What Would Sartre & Foucault Do?

Writing in the “Comment is Free” section of the Guardian, Danny Postel, a STOP SMILING editor-at-large, addresses the “spasm of infantilism” and “widespread confusion” surrounding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s visit to New York. (The Guardian post can be viewed here.) “To untie this knot,” Postel writes, “it might be helpful to consider an episode from 30 years ago.” Postel points to a 1977 visit to Paris by Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and recalls how the intellectual community — Jean-Paul Sartre (pictured here) and Michel Foucault among them — hosted a shadow reception for Soviet dissidents living in Paris. Was there more to learn by hearing those voices, and could the same be said about Iranians today who “are a lot less likely to be in the headlines”? … For more from Postel, read part one and part two of his interview with historian Studs Terkel in our Chicago Issue.