YOU'RE RIGHT. THIS GIRL GOT TO HEAR ALICE WALKER SPEAK TODAY.
If you read my post about how her short story, "The Flowers," is the best thing ever written and how formative it's been with respect to my own writing, then you get me right now. We lined up outside the auditorium over an hour before the program began--please imagine a concert hall's worth of academics standing outside, waiting for Alice Walker--and I swear we'd given three standing ovations before she even finished her talk. <333
The tenor and topics reminded me a lot of church, except a lot less Buddhist. (And I don't mean that she was speaking in a particularly Christian way, either--very spiritual humanist.)
She opened by speaking about her interactions with Zora Neale Hurston's ghost, went onto speak about Zora's relationship, and her own relationship, with Langston Hughes, and also Helsinki, and the Soviet Union, and Hawai'i, and Palestine, and US international affairs fail, and Fukushima, and American VA fail, and all manner of other things. But she has such an elegant timbre, and she's poetic, but also so very down to earth. She confessed her adoration of Mad Men, recommended a book on Audible, didn't answer flowery "literati" Q&As with the flowery literature answers they were meant to provoke, and was just so lovely.
The one thing that REALLY bothered me was that as I was sitting in the audience, I kept seeing these flashes go off as people snapped photos, or I'd see the glow of someone's smartphone screen as they hopped on Facebook or checked their messages. And so many ringtones went off!! I know I've already made one cane-shaking entry this week, but for the love of god! How does that seem acceptable AT ALL?
I recognize that it's kind of like, the superstar thing. You go listen to a famous person talk, you snap their picture, Instagram it #HASHTAG ALICE WALKER. Oh and you ask dumbass questions during the Q&A. XP
Except it's Alice Walker, she's a super big-billed invited speaker, and the venue is a concert hall.
Which, you know.
Last time I checked, in concert halls you don't take flash photography and you silence your damn phones. I just. These should not be things you have to tell a hall full of grown-ass adults. (There was one very upset infant in the audience, too, but I mean. Infants basically live to be upset 70% of the time, so it's not like you can fault them for that. It's what they do!)
tl;dr Technology is terrible because humans are too dumb to use it. USER. ERROR. /waves cane