> right. but there's a lot of convergence i would love to see someone research resources the art historical sources. if you are looking for a good dissertation he's always
playing around. there's a lot of work to be done there. as laurie niles, is recently had a civil war show that's on a painting by easton johnston. a day in the life of the of the south. a big fabulous painting on behalf of the new york historical society. a dirty handed in my manuscript. let it go. i saw the and i screamed because it had the same -- that was the dean team he'd been looking at when he did his homecoming soldier. there is so many affinities. and then i became, even though the book was researching that painting. did he have the book?
what abc? were to get the i.d. of the barbershop? all of that kind of his traced relationship because knowing where our comes from, there's no answer to that. there's no answer where it's going to come from. all you can say is this painting came out of that tradition and that painting. i think a lot of that work. you have the day today website. collect some of that information. >> hi, deborah. kathy daly former member of the board of museum. good to see you. i saw it with the rock election many years ago now when you're first starting to talk about your work. you know all of us care so deeply about norman rockwell whether we come from stock bridge or care about its reputation, care about this
museum. good to have someone of your stature to write a book about him or whatever people think about it is incredibly important, particularly at this time. i want to thank you for what clearly is your menswear, which i have not read yet. i'm not a member of the press. i did manage to sort of reach through the smithsonian magazine because i am troubled. i want to follow-up on charles' comment about your insinuation that rockwell is stopped dead was gay. the dots you try to connect with the subject manner. we don't have the benefit of all your resource material to reflect upon your opinions. i did find it then and i am troubled again tonight by your throwing out that they slept in
the same bed. we know that none of us taken out of context. i'm sure you can appreciate. the rest of your sentence that you describe talks about the other people that were on the camping trip who also shared. and so, when you just mention that as if rockwell was the only one to do it, i think you are doing a disservice to your supposition to the reputation. and i'm concerned about it. so i hope you will take the opportunity and talking about the mysteries and the uncovering of mysteries that rockwell's work that you won't let that hang out there out of context. thank you. >> okay. i hope that the book will make you feel that i've put it all in the proper context.
you read an excerpt in the magazine which has a limited amount of space. i think in the book that i grabbed his mystery. i don't put any labels on the sexuality and have no interest in doing that at all. again, i was dealing with facts. i might say that was the closer of the time. then went fishing and shared minutes. that's part of it, too. it's worth noting. the next morning he wrote that fred looks fetching in his pajamas. i did think, you know that's a very intimate it. that's a very intimate thing to say about a man and i just wanted to indicate that he wrote that in his diary. it was a hearsay. never in the book. i hate hearsay. i love documents. my oldest was close to the source as they can.
so again, i was just quoting in his diary. i think the material does raise questions. he can't say was just a fishing trip. i think it says something about its need for closeness with men which was an enduring theme in his life and his work. yes. over here. >> thank you. i read the slightly heavier look. [inaudible] >> all take a while to get to the whole thing. in any event he repeated it here that one of the reasons he knows are maybe the reason was that he wanted to continue his european with erik erikson right
here is austen riggs. so to make a move like that, he must have been very concerned about his depression or despair or whatever it was then he took some steps to address it. i mean this would be speculation. but why -- what do you think would be the sewers quick a man at selling fish at this life and work in the one time you find even people who have that statute and talent to have these kinds of problems. so again speculation. i don't know whether you want to answer that are not. do take such a dramatic step to be near his therapist. >> it probably wasn't the only reason. i think he also was done and every once in a while.
most of all, he wanted to get new material is essential for that. on the other hand, they did have a letter that for me was really revelatory. they indicated that he started with ericsson while he was still living in arlington, vermont. because he always does his wife was treated. i have a letter. again fascinating and what she liked rockwell. he's an artist. freddie to feel. i established that rockwell began seeing him in september of 1953, two months before he moved. to me -- erikson. yeah yes.
and you know that was just incredible. it really one against the official story. the story he told again and again kind of pain at all and his wife when in fact he was very amassed with the community and derived enormous support from it. his relationship with ericsson was really key in pushing him towards the civil rights. others were. i kind of wanted to give erickson and his due. it also says a lot about rock of sophistication. a man like erickson who is seen as one of the geniuses of the 20th century was so enamored of rockwell. it's an interesting relationship. but as for the causes of his depression, why is anyone depressed? probably the same old reason. you know, someone didn't love you once.
