Sunday, January 24, 2010

Voices in the Tunnels Updates Book

I just finished reading Jennifer Toth's 1993 book The Mole People. It is a moving account of her brave investigation of life beneath the streets of New York City. Toth, a young Columbia University student, pushed past her fear and the warnings of friends and family to uncover the people and places that many thought of as urban legends only. What most surprised me was that the people she discovered lived within tight communities with their own set of rules. Not without violence, these groups did in fact offer support, even love to its members who could not fit within the paradyms of society aboveground. This book raises as many questions about how we treat each other above ground as it does below. I also found the way Toth became personally invested in helping the people she met as being common among artist activist, myself included, who include the marginalized in their work. Toth's involvement ended with a scare but others have picked up where she left off. A new documentary Voices in the Tunnel has revisited the places and people Toth wrote about in the 90's. I recommend seeing the documentary and reading the book.

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