1960s

Good Sixties/Bad Sixties? (part 2)

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.

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.

Format

When you see the documentary biopic PAUL GOODMAN CHANGED MY LIFE, you can expect to learn a good amount about Paul Goodman and absorb a variety of impressions of his life. That's what you'd expect from any documentary biopic. The format of the genre imposes certain norms: an ample selection of snippets of vintage film footage and interviews, edited with adherence to standard narrative and cinema conventions, designed to hold your attention for a reasonable running time, entertain you, and provoke at least a little thought and/or feeling.

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.

They’re Unteachable, Thank God

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?

Decent Poverty Report: The Guaranteed Income

Well, folks, here comes the austerity, with asperity. Will the rich, who have gained so disproportionately over the past two decades, shoulder their share of the sacrifice? December's tax debate gave us the answer to that one. How about the military?

state of union, state of world

A lot of news has been happening lately, from Tunisia to Tucson. For those of us whose heartstrings vibrate merrily at the thought of revolution, it's pleasant to watch the Tunisian fever turning into a prairie fire across North Africa. Is Hosni hosed? Are they diggin' it across the Arabian peninsula and sayin' "Ye, men?" Are we digging the Palestine Papers, an autopsy on the corpse of the so-called peace process? Are we digging in our heels?

Are we enjoying the so-called resurgence of our great black-and-white changey-hope of a president?

Decent Poverty Report: Poverty and Misery

In 1964, Lyndon Johnson launched his War on Poverty, a phrase attributed specifically to the 1964 Economic Opportunity Act and more broadly to his administration's efforts to expand the social safety net and improve education, housing, job training, and health care. The writer and social gadfly Paul Goodman was at the height of his popularity in 1964.

when I'm gone

The year 2011—a half century from the innocence of the early 1960s—will mark the release of the documentary film Paul Goodman Changed My Life, a movie whose project is to revive the memory of, and introduce to a new generation, a nearly forgotten sixties figure who profoundly influenced that decade's countercultural and political awakening.

The doc market's a little crowded just now. Another biopic with the same mission just had its New York opening.

Decent Poverty Report: Bust and Boom

This reporter's parents were born in the early 1930s. Their worldview was formed by their Depression-era childhood, by World War II, and by the postwar era in which they grew to adulthood. They had the good fortune, and the talent, to follow in their own lives the trajectory of the American economy's greatest bust-to-boom. But their values remained Depression values, so they were always more grounded than giddy as they ascended toward material success. An aphorism my father taught me expresses what I mean concisely: "Once you're poor, you're never rich."

This reporter was born in 1967.