the wind stays forever. it doesn't go away. i.e. on mac >> rate. it is really interesting. they're probably driven by a sense of dissatisfaction. otherwise what could keep in their studio for all those hours? absolutely. i didn't buy with rockwell. >> i happened to be a psychiatrist. >> now i'm in trouble. i've always admired your work and your questions. what is really struck me today because i haven't read your book
yet, obviously. you're our first warned about this man's personality and your openness of talking about this personality in front of his family today. i find amazing. you haven't mentioned his wife and his relationship with her. i was just curious if you could comment on that. >> he was married three times. the relationship jarvis' mother and rockwell sons. i think in many ways it was a marriage in the sense that he just kind of did not really think too much about her. he was distracted and she was very lonely. there was an a lot do there and it was an incredible hardship
for her. she did take a drinking, which presumably made her feel less invisible. why do people drink? i guess for different reasons. it was a very difficult marriage. she's an incredibly sympathetic figure, a very educated woman from california who wanted to be a writer. a little bit of writing. i have some stories and poems by her who never could get it done for whatever reason. in some ways it is almost a classic 50s housewife to put aside his own ambitions for those. i do think he was extra room out it is a very difficult
situation. >> we will take one more question. >> and that st. clair. >> high, and think later. >> i would like to hear you something about the incredible optimism of the work as opposed to what has been discussed here about it done fatness. >> the optimism of work. well, i think that's the reason we sewers onto it. they generally care about one or another. he is not asking the form. he is rather not asking her to tag.
he is very sweetly thinking of this little girl who clearly worried about the health of her talent takes the time to listen with a stethoscope to the heartbeat, which is just incredible. i think he was very in europe when he did it. he was influenced by the dutch mastery. the painting was like a leap forward compared to what he had been doing before hand. it does mark a break from some of the earlier work and it's gorgeous. there were 34 left. i think a painting like that captures rockwell ideas community minded that. i don't know if i caught optimism but that optimism -- i
didn't see this optimism about america's future. he just really wanted to create this arcadia where people got along and looked at one another. and i think a lot of that is written off by people who have not looked carefully. when i was reading negative reviews in the 50s and 60s, it's amazing how people never looked at the painting. just a plumber. there's that famous on. he taught in this part of the country. i remember his name now. people picking on the saturday evening and not really bothering to look at his paintings. in describing rockwell's paintings. i don't think people really took
>> bill bryson examines numerous events of the summer night team 27 that please the united states on the world stage. the first all not that led across the atlantic charts on your to president bush's decision to not seek a second term in office. this is a little under an hour. [applause] >> thank you very, very much for all those kind words. and thank you c. eagle ibooks for selling my book airs
tonight. and above all thank you all of you so much. there's so many of you. i'm thrilled and very honored. what a wonderful place this is. you never quite know what you are going to get. it really wasn't that long ago that i did a meeting to an audience of five people at a barnes & noble. i can't remember for scranton pennsylvania or harrisburg pennsylvania. they only put out six chairs. they thought it was a pretty good turnout for me. [laughter] one was the store manager, so she obviously wasn't going to buy the book. two more were friends of my parents who are just retire to pennsylvania from iowa and had come to see what my mom and dad were doing. the fourth was a guy named bill bryson who had come from
delaware or west virginia. a long way so he and i could stand to gather and look at his drivers license. [laughter] and marvel about the fact there were both named bill bryson. the fifth person was his wife who spent the evening with anyone named bill bryson. [laughter] so this is really fantastic for me. i'm very grateful. they sent them without getting up and following the distinguished sending to say something important. i'm one of those people that alerts out the wrong thing. i have a knack for saying exactly the wrong thing. the example i always give if i had to fill out a questionnaire for publications for a british bookstore chain.
