Original Thinkers Presents: Episode 2, PBS’s Ferguson On Pandemic

Original Thinkers Presents: Episode 2, PBS’s Ferguson On Pandemic

Under ordinary circumstances, the event would heading into its fourth year. This year, however, is anything but. Original Thinkers is a fresh and thoughtful ideas festival regularly scheduled for early October in Telluride. The weekend generally features 10 programs, each built around an individual idea that is explored through a compelling mix of speakers, films, performance, and art. The weekend typically delves into the human condition by focusing on the intersection of ideas and individual stories.

As Original Thinkers founder and ringleader David Holbrooke said last year about the event he founded:

“There are deep and universal truths in our own lives that we know will resonate with anyone and when we find those stories and showcase them, they provides an indelible experience for an audience.”

But that was then. This is a radically changed now. The following is a note from Holbrooke with some thoughtful options, including the opportunity to access the 2nd chapter of his new Original Thinkers Presents here. This conversation on the pandemic features Jane Ferguson, a war correspondent for PBS NewsHour, who memorably spoke at OT 2018 about her work in conflict zones.

Go here for a link to the 1st episode with Future Architect Sharon Chang. Full story here.

Dear OT Community –

It has been incredibly moving to see the Black Lives Matter movement gain a new level of traction across much of this country. Of everything that I saw in this momentous past week, what stuck with me most were two very different reactions to what has been roiling America.

The first was a chilling (and deeply controversial) op-ed in the New York Times by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark) titled “Send in the Troops.” Cotton wanted to see U.S. troops deployed in cities to quell the protests and “show no quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters and looters.” Cotton is a veteran and knows fully well that “no quarter” means that his enemies should be killed en masse rather than arrested. Given that he will certainly be running for President in 2024, Cotton’s misbegotten screed is worth examining closely as you can see his deep disapproval for not only the protests, but for an America working towards real equality.

Countering Cotton’s fascistic argument was the brilliant and beautiful blossoming of massive, peaceful protests in America and around the world. Paris, Berlin, Brazil, Syria and many other countries had significant demonstrations all in support of the burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement in the States as well as where they live and march.

These two deeply contrasting visions for this country are played out in its own way in the HBO series “Plot Against America,” which is based on the essential novel by Philip Roth. My family and I are in the midst of the show’s run and the tension around what an America led by anti-semite Charles Lindbergh might feel like is all too timely.

The work of hateful autocrats is all too familiar to Jane Ferguson, the war correspondent for PBS NewsHour who spoke so memorably at OT 2018 about her work in conflict zones. She joined me virtually for a conversation about the COVID situation from her home in Beirut, and we discussed what that means for places where war is all too endless. The interview was recorded in mid-April but Jane’s perspective remains invaluable today.

Thanks for checking it out.

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