EM Forster speaks on writing novels, BBC 1958
EM Forster is one of my favorite authors. His motto, expressed first in the book Howard's End and later used as the epitaph on his headstone, was "Only connect". What a beautifully simple, yet profound concept. In Howard's End, Forster explores the impermeability of the class system: the self-centered oligarchal Wilcox family vs. the free-spirited intellectual but naive Schlegels vs. the aspiring lower class Leonard Bast and his wife. The Wilcoxes will do anything to keep the status quo, even as it destroys those who have little to begin with. The Schlegels mean well and try to bridge the distance between the classes, but ultimately are ineffectual and left with dealing with the ramifications of their good intentions. And poor Mr. Bast, despite being recognized as a man of integrity and having promise by his social betters, pays the ultimate price for daring to want to do better in his life. Forster bares the hypocrisy of the social and economic elite living lives of dishonor, deceit and with little empathy while ignoring the plight of those struggling, even as they actively make their struggle harder.
Those themes of Edwardian England's class struggles still resonate in Obama's America of the 21st century. And the answer is the same: only connect. Chinless McConnell is on a bunch of shows today. How much different would his politics be if he attempted to connect outside his class, his race, his gender, his party, his own special interests? Would Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson still be so intent on cutting Social Security if they connected with the seniors it would seriously impact?
All I ask is that we only connect; that we try to understand the world from points of view not our own, that we try to base our decisions and choices with the knowledge of how it impacts others. Only connect.
ABC's "This Week" -- Sens. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D.; Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Tom Cotton, R-Ark. Roundtable: ABC News' George Will; Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren; PBS' "Washington Week" moderator and managing editor Gwen Ifill; University of California, Berkeley professor and former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich; and ABC's Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl.
NBC's "Meet the Press" -- McConnell; Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, leaders of President Barack Obama's now-defunct deficit commission. Roundtable: Freshman Senator from Maine Angus King (I-ME), former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA), Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), former head of HP and Vice Chair of the NRSC Carly Fiorina, and Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne.
CBS' "Face the Nation" -- McConnell; Reps. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Incoming Senators Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn; former Rep. Rick Nolan, D-Minn., and Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., plus Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Penn. Economics panel: The New York Times' David Sanger and TIME's Rana Foroohar.
MSNBC's "UP with Chris Hayes" -- Steve Ellis, Vice President of Taxpayers for Common Sense, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Fran O’Connor, Sayreville, NJ resident, Ben Jealous, NAACP President and CEO, Esther Armah, Host of “Wake Up Call” on WBAI-FM, Tio Hardiman, Director of Ceasefire Illinois.
MSNBC's "Melissa Harris-Perry" -- Karen Finney, MSNBC political analyst, columnist for The Hill and former DNC Communications Chair, John Rowley, Democratic strategist, media consultant and President of Fletcher, Rowley Media, Mayor Kasim Reed (D-Atlanta), Kevin Drum, Political blogger for Mother Jones, Howard Dean, fmr. Governor of Vermont (D), Jennifer Sacheck, Associate Professor of Nutrition at Tufts University.
CNN's "State of the Union" -- Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C. Freshman Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Congressman Richard Hudson (R-NC); Roundtable: Neera Tanden from the Center for American Progress, right-leaning economist Stephen Moore, CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash, and Jackie Calmes of the New York Times.
CNN's "Fareed Zakaria GPS" -- Anne-Marie Slaughter, Richard Haas and Ian Bremmer; commentators Anatole Kaletsky and Lionel Barber and London School Economics Professor Fawaz Gerges,
CNN's "Reliable Sources" -- CNN’s Dana Bash and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times; Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner and Ana Marie Cox of The Guardian; former Al Jazeera English anchor Dave Marash; scholars Thomas Mann of the Brookings Institute and Norman Ornstein of American Enterprise Institute.
"Fox News Sunday" -- Reps. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and Jim Jordan, R-Ohio; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Panel: Brit Hume, Fox News Senior Political Analyst, Nina Easton, FORTUNE's Washington columnist & senior editor, Fox News Contributor, Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard/Fox News Contributor, Charles Lane, Editorial Writer for The Washington Post.
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