Review: Things That Can and Cannot Be Said

by Danielle Champiet

As I recline on my couch reading Things That Can and Cannot Be Said by John Cusack and Arundhati Roy, the binding creased and cracked from the multiple times it’s been read, a headline pops up on my phone about the Trump-Ukraine investigation. A chill goes down my spine and I realize more than ever what a pivotal and critical piece of literature rests in my hands.

Sleek in stature, I’m amazed that so much was able to be conveyed so concisely and fluidly within its 122 pages. The dialogue is intelligent, factual, well-researched and yet demotic making its very pertinent information available to the broadest of readerships. You don’t have to be a pundit or politically savvy to understand any of it. Exactly as the authors intended.

Personal photographs and a conversational-style format give the book an incredibly intimate feel. That drew me in as much as the proactive discussions between John Cusack, Arundhati Roy, Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg, four people whom I greatly admire and would love to join for coffee. Subjects such as lifestyle wars, charity as a political tool, the missle gap and more are covered in depth.

The raw honesty of the ramifications of our government’s actions not just on it’s own people but the global impact as well inspired me to dig deeper into current events and those seeking my vote. Politicians that we have put into power and kept there who have only acted in their own best interests have become commonplace and acceptable.

A fact that I hope every voter keeps in mind at every election; we as people have the opportunity to do incredible good if we do our part and fully research everyone for whom we vote. If we abnegate that very important job as citizens then we all lose. The president we elect today could be the one who gives us jobs and universal health care or they could be the one who keeps us in perpetual wars and indiscriminately bombs villages. This dynamite stick of a book is the path to breaking the cycle of bad and uniformed decisions.

Things That Can and Cannot Be Said also delves into the lives of whistleblowers Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg and a little of Julian Assange. All whom have suffered drastic consequences for telling the truth. A truth that they believed was imperative for people to know. Ms. Roy, arguably one of the top minds today, called them heroes and I would have to wholeheartedly, categorically agree with her. They and other whistleblowers are our heroes.

(Except from Things That Can and Cannot Be Said)

With a government that has churned out machinations and deceptions for decades like a schizo gumball machine on crack our need for transparency and whistleblowers is paramount. Our government was built on a system of checks and balances to prevent tyranny and abuse of power. That system has eroded to our current state of unaccountable officials and agencies. Whistleblowers have emerged as the new “checks and balances”. What a twisted statement it makes for us that doing the right thing and telling the truth have come to be viewed as wrong.

I highly recommend adding Things That Can and Cannot Be Said to your collection. This is a book that will always be relevant.

Freedom Of The Press Foundation