As you can tell from my blog comments not to mention all the other internet activity circulating about the Toronto International Film festival protest letter that I signed along with 1500 or more friends and colleagues—there’s a lot of hatred spewing out there. I have not censored most of the hostile blog comments because I want to give space for the full range of voices. One of the hostile comments suggests that I wrote a follow up statement (released on the Huffington Post as well as on my last blog) because of pressure from Rabbi Marvin Hier with whom I met after I had begun composing my statement. What I said in my statement is true and I am not proud of it: I neglected to read the protest letter carefully enough. It was the outcry that ensued that caused me to study it very carefully. It was then that I saw that there were parts of it that I did not agree with. That is why I wrote my statement, not because I was pressured by anyone. It was a case of having to sit down, take a deep breath, go into a meditative state to clear away all the noise and zero in on my real feelings. I asked to meet with Rabbi Marvin Hier and others in the Jewish community to explain myself—why I was not taking my name off the protest letter but was issuing my own statement to clarify the things I didn’t agree with. I have learned a tremendous amount these last days and for that I am grateful. I’m also grateful for the outpouring of love and support..some from people I know, some from strangers. The statement of support from a group of Jews from Atlanta whom I don’t know made me cry. Then there’s the poem that Raeann McDonald wrote (it’s on this blog). She is the director of the retirement community in Oregon that Richard Perry’s mother, Sylvia, is a resident of. I got to know Raeann when she came to Los Angeles with Ms Perry. Such generosity and thoughtfulness!
One blog commenter asks how I maintain in the face of the hostility. It’s quite simply knowing who I am. That allows me to understand that what the attackers see is their problem and has nothing to do with me. I know my faults and try to own up to them but I also know I’m not what the venom-spouters think. It takes experience and age to stay confident in one’s reality—and to be free to admit when one has strayed from that reality, which was the case with some of the words in the TIFF protest letter.
Now I am back at my ranch, writing my book. There was a tremendous storm last night and the river is at least up a foot and very muddy. And—wonder of wonders at this early date—there’s a lot of snow on the mountains where the Santa Fe ski basin is. IT is soothing to be here and yesterday I took the most arduous hike since my knee was replaced. It was up the rocky slopes and through the fields that we cleared of trees 2 years ago. Lovely and diverse grasses and wildflowers now cover the ground that looked so barren after the trees were cut. I so adore the grasses here when the sunlight shines through them—so many varieties, most of them I know by name. The tree-cutting program is to conserve water, increase the grasses for the deer and reduce fire hazard. In this way, we restore the land to what it was before white Europeans arrived and began putting out forest fires. This high Chihuahuan desert used to be mainly savannah, not forest, and New Mexico simply doesn’t have the water to support an overgrowth of trees, much as I love them.
On that note, I’ll sign off. See you next time.