Friday, November 20, 2009

Susan Jacoby: an American Freethinker

PZ Myers recently blogging about the under-representation of women and minorities in the freethinking realm has asked pharyngulites everywhere to brainstorm about who we want to hear and hold up as freethinking representatives historically given short shrift. PZ himself suggested Susan Jacoby to whom I have dedicated this post. I had not seen or heard about her until this and I find her both fascinating and infectiously energetic. Though I do not like the idea of categorizing people in the first place, as I think we should all be seen on an equal plane of cooperation, my recommendations for freethinkers in this brainstorm include, Octavia Butler, Margaret Attwood (happy belated birthday to her), Doris Kearns Goodwin, and my own grandmother. Again and again I have come back to their writings and speeches to be invigorated by their energy. Who do you consider an inspirational freethinker?

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ray said...

I have read and thoroughly enjoyed two of Jacoby's books: "Freethinkers" and "The Age of American Unreason". She's brilliant and funny, and her writing style is very accessible.

Ivor Tymchak said...

The phrase, 'American freethinker' I find strangely comical as the more I discover about the American psyche, the more imprisoned it seems.

However, I am a freethinker and therefore I generally do not deal in generalities when it comes to people.

Having said that, we are, as a species, easily programmed when it comes to culture; notice our fondness for lists. You have asked for a list of influential freethinkers. Surely, freethinkers, by definition, ignore such lists?