Individuals I Might Like to Converse With
(Some, of course, would require a time machine to go visit.)
Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin. Not
many people remember who the second man to step out on the Moon was.
The only individual to reside in the White House
during my lifetime whom I can respect. This conversation would transcend
words. Perhaps I would bring a gift of catnip.
Madam Curie. It
would be good to talk to one of the first women scientists. I'd politely suggest
that she treat the radioactivity she helped discover with kid gloves, as it were.
(She died young, of cancer.)
Whoopi Goldberg. I
don't follow the foibles of actors or actresses.
I can't even recognize 98 percent of 'em from one movie to the next. I don't
want to -- it interferes with getting involved in the characters as delineated
on the screen. But I don't mind her being an exception. I imagine there might be
an interesting conversation, or at least she'd lead us off into a
whole lot of fun.
Mickey Hart. He was
the drummer for the Grateful Dead, a band I
never particularly cared about one way or the other. But it is as his work
traveling around, spotlighting unknown drummers from a hundred traditions,
throwing himself into the depths and heights of drumming, for which I'd be
fascinated to meet the man. By the accounts I've heard he's remained
unassuming and hasn't let the ego-fame get to him, as happens all too often
in the "pop" culture.
Tony Hillerman. The
mystery writer whose novels are set on the Hopi
and Navaho reservations. He understands the cultures he writes about, and
does not try to pretend to be Native American. He seems to be
held in high respect by the Navaho and Hopi.
Molly Ivins. A
political columnist of some depth and rare good
humor are not obtained by being nasty. She'll poke fun, but she'll leave folks
their dignity. This, of course, is why most people haven't heard of her.
(Politically, I guess, she's "liberal", whatever the hell that two-second
sound-bite means these days. Perhaps it means she doesn't need to get
nasty to make her points...)
Native American environmental activist, one who
works organically with tradition (and traditions, seeing the plurality of
how people who are in tune with the land can manage such attunement). She
won't be bought off or silenced, and she appears to listen, really Listen,
and not just follow any party line. (She's also run as the vice presidential
candidate for the Green Party, not to win but to help highlight attention to
Neal Stephenson. Author
of Snow Crash, Diamond Age, and other fast-paced books of
Robert Shea. Author
of Shike, All Things Are Lights,
co-author of Illuminatus!. Actually, we have met and conversed,
but he's deceased now, alas, and the conversations have been cut short.
He was one of the few Libertarians I've met who actually put an organic
heart into concern for other people. I miss him.
Patti Smith. In
her heyday she was quite a potent rocker, going places
that the rest of the music scene took another ten years to catch up to.
Many of her song lyrics point to a woman of brash and off-beat interests.
Clifford Stoll. Yup,
he goes around criticizing the Internet. Essentially,
though, he's saying that it's not the end all and be all, and while it need
not go away, many folks out here need to go and get a life with real people
and not the images of people they think they see here. But, the point is,
he sees the complexities of this issue, which leads me to suspect he'd see
the complexities and grays within a lot of other issues as well. (I have a
strong distaste for "either/or-isms", and life simply isn't long enough for
me to desire to put up with their proponents for any stretch of time.)
Mark Twain. Yes, he
was a product of his times, but then again,
who isn't?? When he wanted to look at the world with a cynical, jaundiced
eye, he could do so quite well and quite wittily. Besides, he had horrendous
house decorating sense, which is fine by me.
Varro E. Tyler.
Author of The Honest Herbal
and Herbs of Choice, he makes a point of treating the study of
herbs in a scientific manner. No rumors of wonder, no statements that
herbs don't contain chemicals -- right there this would make for a fascinating
discussion with someone who sounds as if he has some clues as to what he is
- There's Mahatma Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, and Martin Luther
King Jr., all fascinating folks who touch/ed the spirit of the world. They know
well that life is not all facts and figures. But they've gone so far that I
don't know what all I'd be able to say to them.
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Last Updated: December 24th, 1996