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February 27, 2006

Octavia Butler, 1947-2006

Whoa.. seems like we're losing all the voices we can least afford to lose, lately.

A couple of friends have passed along their interviews with her:

  • Blackplanet: Interview by DM Lockhart
  • Democracy Now: Octavia Butler on Race, Global Warming and Religion (transcript and audio)

    AMY GOODMAN: Octavia Butler, could you read a little from Parable of the Talents.

    OCTAVIA BUTLER: I'm going to read a verse or two. And keep in mind these were written early in the 1990s. But I think they apply forever, actually. This first one, I have a character in the books who is, well, someone who is taking the country fascist and who manages to get elected President and, who oddly enough, comes from Texas. And here is one of the things that my character is inspired to write about, this sort of situation. She says:

    "Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought. To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears. To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool. To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen. To be led by a liar is to ask to be lied to. To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery."

    And there's one other that I thought I should read, because I see it happening so much. I got the idea for it when I heard someone answer a political question with a political slogan. And he didn't seem to realize that he was quoting somebody. He seemed to have thought that he had a creative thought there. And I wrote this verse:

    "Beware, all too often we say what we hear others say. We think what we are told that we think. We see what we are permitted to see. Worse, we see what we are told that we see. Repetition and pride are the keys to this. To hear and to see even an obvious lie again and again and again, maybe to say it almost by reflex, and then to defend it because we have said it, and at last to embrace it because we've defended it."

    Posted by jsmooth995 at February 27, 2006 2:02 PM

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