In case you missed the news, the neurologist and author Oliver Sacks passed away over the weekend. I’ve been thinking about a post about him for a few days now but wasn’t quite sure how to frame it.
My interest in Sacks comes from the fact that he explained neurological anomalies in a way that humanized the people he was talking about. He didn’t exploit his subjects; he shared their stories with us to take the scariness away from different ways of being human. During the time I was coming to terms with my own learning disabilities (dyslexia, ADHD) reading Sacks’ books and these stories were a comfort to me.
This is a wonderful interview done in 1989 by Joanna Simon for the The McNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (now called the PBS NewsHour).
I’m really glad the folks at the NewsHour dug up this piece and no doubt had to digitize it to get it up on youTube. It’s a treasure.
At the end of the piece, Jim Lehrer mentions that the Sacks book Awakenings is being turned into a movie. That movie came out in 1990 and was fantastic. It starred the late Robin Williams as Oliver Sacks. Here’s the trailer:
Makes me sad that both of these people are now gone. Two brilliant folks.