one of the questions on the questionnaire was what would you like people saying about you an hundred years from now? it was a really tough question. the answer i gave and it made me say, that i'm still active. [laughter] i apologize in advance if i don't say the right thing. [laughter] there's another true story. there is always generally an honor that so many of you come. like everybody, authors crave attention. we tend to be pretty anonymous people. it's not that many authors that you would recognize if they came in the room. even though they may be famous. i wouldn't have the faintest
idea what he looks like. i know i would always have. a couple of times a year i get recognized on the street because i do have a somewhat higher profile there. i never get recognized in my own country. it's something i've always secretly craved. it so happens the last month i was in vail in colorado because our younger son got a job fair. he graduated from a college in england a year or so ago. i then took advantage of his american passport to get a job as a key instruct her -- ski instructor in vail. these are kind of entry-level jobs. they shared an apartment with these guys and us having a great time. about a month ago, my wife and i
went to see how he was doing. so we had to kind of fill the day. i was just in downtown thao, wandering around looking. i was doing that, i heard a voice say hey phil mr. bryson. i turned around and this young man was advancing towards me with a big smile. i was thrilled. this has never happened before. so i hauled out my hand and said how did you know me? he said i am one of your son's roommate. [laughter] we had dinner with you two nights ago. [laughter] so what makes a thank you for making me feel apartment, you have no idea how grateful i am to you. i don't know exactly what you expected me tonight. i'm talking about "one summer:
america, 1927". i thought i would broaden that a little bit if that's okay and tell you about who i am and where i come from and maybe we chew a couple passages from my earlier books and at some point i'd like to tell you my bear story because i always tell it and i hope you enjoy it. this is where the appalachian trail start. there couldn't be a more apt place to taliban in georgia. let me say a little bit about myself. as you indicated i grew up in des moines, iowa, a long time ago. i know i have a funny voice. people who don't come from des moines iowa. when i go to des moines, people say you didn't come from des moines. i grew up there. several years ago in an effort to try to prove to the world i really did come from there i read a book about growing up in iowa in the 50s. it was such a fantastic time to grow up.
american the 50s was a really magical place. i'm sure that whatever happens is always a splendid event. but in the middle of the country, in the middle of the 20th century in a nice happy middle-class household was a real privilege. it's almost totally happy. i particularly adored my mother. my mother is still alive and she's an absolute need to be women. she worked as the home furnishing editor on "the des moines register," the local paper. so her life is always that she would go work all day. she'd quite a demanding job. she would rush home every night. she would stop at the store to get food in russia the house in her something into the oven and off into the rest of the house to be the other 1001 chores that piled up during the day. the washing and ironing and so on. she was always a little bit
forgetful anyway. but because she is so much on her mind, she would put in the oven and 10 to forget about it because she is so much else to do. we didn't call it the kitchen are house. we called it the burns unit. [laughter] her specialty was she would often put things in the oven and forget to take the wrapping off of them. i was almost fully grown before i realized that saran wrap was in a kind its unique ways. [laughter] but apart from that, it was nearly perfect. like all people she occasionally got things wrong. i tell you all this because it's introducing a passage i want to read to you from my boat. what happened as i came home from school one day to discover to my horror the modest occasion that my mother major mother of a well-meaning well-meaning gesture had except that invitation on my behalf to go to a place called like a quality on saturday with these neighbors of ours.
and normally it is fantastic. it was a leak in a state park about 20 miles south of des moines. it really took vital place. i was always really happy to go there. but not with the milton. the milton's richest of the most noxious people you've ever met. they had these annoyed at no voices. they fun foods and insisted you meet them too. you couldn't avoid eating better foods. they were argumentative. it was hard to be in their company for very long. they had a little boy named milton milton -- [laughter] family have this tradition of giving the firstborn male of each generation the same name as a family for name. milton milton was famous for being the biggest strictest school and beaten in him was kind of social suicide. i just couldn't believe that my mother had agreed me to do this
because it was just going to be such a dreary thing to do. but my point enmeshed in all of this is i think one of the most things about my childhood was to matter how bad things to be going how often it works out for the best. so i went to lake a quality in a gloomy submission, crammed into the milton issued thinking m*a*s*h, a car with the comfort and stylish cap of a freezer come expecting the worst and receiving it. we got heatedly lost for an hour in the immediate vicinity of the state capitol building, something almost impossible for any normal family to do a des moines. when we finally reached a quality, we spent time in loading the inventing a uninitiated on to save a small unofficial beach. this is not mr. research is made
