In the 1960’s I took my first sociology & psychology classes at the University of California, Berkeley . Neither were in the classroom, no papers, no exams. Both took place watching the daily protests on the now famous (or infamous – depending on your point of view) steps of Sproul hall. I didn’t march, I didn’t join movements (I was too busy working my way through college and trying not to slide down the wrong side of the grading curve. And I am, by nature, an observer rather than an instigator or follower).
I watched, I listened.
I heard the anger & outrage of the Vietnam protest leaders. After awhile it was hard to tell what they were outraged over. Many, if not most, of the anti-war leaders were leading with the exact same outrage and ferver, what seemed to me, any cause that might come their way.
I first concluded this when Carol Doda – the famous San Francisco topless stripper – was prohibited from speaking on campus. She wasn’t a student and it seemed just great publicity for her and the protesters.
Now “Berkeley” had led the free speech movement and I believed rightly so. But I saw the same people rallying behind Carol Doda with the same intensity of anger and outrage they had about the war. I wondered what might be boiling under their psyches that fueled them. I wondered about the crowds of students who hung on their every incendiary word and rallied behind them for multiple causes – my first lessons in sociology and psychology for which I had no time to research.
I don’t often talk about politics, at least not here. The cover of Rolling Stone with the picture of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has elicited anger and outrage that has me remember my experiences at Berkeley. I now wonder what might be boiling under our collective national psyche that seems to erupt periodically like a volcano with clouds of ash obscuring our visibility.
After reading the article by David Weinberger I also wonder if he stood next to me on the Berkeley campus watching & listening.
Here’s the conclusion of the article Rolling Stone cover: Why we must look
” . . . To counter our natural desire to think that those who attack us so vilely must be totally unlike us, we need not only the words denouncing them, but images that reminds us that they weren’t born as what they became. This juxtaposition makes the mystery manifest: Someone like us became someone who hates us.
We need to explore that mystery not so we can sympathize with a despicable accused murderer but so we understand better how he passed beyond sympathy. The cover of Rolling Stone — words and picture — puts that awful mystery right in front of us.
But we seem to prefer the security of outrage.”
I lead, have led, a secure and rather sheltered life. Perhaps if my life were less secure, less sheltered, I too would be incensed and outraged. I have no answer.
- David Weinberger says he’s not outraged about the Rolling Stone cover
- He asks, why must we prove bombings upset us before we can discuss not minding cover?
- Weinberger: Cover confronts the mystery of someone like us who came to hate us