"Have I got a story for you, comrade."
Nikita Khrushchev: [addressing a roomful of Soviet political officers] My name... is Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev. I've come to take things in hand here. This city... is not Kursk, nor is it Kiev, nor Minsk. This city... is Stalingrad. *Stalingrad*! This city bears the name of the Boss. It's more than a city, it's a symbol. If the Germans... capture this city... the entire country will collapse. Now... I want our boys to raise their heads. I want them to act like they have *balls*! I want them to stop shitting their pants! That's your job. As political officers... I'm counting on you.
[he looks at one man]
Nikita Khrushchev: You. What's your suggestion?
Sweating Officer: [visibly nervous] Sh-shoot all the other generals who have retreated, and their chiefs of staff, too.
Stammering Officer: [Khrushchev moves down the line to another man] M-m-m-make some examples. D-d-d-d-d-d-deport the families of the d-d-d-deserters -
Nikita Khrushchev: [turning away] Yes, that's all been done.
Danilov: [from the back of the room] Give them hope!
[Khrushchev turns around and strides down the line to Danilov]
Danilov: Here, the men's only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there's another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight. Yes... we need to make examples. But examples to *follow*. What we need...
[he glances quickly at Khrushchev]
Danilov: ... are heroes.
Nikita Khrushchev: [Khrushchev looks around, then leans in closer to Danilov] Do you know any heroes around here?
Danilov: Yes, comrade. I know one. -- Enemy at the Gates, 2001.
"What Progressives Need to Do Next: Become Teachers and Storytellers."
The revolution of the 60s still continues, for 60s ideals and ideas have taken root in our personal lives. Now we have to take those personal ideals to the level of community, which stretches around the Earth. And to do this, we have to tell the story of our times, not in a frightening way but in a positive way so that people are willing to sacrifice to change the way the world works. (Emphasis supplied, MBV)
And not just any stories. What are needed, says the author, are "archetypal story templates" agreed in advance by the storytellers' collective:
1. We need to create archetypal story templates to share with each other and use when we want to make a point about whatever issue is up for us.
2. Then we each need to go out into our communities and tell the new story. That means town council meetings, letters to the editor, talks at the local library, "town hall' meetings about issues. We can engage in a conversation about the future without having politicians referee us. Collaborate with artists and go to your local Arts' Council and create an event for the 4th of July centered on a local issue unemployment; poisoned air, water, food; the war. Create change by changing people's minds.
3. To create these story templates, we need to work together in master groups with at least an historian, a reporter/fact gatherer and a storyteller who understands archetypal storytelling. We might be able to gather the groups here at OpEd. I'm sure Rob has something on the site where we could post our needs and the results. But that depends on if anyone is interested in doing this.
Good luck with telling those stories in Winston County, Alabama.
"I'll tell you a story, government man. Just let me wash up first." -- Aunt Jenny Brooks, patron saint of Winston County.
Aunt Jenny's soap dish.