In 1968, CBS Reports showed a documentary called “Hunger in America.” The film illustrated the face of late ’60s poverty: uneducated, unemployed men and women raising skinny-legged kids in run-down shacks. Senior citizens and children were the worst affected. One in 20 Americans at the time struggled with hunger, a figure just above the unemployment rate.
“Food transforms the world’s landscapes,” said Dennis Dimick, executive environmental editor at National Geographic. “Forty percent of the land area of the Earth has been transformed for agriculture.” Those transformations and the many faces behind it were vibrantly presented to the Amphitheater audience on Monday as Dimick, joined by National Geographic photographer Jim Richardson, showed photographs from their 25-year collaboration exploring the world’s agricultural systems.
“The arts, in the broadest sense, help us, I think, to make sense of any society,” Paul Muldoon said. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Irish poet was in conversation with author Roger Rosenblatt Friday in the Amphitheater, and the two explored Ireland’s rich history of producing prominent writers — especially poets.
In Jules Feiffer’s 1977 comic strip collection, Hold Me!, a character called the Dancing Man says, “The one thing I should have been I’m not: Fred Astaire. But I don’t have the talent or discipline to be Fred Astaire. So I do the next best thing. I tap dance my way through life.”
Much of Roger Rosenblatt and Elizabeth Strout’s Wednesday morning lecture conversation in the Amphitheater centered around being true to a setting when writing fiction.
Tuesday’s morning lecture conversation saw authors Roger Rosenblatt and Margaret Atwood wax poetic about cat videos on the Internet. Atwood mentioned a “pretty adorable” video of a porcupine that she had seen.
Rosenblatt, the author of this week’s Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle selection, The Boy Detective: A New York Childhood, has been speaking at Chautauqua since 1985. This week is the fourth installment of the “Roger Rosenblatt and Friends” series.
A projection of Michelangelo’s David stared down at the Amphitheater audience from behind Susan Dentzer as she spoke at Friday’s morning lecture. But this wasn’t quite the perfectly proportioned model of a man that has wowed countless numbers of tourists in Italy. An apparently unhealthy dose of Photoshop had added a massive gut and sagging pectorals to the famed piece of art.
“Somebody got the bright idea to send him off to a two-month trip in the United States,” Dentzer joked. “He’s just not the svelte young Florentine he used to be — he’s an American.”
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary lists the first definition of “patient” as “bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint.” The thesaurus provides some of the expected synonyms: “tolerant” and “stoic.” But then some “related words” take a slightly darker turn — “subservient,” “conformist” and, taking the sentiment to its bleakest extreme, “slavish.”
While there are many times patience is, as they say, a virtue, Dr. Christine K. Cassel said people seeking medical care don’t like calling themselves “patients.” It makes them feel powerless. And that’s a dynamic between consumers and health care providers that Cassel wants to help change; she believes people seeking health care need to have a more balanced doctor-patient relationship than has historically been the case.
Dr. Richard Gilfillan thinks that basically every health professional has walked a career path paved with good intentions. No one who has stepped up to the podium this week in the Amphitheater, the Hall of Philosophy or anywhere else on the grounds hates the idea of making people healthy.
“No one comes here and says they want to provide fragmented health care at an unreasonable cost,” he said.