Chris Hedges in Edmonton

One could be forgiven for listening to Chris Hedges in Edmonton last night and coming away with an ill feeling for the future of the world; even worse is that it’s not about to get better any time soon.

If you’re not familiar with Chris Hedges, he’s a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writer, living in the US. He’s been a foreign correspondent for a number of major media organizations, including the New York Times. He’s also an activist and major pain in the ass to corrupt, power hungry politicians and businesspeople, particularly through his association with the Occupy movement.

But the purpose of this is not to write his bio. You can find all that online. Hedges has great experience as a reporter and he’s seen corruption and war around the world.

I hadn’t been familiar with Hedges until I became aware of him as a result of the Occupy movement. I haven’t read his books and I’m not sure if I’ve ever read any of the articles he’d written as a reporter.

chris-hedges-edmontonWhat I have done is to watch a variety of interviews with him. I have been impressed both by what he has to say and also how he says it. He certainly seems to be unflappable, and he’s remarkably consistent in his interviews. I wouldn’t say I agree with everything he says, but I’ve found it interesting how we’ve got fairly similar views on what is happening with government and business around the world. I will say that he has certainly done a lot more research than I have though!

In his speech in Edmonton he covers a variety of items such as Barack Obama and the erosion of civil rights, his lawsuit against Obama and the NDAA and he also does a reading from his latest book Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. He covers a lot of ground in the video I took of his speech, and it is worth watching the entire video.

While I was quite impressed with his speech, I was less impressed by the questions afterwards. It seemed that there were people there who thought it was time to do a public service announcement or to expound on their point of view. No, it’s time to ask a question. I get that sometimes questions need a bit of context, but I wish people would get to the point.

Nobody cares about your point of view, whether we might agree with it or not. People were there to listen to the speaker and get his point of view. They didn’t impress anyone and many in the audience were upset with the speakers, as you may hear on the video. Unfortunately those audience statements were little better than the inane comments you find so often on YouTube.

I’m not going to blame the organizers for the disrupted Q & A. If I were to host an event such as this I might consider calling on the audience before the event started to submit questions, and then choose the intelligent ones. Or, if I were the one holding the mike I would tell them to get to the point or take the mike away.

I’d like to hear your thoughts about the video.

(I posted photos of Chris Hedges in Edmonton on Flickr.)

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Alain Saffel

If I were to picture my ideal life, I’d be sitting in some far off land, sipping a coffee in a café, my backpack at my side, camera around my neck, motorcycle at the curb, pondering my next stop or maybe madly typing away on my laptop about my latest adventure.

4 thoughts on “Chris Hedges in Edmonton”

  1. I’ve been a huge fan of Hedges for the past three years or so, and have read many of his books.
    Unfortunately, the sound quality on your video was very difficult to hear, so I am assuming that he is speaking about his ongoing concerns regarding, unregulated capitalism, the surveillance state and the ongoing global warming catastrophe. Michael Moore has called him the ’21st century Noam Chomsky”
    and other new left intellectuals as’ a prophet’ , (which Hedges detests). I fear that what he says is essentially true and gets me off my ass to connect with others who think as I do.
    Cheers
    Neil

    1. Hi Neil, thanks for stopping by. I apologize for the sound quality. I’ve been seriously considering getting a shotgun mic. Looks like I should do it sooner rather than later!

      I don’t really know what others say about him, but a lot of what he says makes sense. I don’t care what part of the political spectrum anyone is on, if we value our civil rights we should all be concerned about the issues he raises.

  2. Hi Alain, speaking as one of the organizers, yes — next time we will ask audience members to submit questions on cue cards in advance of the Q&A. :)

    1. Hi Richard, thanks for bringing Chris in to speak. Judging by the turnout, I’d have to say I’m not the only one who was happy to see him.

      As for the comments, I think submitting them is the best way to avoid those who’d rather give a speech than ask a question. Maybe you could do an event on a similar topic with a panel and it could all be Q&A! :)

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