[ Read books ] Moving Violations: War Zones, Wheelchairs, and Declarations of IndependenceAuthor John Hockenberry – Clinback.co
John Hockenberry S Moving Violations Is One Of The Most Entertaining, Provocative, Unexpected, Outspoken, And Occasionally Outrageous Books In Recent Memory It Is A Story Of Obstacles Physical, Emotional, And Psychic Overcome Again, And Again, And Again Whether Riding A Mule Up A Hillside In Iraq Surrounded By Mud Stained Kurdish Refugees, Navigating His Wheelchair Through Intractable Stretches Of Middle Eastern Sand, Or Auditioning To Be The First Journalist In Space, John Hockenberry, Ace Reporter, Is Determined Not Only To Bring Back The Story, But Also To Prove That Nothing Can Hold Him Back From Death Defying Exploits However, He Will Never Be A Poster Boy For A Jerry Lewis Telethon A Paraplegic Since An Auto Accident At Age Nineteen, Hockenberry Holds Nothing Back In This Achingly Honest, Often Hilarious Chronicle That Ranges From The Ayatollah S Funeral Where His Wheelchair Is Pushed By A Friendly Iranian Chanting Death To All Americans , To The Problems Of Crip Sex And The Inaccessibility Of The New York City Subway System In This Immensely Moving Chronicle So Filled With Marvelous Storytelling That It Reads Like A Novel John Hockenberry Finds That The Most Difficult Journey Is The One That Begins At Home, As He Confronts The Memories Of His Beloved One Armed Grandfather, And Finally Meets His Institutionalized Uncle Peter, Whose Very Existence Was Long A Secret Buried In The Family History Moving Violations Is A Sometimes Harrowing But Ultimately Joyful Ride I enjoyed reading this book I had heard John Hockenberry on NPR but had no idea he was a paraplegic or had lived in Lane County Oregon during the late 70 s and early 80 s I learned a lot about the issues facing someone using a wheelchair in the most entertaining manner Questions I d never thought to ask were answered I also loved the descriptions of events that took place in an area I know well Eugene, Springfield, Florence, Fall Creek, Oregon Country Fair and the Pacific Ocean are all described in a way locals can particularly appreciate. Easily the best book I ve read this year I don t even remember why I picked this one up I had no idea who Hockenberry was, being maybe a little young to have caught his NPR heydey but whoever recommended it in passing or left it sitting out on display where I could see it, thank you There s a lot going on here that I could talk about, whether it s the blunt description of how America treats its disabled citizens often poorly this should come as no surprise or the rueful ruminations on war journalists obsessive pursuit of the center of a war There were chapters that had me cackling hysterically and passages that had me furtively wiping tears away so no one else on the bus would see There were also a lot of anecdotes and asides that left me deeply, deeply angry.It s an anger the author clearly shares And I think what I appreciate most about this book is the way he portrays that anger, how he reveals that it s often justified and sometimes not, sometimes useful and sometimes a hindrance to his own efforts, and how all those categories mix and overlap I ve been trained to think of anger as a bad thing, a destructive force that should be fought against, except, perhaps, occasionally, when it s justified and can be harnessed on behalf of others But Hockenberry shows clearly that even justified anger can be harmful and even senseless anger can be a useful goad, and sometimes often it can be both or all of the above at the same time.And no matter what its cause or ultimate effect, it s a feeling, and a powerful one, that can t be just locked away and denied.But if that s too heavy for you, I leave you with this thought Say you had let yourself in to your ex s apartment under the mistaken belief that she might be interested in getting back together Say you had fallen asleep on her bed Say you were woken by the sound of her and her beau of the moment entering the apartment, unaware of your presence and clearly intending to make extensive, energetic use of the bed You re mere minutes from discovery What do you do I guarantee it s not what Hockenberry did Oh, my god I thought I was going to fall off the bench from laughing.So read this book because it says important things, things about war and disability and human nature at large But also read it because it s funny as hell. This is Hockenberrry s memoir of his life since the car accident that put him in a wheelchair He s an amazing guy Biology Or environment That pesky question we can never answer I was continually surprised by some of Hockenberry s attitudes and pronouncements about how crips think and feel, so different than the cultural group think imagines The other thing in this book that surprised me was some of Hockenberry s motivations for the things he did they were completely unexpected And I think that is a good lesson to apply to fictional characters as well Despite the psycho babble that permeates our culture, people s motivations are still unique and not necessarily transparent to observation Given life s complexity, a person s motivations should be surprising Fictional characters must have that same reality, should continually surprise. A strange accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike puts John Hockenberry, age 19, in a wheelchair But it is like he is born to be in a wheelchair He s not depressed or discouraged about being a paraplegic, but jokes about it and goes about proving that the chair does not matter.Mastering the chair, exploring different strategies for curbs and workable routes to where he s going long before the Americans with Disabilities Act keeps him busy His exploits in the Chicago subway el system are both sad, and funny Anyone who s been challenged by a car with stick shift will enjoy his stories about driving a Land Rover.One good story is about his work as a freelance reporter at an NPR station in Eugene, Oregon NPR in Washington D.C thought Oregon and the