of some kind of pink paste that looked like and probably was no use up and grandmother used to secure her dentures to her guns. i left mine to the doctor would have nothing to do with it. having eaten, we had to sit quietly. i can't tell from here -- is projecting? having eaten, we had to sit quietly for 45 minutes before serving so we didn't get cramps and die horribly and six inches of water. she encouraged us to close her eyes and have a little sleep until it was time to cement. in the middle of lake a quality, it was more a large wooden platform on which stood a diving board a kind of wooden eiffel tower. it was i'm sure the tallest wooden structure in iowa if not
the entire midwest. the platform is so far out from the sure that hardly anyone ever visited it. just occasionally some teenage daredevils. sometimes they would climb the ladders and peek out onto it. but they always retreated when they saw how far the water was below it. no human being had ever been known to jump from the high board. so was quite a surprise when i see egg timer deemed our liberation mr. milton began doing macros and arm stretches to jump off the high board. it must be said had been something of a diving star at lincoln high school, but i was on a 10-foot forward. ahquabi was another order of magnitude. clearly he was out of his mind. his insane detention authority spreading around the beach of mr. met and dropped into the water and swam for steady, even strokes. he was just another tiny distant
stick figure when he got there. from a distance the hybrid lift hundreds of feet above him. it took at least 20 minutes to make his way up the zigzag of letters to the top. once at the summit, he stood up and on the board which is enormously long thompson experimentally to three times then took some deep breaths and finally assumed the position that fixed onto the board design set-asides. it is clear from his posture and poised manner that he was going to go for it. by now all the people on the beach and in the water several hundred altogether had stopped whatever they were doing them or just badly watching. mr. milton said for a long time. then with a nice touch at the checkout he, raised his arms ran down the wrong board and imagine, if you will, an olympic gymnast sprinting towards a springboard. took one enormous balance amongst yourselves height outward in a perfect swan dive.
it was a beautiful thing to behold msa. he fell with flawless grace for what seemed whole minutes. the beauty of the moment in the breath of assignments with the multitude that the only sound to be heard was the faint whistle of his body tearing through the air towards the water part. it may only be my imagination, but he seemed after a time to start to glow red like incoming meteor. i don't know what happened whether he lost his nerve are realized that he was approaching the water at a murderous velocity or what. about three quarters the way down he seemed to have second ads about the whole thing. [laughter] and began suddenly to flail. like someone in a bad dream or his parachute doesn't open. when he was perhaps 30 feet above the water he gave up on flail and trading attacks. he spread his arms and legs wide
in the shape of an ax, evidently hope you the surface area with somehow stop his fall. it didn't work. he had a wider impacted really is the word for it in over 600 miles an hour. with a report so loud that it made birds fly out of trees miles away. such a speed effectively becoming a salad. i now believe mr. milton penetrated at all. he just can't stop it 15 p. limbs loosely on top of it still like inaudibly spinning gently. he whispered to passing fisherman in a rowboat by half a dozen onlookers who carefully set them down on an old blanket. he spent the rest of the afternoon arms then legs elevated. every area from his hairline to
toenails had a raw look as if he suffered from unimaginable distortion involved in an industrial sander. occasionally except in small sips of water, but otherwise as much to traumatize v. later that same afternoon milton junior cut himself with a hatchet that he had been told on no account to touch so we ended up leaving pain and trouble at the same time. it was the best day of my life. [laughter] [applause] thank you. thank you. i'm also an kind of a slightly awkward position and evenings like this. i like two different kinds of books. a lot of books i read are filion meant to be amusing, like you just heard when i was little
kid. sometimes a or serious bugs which i still hope for entertaining, but are meant to convey information in a more conventional and reliable way. to be absolutely factual and take some care to try and make that that's completely accurate as i can. that's really the case of the new one which my publishers brought me a great expense, which was one summer in 1927. i don't like to talk too much about a new book but especially this one in a way because it seems a little bit as a danger of spoiling it for everybody. i especially feel that way about this one because the summer of 1927 was amazingly uneventful and magical summer. i think the most eventful summer that any nation has ever had are certainly peacetime. to me it was just a whole bunch of discoveries. i didn't know about all of these things happening.
