In Memory of Howard Zinn, an American and a Jew

Rsz_howardzinnMichael Furman in Jewcy:

A close friend called me today and notified me of Howard Zinn's death. After a half hour of the requisite investigatory quest through the digital abyss, the news seemed to coalesce in my mind with the myriad headlines of the day. The modern information onslaught indeed seems malleable to me, over time becoming little more than a monstrosity of factoids. How the whole has become less than the sum of its parts.

Over tea and thought, however, my knowledge of the good professor's passing became quite real, substantive, and sobering. After all, Zinn remains among my biggest inspirations.

As a student of history, he shattered the myth of objectivity with a forceful blow, displaying in a massive tome the hollow nature of facts; it is instead our perspectives, our manipulations, and our conclusions that smack of bias and are deeply flawed. While we all know the adage that ‘history books are written by the winners,' Zinn overwhelmed us with the sheer tragedy of this mantra, and exposed the ugly underbelly of our collective memory.

As an American, he upheld the virtues of the Declaration of Independence, even if he admonished its author.