What can I say about my friend Howard Zinn? I met Howard at Boston University, where I attended his classes in the mid-1970s.
To this day, I can quote chapter and verse from his lectures. The man could be spellbinding in a gentle, whimsical way.
One lecture stands out because it says so much about Howard. It was the last lecture of the semester, and he said, “Enough of me; let’s turn it over to you. Let’s talk about whatever you want to talk about.” His lecture attracted 500-plus students, so I was quick to hold up my hand.
I liked to challenge Howard, so I gave it my best shot: “Howard, we just finished an entire semester on American politics, but we’ve never talked about compromise, and compromise is fundamental to the American system. Could you talk about the fine art of compromise and tenure?”
With his Buddha-like manner, he nodded and said: “So, you want to know what I compromised for tenure? Is that the question?” Essentially, that was the question.