Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like

James Baldwin speaks

I had to post this as soon as I finished listening to the great James Baldwin in his 1965 Cambridge Union debate with the irritable William F. Buckley. Watch JB from about 14:10 to 38:00, followed by the standing ovation. He’s mesmerizing. I’m still trying to make my way through Buckley’s response, in which he comes across as creepy and condescending.

The horrifying thing to realize is that not very much has changed in 50 years.

9 comments on “James Baldwin speaks

  1. Deb Rhodes
    February 21, 2017

    Wow, thanks for posting this. I’ve longed been a devoted follower of Baldwin’s writings but I’ve never heard him speak before. As for Buckley–I couldn’t finish watching him, there was just too much condescension.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 21, 2017

      Baldwin absolutely slayed, didn’t he? I think I’ll reread some of his books now …

      Hey, did your copy of Soulmates arrive yet?

      • Deb Rhodes
        February 21, 2017

        I just saw the typo in my comment. That will nag away at me all day!

        As for Soulmates, I haven’t checked the mail yet today. I can’t remember when it’s supposed to arrive. Since it’s raining pretty hard and I have to WALK OUTSIDE to check the mail I will probably wait until tomorrow. Lazy, or prudent of me? I just want to note that in order to go outside and check the mail I’d have to change out of my pjs. Is it so wrong not to want to?

      • Kevin Brennan
        February 21, 2017

        I’d stay inside and in my PJs if I were you. 😉

  2. Woebegone but Hopeful
    February 22, 2017

    Buckley’s embracement of his privileged position made him unable make the leap of imagination to realise Baldwin’s motivation.
    Back then (I was 14 going on 15) and in the subsequent years we hoped things were going to just keep on getting better.
    We must of all suffered from complacency and apathy along the way.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 22, 2017

      That’s one of the shocks of this era, that progress can be lost, society can go backwards. And now we have so many different battles to fight, it’s hard to imagine winning them all.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        February 22, 2017

        It’s a very difficult call. The lines of cause and effect which lead to
        (a) The fragmentation of the US.
        (b) The end of the European ‘Dream’ and return to the squabbling & violent status quo of previous centuries are becoming less unlikely.
        How to stop that slide is a difficult call. It seems no one is reading their histories anymore.

      • Kevin Brennan
        February 22, 2017

        True. And now they’re vandalizing Jewish cemeteries here in the U.S.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        February 22, 2017

        Will the idiots never learn??

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This entry was posted on February 21, 2017 by in Et alia and tagged , , .
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