Boston Is Zinn City

Thursday’s Boston Globe front-paged its obituary of Boston University historian and political activist Howard Zinn, and it was surprising that for such a controversial figure there was no, well, controversy in the piece.

As the Globe turns, apparently, no one has a bad word to say about Zinn, a legendarily divisive figure.

Call it a glowbituary.

The Boston Herald obit is similarly air-kissy, as is – no surprise – the New York Times sendoff.

But – big surprise – NPR’s All Things Considered actually tried to produce a balanced memorial, albeit with comments from the vile David Horowitz:

There is absolutely nothing in Howard Zinn’s intellectual output that is worthy of any kind of respect. Zinn represents a fringe mentality which has, unfortunately, seduced millions of people at this point in time. So, he did certainly alter the consciousness of millions of younger people for the worse.

Not to mention the Boston Globe, the Boston Herald, and the New York Times.

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4 Responses to Boston Is Zinn City

  1. CAvard says:

    Zinn was really seen unfairly by many Americans. I don’t think he was a legendary, divisive person per se. Only to those who disagreed with him. To me, Zinn rarely said anything derogatory about other people, especially those he disagreed with or the policies that upset him. To me, a legendary divisive person would be (or will be) Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Michael Savage, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, or Jeremiah Wright. To me, these individuals bring out the bad (or the worst) tendencies in American society. Zinn wasn’t like that for a variety of reasons. I think his experiences and his insights appealed to humankind’s better nature and how we can and why need to become a better society by reflecting on the past. I don’t think that’s being divisive. It may be to the likes of Arthur Schlesinger or Bernard Goldberg, but it actuality, I don’t think that’s an accurate picture of Zinn or his works.

  2. Lee says:

    Thank you to CAvard for the thoughtful comment.

    I heard the NPR piece before I had the opportunity to read any other obituaries. I was shocked and offended that they chose to wrap up with Horowitz’s comment.

    I can appreciate your desire for a balanced obituary. Yet I can’t help but think of the old adage “Don’t speak ill of the dead.” Surely in the months and years to come, Zinn’s contributions and controversies will continue to be examined by both fans and foes. For now, let his family, friends and admirers mourn him in peace.
    – Lee

  3. Pingback: NPR’s Mortal Zinn « Campaign Outsider

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