Posts Tagged ‘peter coyote’

Quote of the day: HUNGER

April 6, 2021

I consoled myself for my difficulties with Nichole by keeping company with an Indian woman from the reservation in nearby Yakima. I met her playing pool in La Conner, and although she was pretty drunk, she was deadly at the table. She was exciting and unpredictable, not above winging a pool ball at an idiot who offended her. She looked about thirty-five, and confessed to having a “clutter” of children back in Yakima….

One morning she dropped by as I was cooking, I asked her if she was hungry and she said nothing. When I asked a third time, she said, “Don’t make people *say* that they’re hungry. Put food in front of them. If they’re hungry, they’ll eat.”


This protocol attending the offering of food interested me. It highlighted our culture’s carelessness about food (which has resulted in an obsession with obesity). Living on the road, I’d noticed that you could visit a white person’s home and wait for hours before being offered food or water. This was equally true in many counterculture homes. White people assumed that people are or drank when they *wanted* to; they were not being deliberately rude, they just never had to think about hunger. Travelers in need learn to search out people of color — black people, Chicanos, and Indians — who rarely let you sit long without putting something to eat or drink in front of you.

–Peter Coyote, Sleeping Where I Fall

Good stuff online

August 4, 2011

I’ve just been catching up on old issues of The Sun, the excellent no-advertising literary magazine published by Sy Safransky out of Chapel Hill, NC. The June 2011 issue featured a terrific interview with Peter Coyote, an actor with some Hollywood fame but whose life work has revolved around political activism, community organizing, and spiritual pursuits. His interview with David Kupfer covers a lot of territory, with a lot of honesty and soul-searching. (He’s open, for instance, about his history as a heroin addict and the chronic hepatitis C that he lives with as a consequence.)

Here’s a small sample:

Kupfer: …your generation did transform the U.S. political agenda.

Coyote: No, I don’t think we did. We lost every one of our political battles: We did not stop capitalism. We did not end the war. We did not stop imperialism. I can’t point to real political victory.

Culturally, however, we’ve changed the landscape dramatically. There is no city in the United States today where there is not a women’s movement, an environmental movement, alternative medical practices, alternative spirituality, organic-food stores. That is a huge and powerful development that I think will eventually change the political system.

Kupfer: So the political system is the tail on the dog, the last thing to change in the culture?

Coyote: Politicians are not leaders; they are followers. They think that, because they can plunder the public treasury, they are leading. In fact they are terrified of the people. The people are a problem for them to manage, and when they can no longer manage them, they must follow them, or oppress them.

You can read an abridged version of the interview online here.

In the same issue, there are also excerpts from a fantastic advice column called “Dear Sugar” that runs in an online magazine called The Rumpus. Check out the except here.

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