i kind of hope the reader will be done and be as amazed as i was discovering them. the foundation event weren't always been fascinated by the fact two things that happen in the same summer. one was that charles lindbergh for the atlantic and the other was babe ruth hit 16 home runs. i was fascinated by these two iconic events by these complete the check demeans human beings throughout the same time. i just had it in mind that it might be interesting to do a dual biography of these two remarkable figures. but with the meeting of 1927 coming together when they had their most memorable summer. and then i found as i started doing research for a paper that charles lindbergh were really only part of this amazing summer. you had the great mississippi flood, which is still the
biggest natural disaster in american has her in terms of extent. you had the filming of the jazz singer, the first talking picture, which obviously completely transformed popular entertainment. we executed the notorious anarchists vanzetti which was a huge, huge story almost completely forgotten now. television happen in the summer of 1927 and so on. it just goes on and on. one thing after another. that really became the book. that is why the book is called "one summer" because all these events happened in this one summer. the lindbergh i think is really the big story now. i had always thought was lindbergh that he is somehow got into his head he would drive the atlantic and he did it and became famous. it is really as simple as that. but i didn't realize was there was really big race going on. there were lots and lots of teams that were all trying to be the first to win this very
reaches the word called the ortiz prize. they are about eight or 10 teams in europe and america that were poised to go to be the first to fly from new york to paris. that's what you have to do is fly between those two big cities. that was an epic achievement with the technology, aviation technology of 1927. they were just barely ready and capable of doing that. all of these other teams were much better funded. much better experience, had multiple engines, multiple men cruised. usually three or four people and from out of nowhere, before any of these to go away this kid is in a single proposing to fly the ocean alone without a navigator copilot or anyone. not even the radio. the road became enchanted by this. the world was entranced by this nice personable and the
suicidally foolish young man. and with all the other aviators really thought he would fail. but off he goes and of course we all know he made it. the interesting thing was once he disappeared over the horizon so to speak, he just vanished from everyone's conscious mess. nobody knew what to become of him. for about 16 hours he was simply out of touch. the only person or planet or newer charles lindbergh was was charles lindbergh. almost consuming pretension and worried about whether this poor kid would make it. when he appeared in ireland the next day the joy was global. people are both thrilled. they were completely embracing each other and filled with exultation. the interesting thing is lindbergh had no idea through the course of his flight was
almost completely anonymous to be the most famous man on earth. so we have no idea what is awaiting him on the ground below. that's the passage or want to read to you. is lindbergh covers the last leg of his trip to ensure work into paris he had no idea he was about to experience pain on a scale and intensity unlike any experienced that any human being before. it never occurred that many people would be waiting for them on the ground. no one at the airfield at even speak english and he would be in trouble for not having a french visa. his plan was that first -- this is annoying me. i have to lower it. i'm sorry. his plan was first he would see to it that his plane was built securely. then he would give the news that he had arrived. you suppose there'd be one or
two press interviews, assuming her peers worked back. i don't have to find a hotel seminar. at some point he would need to buy a close and personal items because he hadn't packed anything at all not even a toothbrush. a more immediate problem confronting him was that his map didn't show the parisian airfield. all the newest of the seven miles northeast of the city and it was reportedly big. after the eiffel tower yet in that direction, but the only possible site was rings with bright lights is that there was some kind of magnificent in mr. or complex. but the tentacles of brightside stretching out from it in all directions. this is nothing like the air force he expected to find. but lindbergh didn't realize was all the activity below was for him. disfigures tentacles of life for tens of thousands of cars all spontaneously drawn and now caught in the greatest traffic jam in history.
cars were abandoned along the roads to the airport in every direction. at 10:22 p.m. paris time 33 hours, 30 minutes and eight seconds after taking to the air the spirit touched down on the grassy spaciousness of the portégé. in that instant, his thoughts around the earth within minutes the whole of america knew he was safe. it was instantly a theme of pandemonium as tens of thousands of people rushed across the airfield to lindbergh's plane. an eight-foot high chain link fence was flattened in bicycles were crossed under the massive seas. a measure of pandemonium is the next day seniors would gather more than a ton of lost property including six that her dentures. [laughter] for lindbergh this is an entirely alarming circumstance. he was an actual danger of being pulled to pieces. he began to carry them off like price beauty.
