I have read countless tributes to Danny Schechter these last few days--you might say that the Dissector has been dissected as much as eulogized by his plethora of friends and associates also sharing countless anecdotes (I love the ones about Kissinger and that photo with John and Yoko), and yet there is more: beyond his enlightened upbringing, his early passion for journalism and human rights; his assistance in organizing the 1964 March on Washington where MLK delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech; his activism at Cornell; his work with Congressman John Conyers in Detroit--I'm running out of breath and he's still in his twenties--his job at WBCN as News Dissector that reached the ears of Chomsky, who acknowledged him as a teacher, the birth of his beloved Sarah and his pride in her accomplishments; his Emmy-award-winning decade with Sixty Minutes ; his lifelong involvement in helping to lift the Apartheid in South Africa, and he was rewarded with its fruition; his work producing South Africa Now and other tv productions in the early nineties that reached so many and should have reached countless others; his reviving his News Dissector persona online and work with Globalvision, his countless blogs, books, and films and books that went with films, his enormous collections of the work of others in various media . . and I'm sure I've missed a lot--don't forget how he traveled the world to accomplish his contributions to other conflicted areas like Bosnia and as close to home as Occupy and to attend conferences, speak, and participate in panels: journalist, activist, organizer, speaker, prolific author and blogger, filmmaker, director, tv producer, radio News Dissector, poet, teacher, mentor, humorist, lover of music . . .--but there's this:
He wanted more. He was never satisfied, never rested on his laurels even after he became ill and shelved all of his publications in proud display. He dreamed of returning to South Africa when he recovered. He dreamed of recovering even as he knew he wouldn't, danced in the throes of chemo, and reveled in his friendships, having more time for them at the end when he could no longer work.
And there is more. He would drop his work when needed by friends. I was lucky to have known him for a bit less than fifteen years. He was a friend in need--quirky, temperamental, exasperating, and full of love. I sent him a Christmas card one year depicting Atlas, whom I believe that he dwarfed. His mind was the world.
A dear friend of his who was at his bedside the day before he died told me that when she identified herself to him and reached him through the morphine, he squeezed her hand with his characteristic strength.
He's just not dead. There was too much of him. Too much. That was probably it--more of him in one superhuman lifetime than in several lifetimes of others. Too much? Just a century compressed that let him down too soon. Life should have cut him off in an instant. He shouldn't have had to suffer, to watch the curtains close as slowly as he did, and how he yanked them open until the very end, which I won't accept.
His anger and the love that inflamed it will live forever. That's what happens when you do too much and are too much and plan never to stop. You don't.
(Article changed on March 22, 2015 at 17:46)