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Dialectical . . what? August 26, 2008

Posted by admin in : Ira, Testimonials , trackback

Jack Lucero Fleck
Oakland, California

clip_image001I came across Ira’s book, Dialectical Materialism, at a used bookstore (“A Dirty Poorly Lit Place for Books”) on Turk Street in San Francisco in the early 90s.  The book was a bit beat up so I asked the clerk for a discount.  She said, “Dialectical . . what?” so she gave me half off.

As a devout dialectical materialist myself, I loved the book.  In the early 90s I wrote to the publishing address, but it came back.  I decided to try New York directory assistance and there was only one Ira Gollobin, so I called him and we had a long talk.  (I found it was very difficult to have a short talk with Ira.)  Ira’s book gave me the confidence to pursue a project I had been thinking about, which was to write children’s books on the subject of dialectical materialism–to prove Engel’s point that any schoolchild can understand negation of negation. 

I was able to get together with Ira a couple of times while visiting New York where my son, Ryan, was attending NYU film school in the late 90s. 

I ran my ideas by Ira, and he was very supportive.  He said it was “a whole new pedagogy,” which was a very nice compliment.  I never found a publisher for my stories, but, when the internet started, I decided, like Ira, to self-publish and started the web site, “Dialectics for Kids” (www.dialectics4kids.com).  Every once in a while I would check in with Ira.  I sang him some of my songs about dialectics to get his opinion.  I checked in with him after 911 and was happy to learn he was OK.

My son’s first feature film, Half Nelson, has a lot about dialectics, taken from dialectics4kids.  When the film premiered in New York at the New Directors, New Films festival in 2006, I was very happy that Ira was able to join us for dinner and the movie.  He enjoyed the film and said, “It’s a film with substance and emotional content.”   The accompanying photo is of Ryan, Ira, and myself taken then by Ryan’s filmmaking/domestic partner Anna Boden.  I also added a discussion of the dialectics in Half Nelson to my web site.

Good luck in keeping Ira’s spirit and thoughts alive.


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