Andrew Sean Greer: On Political Activism
Andrew Sean Greer is an American novelist and short-story writer. The New York Times called his 2008 novel The Story of a Marriage “lyrical” and “inspired.” His first novel, 2001’s The Path of Minor Planets, was well received, and his second, 2004’s The Confessions of Max Tivoli, earned him comparisons to Proust and Nabokov from critic John Updike. His stories have appeared in Esquire, The Paris Review, The New Yorker, and other national publications. Born in Washington, D.C., Greer received his bachelor’s degree from Brown University and his master’s degree from the University of Montana. He currently resides in San Francisco. Greer was so well received as an undergrad that his classmates elected him the commencement speaker, for his own graduation.
Andrew Sean Greer: I don’t think I’m a gay activist. I used to be. I used to be, like, Act Up back in the day, you know, lying down on the sidewalk and getting chalk drawn around me, but I think I got a little more general about it when the Bush administration came in. I saw that there were much bigger rights
being trampled than just mine particularly. There were general civil rights and that was what I really focused on.
Question: Who are you supporting for president?
Andrew Sean Greer: Barack Obama. You know, I was an Edwards guy at first because he talked about poverty, which I think is really the only issue to be talking about, but once he dropped out I was definitely Obama. I saw all my friends so inspired by him and I sort of saw there was a feeling like there could be a move forward after feeling for so long that if we could just stop it, the Bush administration, that would be enough. If we could just stop it, I would be fine. But suddenly the idea that someone who actually said things that I thought, like his speech on race was exactly how I feel. There could be a politician who would say that out loud, I never dreamed I could support that because I don’t have a fantasy about politicians. I kind of think well, they’ll get close enough. You know, they won’t ever really do exactly what I want, but on this I always thought I lived in a bubble, but most of America seems to believe it too and that’s so optimistic and I have to follow the optimism.
His writing is universal, and so are his politics.
When adults are challenged to behave like adults, by a child, they can go in one of two directions.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When it comes to scientific theory, (or your personal life) be sure to question everything.
- The theories we build to navigate the world, both scientifically and in our personal lives, all contain assumptions. They're a critical part of scientific theory.
- Cognitive psychologist Donald Hoffman urges us to always question those assumptions. In this way, by challenging ourselves, we come to a deeper understanding of the task at hand.
- Historically, humans have come to some of our greatest discoveries by simply questioning assumed information.