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Monday, May 28, 2018

Books - Mankind's Greatest Machine

“Read. The book is still the greatest manmade machine of all – not the car, not the TV, not the computer or the smartphone...” – Ken Burns

Born in 1953, Burns is the creator of some of our most resounding and haunting film series on such topics like The Civil War, World War II and The Vietnam War.  He also is winner of The Steinbeck Prize for his life’s work.   On this Memorial Day, I think it’s fitting to share some of Burns’ words, taken from a Commencement Speech given at Washington University in 2015.  What he said then, including the quote above, resonates even more today.

“Do not allow our social media to segregate us into ever smaller tribes and clans, fiercely and sometimes appropriately loyal to our group, but each also capable of metastasizing into profound distrust of the other,” he said.

“Convince your government that the real threat, as Lincoln knew, comes from within. Governments always forget that, too. Do not let your government outsource honesty, transparency or candor. Do not let your government outsource democracy.” 
              “Insist that we support science and the arts, especially the arts. They have nothing to do with the actual defense of the country – they just make the country worth defending.”

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