Says Deavere-Smith, go West young man, despair, come back hopeful.
February 7, 2008 4:37 AM   Subscribe

I remember seeing about 2 years ago a clip where Anna Deavere Smith was doing a piece on Cornel West. Channeling him saying that he uses the "language of despair" because you must despair before you can hope. Something like that. It was quite moving...and I've thought about it many times in the interim.

I can't remember the exact quote or where I heard it from. Any ideas?

And also...I've loved everything I've seen her do but not sure where to go next to dig in deeper. Any suggestions? I watched her Ted Lecture, it was amazing.

posted by sully75 to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here you are.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:06 AM on February 7, 2008

You mean the Google search with no results?
posted by Happy Dave at 6:12 AM on February 7, 2008

Here's the transcript, which has the quote you want in it. And here's the quote:
I use the language of decline, decay, and despair rather than doom, gloom and no possibility because I think any talk about despair is not where you end but where you start. And then the courage and sacrifice come in. But at the level of hope, not optimism. Optimism and hope are different. Optimism tends to be biased on the notion that there is enough evidence out there that allow us to think that things are going to be better. Much more rational, deeply secular. Whereas hope looks at the evidence and says 'it doesn't look good at all.' Says 'it doesn't look good at all.' Says 'we going to make a leap of faith, we going beyond the evidence that kept to create new possibilities based on visions that become contagious to allow us to engage in heroic actions always against the odds, no guarantees whatsoever.' That's hope. That's hope.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:22 AM on February 7, 2008

Obviously we're getting different google results, Happy Dave--there's no reason to be a dick.

The result should link to page 554 of the Cornel West reader in Google books. I don't believe these links can be passed around, so here's a screenshot.
posted by null terminated at 12:24 PM on February 7, 2008

Thanks everyone...that's awesome.
posted by sully75 at 1:16 PM on February 7, 2008

Apologies, didn't mean to sound like a dick - can't hear tone of voice in text, I was pointing out that the link didn't work.

Anyhoo, question answered.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:09 PM on February 7, 2008

Sorry, I misread that. Anyways, your link was better :-)
posted by null terminated at 5:04 PM on February 7, 2008

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