by David Safier
Watch Bill Moyers' May 4 show, an interview with author Luis Alberto Urrea. Just watch it.
Just so you know, I hardly ever watch PBS, and I probably haven't seen 4 hours worth of Bill Moyers' shows in my life. I know I'm the perfect PBS demographic, but, well, their programming usually bores me. I'll get about 5 minutes in, get an itchy remote finger and change the channel.
But this is a nearly transcendent hour of television. Urrea is a rare author who can speak with a political science/sociological understanding of an issue yet bring a fiction and nonfiction author's sensibility to it -- not flashy like some authors, not stumbling like other authors who feel more comfortable with the written than the spoken word. He's conversational and accurate and heartfelt and brilliant.
OK, I'll stop.
The subject is the border. In the webpage blurb, Urrea is described like this: "Son of a Mexican father and Anglo mother, Urrea grew up first in Tijuana and then just across the border in San Diego." Halfway through, the talk turns to TUSD's dismantled Mexican Studies program and the banned/boxed books, his among them. Then it moves on to other topics.
I'm going to be bugging you for the next few days to watch this, something I don't normally do. Watch it. And if the spirit moves you, leave some comments on this post.