Kennedy recalls a hillside in Sardinia.
Question: Whom would you like to interview and what would you ask them?
David Kennedy: The question takes me back to a time when I was a student in Italy in 1961. And I found myself on a hillside in Sardinia, which at that time was extremely isolated from Italy and from the rest of Europe. It was before all those big resorts on the coast … were built and so on. And I found myself talking to a shepherd up on this hillside. We could barely converse. I spoke reasonably good Italian, but he spoke a dialect and not very good official Italian. But we managed to have a conversation. And he was filled with misconceptions about the world – gross misconceptions – about things that just weren’t . . . had no factual basis whatsoever. And I . . . If I could have a conversation with somebody, if I could reincarnate him – I’m sure he’s deceased by now – it would be with him and to ask him what he aspired to. If we could imaginatively transport him to a place where we could give him an idea that he had a range of choices in the world, what would he choose? What would he want for himself? What would he want for his family? It’s people like that – people who don’t have the resources to have the imagination, to even wonder about changing their circumstance, or how they might do things differently in the world. And that’s a billion plus people in this world today that are in that circumstance – living barely at subsistence level. They’re not free in the sense that they have the capacity to concern themselves with anything other than their very meager, daily bread. That’s the kind of person I would like to talk to if we could give them some kind of injection so that they could imagine a world in which their lot could be different.
Recorded on: 7/4/07