Naomi Klein: Why do you write?
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, syndicated columnist and author of the New York Times and #1 international bestseller, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. In 2008 it won the Canadian Booksellers Association’s Libris Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year and is longlisted for the inaugural 2009 Warwick Prize for Writing (UK). The six minute companion film, created by Alfonso Cuaron, director of Children of Men, was an Official Selection of the 2007 Venice Biennale and Toronto International Film Festivals and was a viral phenomenon, downloaded over a million times.
Her first book No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies was also an international bestseller, translated into over 28 languages with more than a million copies in print. A collection of her work, Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate was published in 2002.
Naomi Klein writes a regular column for The Nation and The Guardian that is syndicated internationally by The New York Times Syndicate. In 2004, her reporting from Iraq for Harper’s Magazine won the James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism. Also in 2004, she co-produced The Take with director Avi Lewis, a feature documentary about Argentina’s occupied factories. The film was an Official Selection of the Venice Biennale and won the Best Documentary Jury Prize at the American Film Institute’s Film Festival in Los Angeles. She is a former Miliband Fellow at the London School of Economics and holds an honorary Doctor of Civil Laws from the University of King’s College, Nova Scotia.
Naomi Klein: Well first of all I mean mostly what I do is analysis. And if we think about analysis, whether it’s a book or an opinion column, when it works it helps you read the newspaper better, right? I mean it’s not just giving people information. It’s giving people analysis and connecting the dots between a few different pieces of information that creates that sort of “Aha!” click of clarity. And when you read strong analysis, clear analysis, it makes you feel better equipped, right? It’s sort of ammo. And so as an opinion writer, as a columnist, that’s my goal – is giving . . . helping people get more of those clicks of understanding. Because I think that we feel bombarded with information. We are bombarded with information. But we are extremely disoriented. And that what I’m doing now . . . what I’m trying to do now with this book is . . . I feel like we’re still in somewhat of a state of shock from September 11th. And that a state of shock is about a gap that opens up between an event and our analysis of that event. And that’s what shock means. Something happens that’s so big that we lose our collective story. And I think the Bush administration has been really adept at heightening that state of disorientation by telling people everything you thought you knew before September 11th is wrong. We’re rebooting history. We’re starting over, right? And if you think about what most people wanted to do after September 11th is they actually wanted to do the work, to integrate that event into their story. This was an event that seemed to come out of nowhere, but nothing comes out of nowhere. So people wanted to know history. They were hungry for that knowledge that could bridge the gap between event and collective . . . our collective story. So I guess that’s what I see myself doing, is helping that bridging process. Because when we’re in a state of shock we’re very vulnerable to political manipulation. We’re frightened. We regress. We think Rudy Giuliani is our long last daddy. You know, I mean it’s dangerous, and I think good politicians . . . effective politicians, not good politicians . . . Effective politicians understand that they are very powerful in those moments when people are disoriented. So analysis connects the dots, gives us a new story, and orients us. And that’s when we’re better citizens. That’s when we can engage in debates. That’s when we’re harder to manipulate. That’s when we’re smarter, calmer, more focused. So that’s what . . . that’s what all analysis should do. Recorded on: 11/29/07
Klein hopes her analysis will provide some clarity for the over-stimulated citizen.
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