Chris Hedges has inspired me for over two decades with his brilliant writing and reporting. He is fierce in his truth. Chris brings a profound perspective to the root causes of what ails us as a nation and is unflinching in his prose. He offers practical and essential solutions to a nation lost in its own shadows. I could not put his new book, America, A Farewell Tour, down. This exchange did not disappoint, as it was an honor to finally sit down with one of my journalistic heroes.
Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries. He spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, including 15 years at The New York Times as a foreign correspondent and bureau chief. Hedges left the Times shortly after they issued him a formal reprimand for publicly denouncing the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Hedges channels his righteous outrage towards social injustice and the atrocities of war through thoughtful and provocative writing which has won him significant acclaim as a journalist. He was among a team of New York Times reporters awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. That same year, he received the Amnesty International Global Award for Human Rights in Journalism. The Los Angeles Press Club, which describes Hedges as “Champion of the 99 % — mortal enemy of the 1%,” named him Online Journalist of the Year in 2009 and 2011, recognizing his column in Truthdig.
Hedges has written 12 books, including best-sellers American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America, Death of the Liberal Class, and War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His most recent book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, a collaboration with comics artist and journalist Joe Sacco, is a brutally honest account of their travels through America’s “sacrifice zones” — areas of the country that have suffered and decayed as a result of exploitation in the name of profit and corporate power.
Hedges is currently a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, and has taught at Columbia University, New York University, and Princeton University. He received his B.A. in English Literature from Colgate University and a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard University. Hedges was also awarded an honorary doctorate from Starr King School for the Ministry in Berkeley, California.
nice work channeling Grace Lee Boggs with this interview.
Chris, just saw you speak and thought of this piece…
Therefore Think Him as a Serpent’s Egg
A wayward man’s
Less trouble than a happy stranger
You see, it’s always best to know
When you might be in danger
You can spot a thug
With just a glance and not much more
But a smilin’ man
Can get a foot inside the door
At least a swastika
Tattoo reveals an honest face
You can turn and fight
Or join a crowd in a clean well-lighted place
You know to find
A witness for all dangerous company
But the shadiest appears unarmed
Till you’re lookin’ up his sleeve
And when they come
They won’t be menacing
They’ll be wrapped inside the flag
And kissing babies in the street
They’ll bare the cross
And close one eye in prayer
But the eye that is left open
Is the one we must beware
A fascist knows
To burn a flag deceptively
Sleight of hand and scapegoats
Give up your
Hard-won freedoms and he’ll keep you safe
From the danger
That his plans have put in place
Why is it that
We never learn our lesson, son?
The shyster and
The pimp know that the game is always won
When the desperate imagine
That relief’s around the bend
If only we
Will give into the stranger as a friend
And when they come
We’ll lift a voice to sing
For the promise and the privilege
We believe they bring
They’ll lead the choir
Until the music ends
When the silence will remind us that–
We’ve been fooled again
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