growing up absurd

Eat the Fire: Paul Goodman is 100

One hundred years ago Friday—September 9, 1911—a boy was born in upper Manhattan, the “Sugar Hill” area between Washington Heights and Harlem, into a family freshly torn apart.

The Society I Live In Is Mine

Paul Goodman was a public figure who did not shrink from taking action in support of his beliefs. In the biopic PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE you'll see him alongside draft resisters; speaking out at peace rallies; going before the Board of Ed with radical reform proposals for New York City schools; advocating the banning of cars from Manhattan; and telling elite defense contractors they're the world's most dangerous men. Goodman's formal career in politics advanced no further than a school board position on Manhattan's west side.

Good Sixties/Bad Sixties? (part 1)

Toward the end of PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE comes a poignant and revealing clip from a Canadian television program circa 1969. Goodman, whose writings made him closely identified with the youth movement of the sixties, is having a dialogue with a group of young people who don't seem to understand or sympathize with him much at all. One accuses him of being alienated and confused.

Where do the children play?

There's a moment midway through PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE that really struck home for me. We see a series of photographs of him as a teenager, as a young man, with a striking, unusually beaming grin.

A Man in Full

What a breathtaking range of 20th-century experience is embodied in the life and writing of Paul Goodman. The upcoming biopic PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE provides a splendid introduction to Goodman for we 21st-century folk who can learn so much from his example. The film admirably captures the astonishing diversity of fields on which he had an impact—poetry, psychology, politics, planning, education, and the theory and practice of queer sexuality.

excitement and growth, absurd

I've written several posts recently about the psychological theory that Paul Goodman spelled out in his contribution to the 1951 book Gestalt Therapy: Excitement and Growth in the Human Personality. In my view, it is an admirable and thought-provoking attempt to synthesize the essential insights of Freud and Wilhelm Reich with the assumptions of philosophical pragmatism and express all that in un-jargony language applicable to empirical experience.

dangerous men

The documentary biopic can be a very politically potent medium. The 1984 film The Times of Harvey Milk, for example, did as much as any of that decade's films or books to advance mainstream understanding and sympathy for the gay liberation movement.

The Job Market

We are now right smack in the middle of summer, which means that the graduating class of 2010 is still battling with one of the worst job markets in decades.  This generation, the  so-called “millenials”, 18-29, has an unemployment rate of nearly 14%, nearly as bad as the same group during the Great Depression.  In his Growing Up Absurd (1961), Paul Goodman scrutinizes the American economy for not providing youth with suitable employment.  He writes, “Economically and vocationally, a very large population of the young people are in a plight more drastic than anything so far m

Roger Ebert is a fellow Paul Goodman fan

Roger Ebert, acclaimed film critic of “Siskel-Ebert/Ebert-Roeper” fame, considers Paul Goodman’s seminal text, Growing Up Absurd, as one of the books that’s changed his life.

Hopefully, Ebert will be as moved by the film as he was by the man.