Taylor Stoehr

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.

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.

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.

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.

Decent Poverty Report: Necessities

Today was a momentous day for our family, and not just because we celebrated the solstice. We got a home phone, a landline, after going cellphone-only for nearly three years. We did it mostly for our daughter, largely because of concerns about radiation but also because we want her to know the experience of having a "real" phone that's as much hers as ours, dialing one, answering one, using the answering machine, knowing people's numbers.

Election Special: Better a Frenemy

Q: What's spookier than Halloween?

A: Election day.

For partisans of peace and justice, this has been the most depressing election season in recent memory: Harvey Wasserman called it "a horrendous death spasm for a dying empire. The cancerous flood of corporate money pouring through the process has taken the corruption of what's left of our democratic process to new post-imperial depths." I seethe at the bitter irony that this metastasizing money meltdown resulted from something called Citizens United.