i found myself in the press that position on top of the crowd in the center of the notion extended to spread into the dirt of his eye could see. he wrote later it is like drowning in a human sea. someone yanked his mother flight from inside and others began to pull it closely. behind him to his greater mind his beloved plane was being ruined by the storms climbing over it. i heard the clatter would behind me when some unnamed too heavily against the strip hero. the second strip snapped in a third and there is the sound. somehow the confusion he found himself on his feet and the crowd moving past him. barak u.s.a., in a poor light they switch to a hapless american bystander who bore resemblance to lindbergh. it now turns him on. wriggling and protesting vehemently. a few minutes later officials in the airport were startled by the sound of breaking glass in the
cited the enforcement passed through the window to them. wide-eyed and bedraggled, the new arrival was missing his coat, his outcome his necktie one shoe and his share. if you go into it. he looked rather like a survivor of the mining disaster. he told the abuse officials that his name is harry wheeler and he was a courier from the bronx. he had come to paris to buy rabbit pelts it had been drawn by the same impulse that attracted much of the rest of paris. now he just wanted to go home. [laughter] i'll leave it there. thank you. [applause] let me tell you two stories very quickly. one is a bear story that i promised to tell you. i was telegrapher ago. the bear story is an experience i had many years ago now when i
try to hike the appalachian trail in the company of a slightly challenging companion who i named stephen katz in about. now it starts in the spring of 22 miles. it's really hard. if you read the book, i grew seriously preoccupied with the attacks. the hike in eastern words. i know the eastern united states have attacked very often, but with respect to an individual, it only has to happen once. and so i was genuinely a little bit concerned about the dangers. i discovered after the book came out that lots and lots of people all over north america share these concerns because i got nervous by people giving advice on how to avoid bear attacks are hiking. it is always the result is so high you.
[laughter] there was one letter i got from a lady in new hampshire. she told me the way you are hiking out west is grizzly bears are very dangerous creatures. there's two things i cited you wherever you go. first of all you should wear a belt underclothing because this alerts the bears you won't overtake them by surprise. the second thing they tell you to do everywhere you go with lookout on the ground in front of you for grizzly bear down. the way you can recognize her as a bear scat is that it has little bells on it. [laughter] is just one other story i will tell you because it's much on my mind. when i say i'm happy to be back in america just now i'm happy for all kinds of reasons. one of them is because it's the
world series. i know that as a slightly touchy issue in atlanta but i'm very very excited. whoever gets in they didn't the one experience that cannot be replicated abroad. he just doesn't work over there. so to be here right through the will of the world series has gotten me very excited. i'm hoping i'm able to watch at least some of the playoffs. whoever is in it it will be very exciting to me. the only person extremely influential for me growing up was my father. was also very, very close to my dad heard he was a sportswriter for "the des moines register." although the minor-league cities for 40 years they sent him to the world series. every year he got to go to the world series. it was by far the biggest event of the whole year. he would get a suitcase fair amount the first time to go and he would pack it and be thinking about his wardrobe and it was
obviously very, very important occasion. he would be gone for three weeks. when he would be coming home for me which was not just about baseball, which was tremendously exciting because it was a great era of mickey mantle yogi berra and those guys. he taught us about all these exciting cases. from des moines, iowa, a lot of these places were talking about san francisco or los angeles wherever he has to go. so i get the impression that going to the world series with single most exciting thing anybody could do. i would hate to go to the world series. of all the things i want to do going to the world series was the most important thing to me. i never got to go. i had this wonderful experiences. i sent to the soccer world cup in korea and japan. lots and lots of other important global sporting events which i
was delighted to those who had had a fantastic time. one of thing that eluded me was the world series. if so have been almost 10 years ago, the 2003 season was coming to an end. a good friend of mine a guy named keith blackmer, a sports editor called me up at home. he called me up and said have you been following what's going on in baseball? i said have i ever. what was happening was the 2003 season is coming to a close. the teams with the most momentum of the chicago cubs and the boston red sox. they had a lot of success in the recent years, but in this time 2003 they still hadn't won a world series since 1918 and the cubs bless them still hadn't won one métis no way. svea something like 180 years of collective failure between them. they were the two things likely
to get into the world series. you can imagine it would be the most exciting series because once you are the other would have to break this law drought and the joy of the winning city would be indescribable. sir keith my friend at the london times who understood baseball said they been talking about here at the office and we think of it does happen to be the cubs and red sox in the world series this year, would you cover it for this? we think it would take an american to explain to the british leadership the improbable glory of this particular two teams. would you be going to go? i've been dreaming of this my whole life. i'll go for free. you don't have to pay me. just give me take it in a hotel and i'll take care of the rest of it. in fact i cannot let you change your mind about this. i'm going to record this in ink with you on the other underthrown and will confirm that are never, ever going to
renege on this because you break my heart. do you understand? he said yes absolutely. i came back to the phone with it and open it to the right page and i said i can't believe it, i can't go to the world series this year because it so happens that my daughter is getting married that week. [laughter] he was quiet for a long time and he said look bill, you may daughter -- your daughter may get married again. [laughter] so i didn't get to go to the world series. anyways, the cubs and red sox didn't get into it. he did send me 2004 the red sox did break the curse of the bambino. i was there when they won it was the most joyous events in my whole life outside of childbirth analogy other things. [laughter] and actually it was pretty close to childbirth.
