AAN 2012 Convention: 'Fight and Lose Repeatedly Until You Win'

june 9, 2012  08:25 am
DETROIT - The first night of the 35th annual AAN Convention had all the hallmarks of The Hangover film: drinking, debauchery and obscure celebrity cameos: While day one was like The Hangover, day two seemed to have a lot of them: However, whatever discomfort felt was soon alleviated by the sheer awesomeness of the day's opening speakers, NPR's Matt Thompson and Detroit activist Grace Lee Boggs: Another notable speaker was Detroit-based First Amendment lawyer Herschel Fink, who addressed attendees of the Free Speech Lunch.

Fink, who has defended a literal who's who of famous and infamous clients, such as director Michael Moore and rapper Dr. Dre—who encouraged Fink to win his case by saying, “Dre's paid you a fuckin' million dollars, so you better fucking win it!—�said he is more proud of his work involving freedom of information litigation.

Fink said he has a “great and serious"� concern for the future of the country as a democracy because of the dwindling financial resources available to news organizations to legally fight toward transparency.

He encouraged news organizations to find funds--by pooling resources with others, for example--and challenge lawmakers and officials as often as possible to serve readers.

“Our purpose is to inform,"� he said. “That's what the constitution demands of us."

Convention attendees were also treated with a general session featuring former MC5 guitarist and activist Wayne Kramer, who encouraged alts to start a conversation on prison reform in the U.S. where, among other things, prisoners receive time “like it's lunch."�

And finally, the results of the 2011 Altweekly Awards were announced to much fanfare: And snark: A complete gallery of winners can be found on our Facebook page. For convention updates, follow the #AAN2012 hashtag on Twitter.