Wednesday, November 23, 2011


 Here's Why: Not long ago I wrote in this blog that historian Douglas Brinkley of Rice University was one of my favorites. Education counts. Scholars like Dr. Brinkley have dedicated their lives to making this world and the natural environment we enjoy, and ought to treasure, a better place by educating the rest of us of the desperate need to preserve our natural patrimony. Before it's too late.

Douglas Brinkley's credits are impressive, covering the broad sweep of American history, from the Louisiana Purchase to the present day, through the Cold War and a history of the Ford Motor Company, to Hurricane Katrina and points inbetween. Awesome. Incredibly awesome. But my favorite of Brinkley's credits, establishing his bona fides as a Georgian-born historian who totally ROCKS are these:
Brinkley is the literary executor for his late friend, the journalist Hunter S. Thompson. He is the editor of a three-volume collection of Thompson's letters:
  • Volume 1: The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967. Published April 7, 1998.
  • Volume 2: Fear And Loathing In America: The Brutal Odyssey of an Outlaw Journalist. Published December 13, 2000. 
  • Volume 3: The Mutineer: Rants, Ravings, and Missives from the Mountaintop, 1977-2005. Scheduled for 2012.
        Today at a Congressional hearing Professor Brinkley became the embodiment of enlightenment pushing back against the destructive blight of ignorance and wanton corporate greed, my own personal interpretation of Dylan Thomas's "do not go gentle into that good night ... Rage, rage against the dying of the light." The accelerating totality of tragic environmental news, of nature critically wounded by our own hand, renders any good news at all, however small, of someone standing up for our environment, against drilling in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge, standing up for what's right — a cause for celebration.

        When Rep. Don Young, a right wing anti-environment crackpot from Alaska, mistakenly referred to Dr. Brinkley as "Mr. Rice" and called his pro-wildlife testimony "garbage," Dr. Brinkley responded in kind: "It's Dr. Brinkley. Rice is a university. I know you went to Yuba College and couldn't graduate." Dr. Brinkley stood his ground and said what he had come to say, as Rep. Young slunk back to the rock he'd crawled out from.

        In the spirit of Bobby Kennedy's "tiny ripple of hope," well done, sir. Well done.

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