whole northwest was a real outback The station became a favorite of theirs when Mt St Helens erupted, and a geologist employed there gave a daily report which was sent out nationwide A year after the big eruption, the mountain had a small eruption, and Hockenberry wanted to call it in before the 5 PM deadline He was in a rather remote area at the time, an area where phone booths had folding doors and a concrete step in front He could not get inside After an hour and 50 minutes he gave up looking for a pay phone He entered a school, where long distance calls were thought to require a fortune, and actually had to ask the principal for permission His call was 1 2 hour late It was the first time in 12 years that he was late The following day his editor called to find out why he had let him down Explanation given, the editor said Don t let it happen again Until then only he, Hockenberry, knew what was possible to do in a wheelchair, now others knew it too The later chapters are about his time as a foreign correspondent, in Palestine, Israel, Morocco, and Somalia Somalia was the only place he was fearful, because two boys with machine guns wanted his wheelchair for a friend who could not walk, wanted it bad enough to kill him. If I could give 3 1 2 stars I would. Most of the Christian landmarks in the Middle East are dormant shrines to old arguments between popes and Orthodox patriarchs and caliphs having little to do with the time or place Jesus grew up and died There are a handful of historically dubious places for Christian pilgrims The dingy grottoes, tombs, and street corners where Jesus was thrown, dragged, bled, drank some vinegar, was condemned and then nailed to a post one spring day 2,000 years ago are mobbed with tourists and souvenir salesmen today The Church of the Holy Sepulcher itself is a sprawling trophy from the Byzantine Empire administered grumpily by representatives of the Catholic and Orthodox churches Seventeen centuries ago they argued whether Christ had three aspects or just one, whether he was rich or poor, whether he needed a spokesman or just a book Today the same churches argue over who will fix the leaky roof over the place where an angel allegedly told the first Christians, Seek ye not the living among the dead It was the last time that advice was heeded Among the millions of pilgrims in Jerusalem, it was the Christians who came looking for God as if to confirm a juicy rumor they had heard Christians have been trolling and casting for God since before the crucifixion Just as Jesus found some sympathetic anglers right off the bat and convinced them to join the coming Christian hordes, Christians approach the question of finding God with the gusto of a fisherman working a trout stream Each denomination has its own strategy for hooking the big one Catholics go for the shiny lures with lots of ugly dangling hooks Protestants like live bait From Moving Violations Moving Violations is the memoir of a man who is living life on 11 despite an auto accident he was involved in at age 19 in which he incurred spinal injuries that left him paralyzed from his chest down The book was written 19 years later, when he is 38 and has lived half of his life as a walking person, and half in a wheelchair His accident was in 1976, before the Americans with Disabilities Act went into effect, and he came across many, many barriers to success, but he smashed through them not without some anger and bitterness He never let his disability get in the way of what he wanted, and he seemed to always want to take the most challenging route I felt equal parts exasperation and admiration as I read the essay like chapters of his life story that told the briefest amount about his life before the accident and most detailed his adventures after, including his jobs, family, personal life, and medical details He worked in radio, including becoming an NPR foreign correspondence, and later a TV news journalist He visited war torn countries and regions in crises, including Israel and Palestine, Iraq, and Somalia He s a good writer and really lays it all out without holding back He s a complex person with a lot of motivation and drive, and a lot of stubbornness and anger, and a lot of compassion too I learned so much reading this book It s been 19 additional years since it was published I hope John Hockenberry is still finding adventures that satisfy him but I also hope he s found a bigger measure of peace too in the years that have passed. stop feeling lucky that you still have use of your legs and start feeling lucky to be alive and thinking hockenberry, paralyzed from the T 5 vertebra down after surviving a car accident at age 19, is intelligent and wise, determined and contrarian, real and awe inspiring his memoir takes you through rehab, romance, broadcasting, war, and if i owned 1000 copies of this book i would give one to everyone i know. I was previously unaware of this book until it was included as part of an Occupational Therapy course in which I was one of the instructors Moving Violations was assigned to my learning group as part of a disability memoir assignment encouraging students to delve deeper into the lived experience of someone living with a perceived handicap In many ways this book is a resounding sucess considering this objective , and in many ways a dismal failure.While Hockenberry provides many enclaves into the mind of a man suddenly becoming paraplegic at the age of 19, allowing for a great study for emerging Occupational Therapists it is the general reader in me that was highly disappointed with this work Hockenberry manages to be inspirational some of time, while remaining rather unlikable most of the time The work is too long and there is too heathly a dose of his political positions, thoughts on the Middle East conflicts, and judgemental rants that distract from a narrative that could be much accessible.Of note The reading time was extended due to the writing of an extensive outline I plan on teaching the course again, and did not want to have to read the entire book once.