Writer makes plea for legitimacy

Malcolm Gladwell speaks at fundraiser at Floradale Mennonite Church

January 15, 2014 | Artbeat
Story and Photo by Dave Rogalsky |
Floradale, Ont.

Before Malcolm Gladwell signed copies of his newest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, for a gathered crowd at Floradale Mennonite  Church, he spoke at a fundraiser there for the Woolwich Counselling Centre in nearby Elmira, which was founded by the author’s mother Joyce.

In his Nov. 27 talk Gladwell focussed on Alva (Smith) (Vanderbilt) Belmont, an early 19th-century suffragette, and the story of the British occupation of Northern Ireland.

As a suffragette working for women to be allowed to vote in the United States, Belmont focused on the American ideals of respect, fairness and stability. If these things are absent, Gladwell stated, the oppressed will rise up in defiance of a culture or government they see as illegitimate.

He said this is what happened in Northern Ireland when Oliver Cromwell tried to force the Catholics to submit to his rule through the fear of retribution. Finding him illegitimate—disrespectful, unfair, and not creating stability for the Irish—he Gladwell said some would call him the cause of the Irish Republican Army.

The evening raised around $10,000 for the counselling centre as Floradale Mennonite donated all the receipts from the more than 600 attendees, the local Royal Bank donated $3,000, and Wordsworth Books, an independent book store in Uptown Waterloo, donated $5 from each book sold that evening.

Gladwell has also published The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures (2009).

View Gladwell’s reading at the Floradale Mennonite Church website.

--Posted Jan. 15, 2014

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