Posted on Wednesday, August 24th, 2011 by Roger Smith
Paul Goodman died in 1972, after roughly a dozen years as a widely-read and celebrated author. For this reason, he is largely remembered as a sixties figure, even though much of his important writing was published in the forties and fifties. Goodman's salad days as a public intellectual came in the early part of the sixties. Goodman became one of those figures, like Michael Harrington, C. Wright Mills, Rachel Carson, and Martin Luther King Jr., who at this pivotal moment in U.S. history transmitted into the culture ideas that helped bring about dramatic change.
Posted on Friday, June 17th, 2011 by Roger Smith
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.
Posted on Friday, May 27th, 2011 by Roger Smith
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.
Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011 by Roger Smith
One of the virtues of the documentary PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE is that it offers an answer to the question, how do you make a movie about an intellectual that isn't boring? Or even better, one that's neither boring nor shallow?
Posted on Saturday, December 18th, 2010 by Roger Smith
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.
Posted on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 by Roger Smith
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