Like many people who attended college in the mid-sixties, I would carry a copy of Paul Goodman’s Growing Up Absurd around in those days. It was one of those “listen to this” books that I’d whip out on many occasions. I’d even had it in my head at oe time to attend Black Mountain College, partially because of Paul Goodman’s brief association. Then I found out that the college had shut down in 1957. This again confirmed that I was born ten years too late to be a beatnik.
These were the days that “the absurd” was much on my mind: “theater of…” and Jean-Paul Sartre…
This recent documentary is of the typical talking head variety – the talking heads numbering those who were intimate with Goodman and/or were influenced by his work. The documentary was revelatory for me in that I really knew little about Goodman’s personal life and only read the single work. Some of the poetry read in this documentary is quite beautiful.
Paul Goodman Changed My Life shows off Goodman in all his brilliance. Those who pass for brilliant, independent thinkers today are mostly just polemicists. Goodman truly did have a anarchist bent which freed up his mind for original thinking. There is no one like him today.
A wonderful eulogy from Susan Sontag on the death of Paul Goodman (1972) is included on the documentary website.