on that note of happiness, i'm happy to go into question if anybody has any. do they have to come out here? [applause] >> thank you. [inaudible] >> i didn't need any interesting scientists. the whole idea when i did the book was i was going to -- that i wasn't going to spend a lot of time with scientists watching him work. that was my initial thought. and so i went out with a few unrealized very quickly that scientists are really very boring when they're working. they are. almost without exception. a few archaeologists and people go into the field and do interesting things, but a
typical scientist sits at a computer screen all day finally tapping keys and that kind of thing doing desk work. i couldn't stand there and just keep asking them questions. whether you're doing? what does that equation name? anyway, it just wouldn't translate into anything interesting. so it really is quite early on that i would have to approach the book in a completely different way. the whole idea was i was always terrible at science in school. i really was. again i thought there could be some level i wish i could engage with science and scientists. i was fascinated to know not just what we know, but how do we know what we know? how do we know how hard it is from the surface of the sun or the continents were 350 million years ago. i think it's amazing scientists can figure those things out. my thinking originally was i was going to look over their shoulders while they figure these things out. when they figured him out it's
not interesting at all. they're just doing accountancy legwork. so what i have to do is read and go and interview scientists when they were working on a khatami what it was they were doing and explain to me why they were interested in the particular fields and what it was pictured them to that particularly usually extremely arcane area. i was very interested in that. what made you decide to spend your whole life looking not just a cluster of stars in a corner of the universe in something like that. they were almost always delighted to have someone be genuinely interested. it was a very happy experience, but he had to approach the book in a completely different way from the way i expected to. >> when you started to hike was it your intent to go the full weight? the reason i ask is my youngest son hiked it and before he went
off, a neighbor gave him the book the walk in the blitz. he said mom look. but he didn't finish. >> that's amazing. >> i seriously intended to finish. we realized pretty early on that we weren't going to make it. [laughter] now i can remember very clearly that this was just way beyond us. the fact is that is the moment it comes to 90% of the people who set off in appalachian trail. 90% of them don't make it. most of them get a little further before they realize what utter failures they are. for several days -- i didn't while on this but for several days i was really quite gloomy and dishonest about this.
i thought, i have to hike it. i promised publishers that i would deliver a book. in interviews i denounced him going to be hike in the appalachian trail. i was publicly committed to doing this. i had a book contract in my back pocket as it were. my personal sense of failure was really really profound, believe me. and yet, i also realized i'm not going to do it. i can't do it. it's not the physical side of it but it's the mental side of it. the idea, can you do this? can you be separated from your family for five runs? can you put up with this endless repetition and good night after night without showers and hot meals and all those kinds of things. it's really hard. it takes a lot. i'm full of admiration for him and anybody who does the appalachian trail, whether they wanted on one stretch for in
section heights. it's an incredible achievement because it so long. you can imagine how 122 miles is until you try to walk 2200 miles [laughter] i've been agonizing over this a few days ago we decided was where he still enjoyed walking. when i required to do the whole thing, but we still enjoy walking. we don't want to quit. we'll do what we want to do. what do the parts we enjoy. if for whatever reason we don't like doing that part if it's boring or we have more fun in this rocky mountains are some big who will go on ahead and move elsewhere. that's all he did we had a fantastic x variants. the point i try to make in the book was said is the greatest thing in the world if you can't walk the appalachian trail, but it's also a good thing to walk as much as you can and as much as you want.