Friday, February 16, 2007

Post-Valentine Pre-Mardi Gras Blues

Lawd, with snow school closings (bogus!), Tim Hardaway, bammas in SC being typical and endorsing Hillary over Obama, ice under my car that I need a chisel to remove (thanks to the Salvadoran dudes who shoveled it around me when I braved the snow the previous night and shovelled a path for our handicapped neighbor!), Black History Month's sort of petered out, too. It's sad that the only thing to see is a Brit flick, Amazing Grace, about William Wilberforce and the fight to abolish the slave trade...inspired the hymn as well...and what do we have? Friggin' Norbit!!!. And yeah my muse is on Paxil, I owe an essay to Callaloo and can't get motivated...I need Mardi Gras bad!!! Ahh, shit. I think the right wingers are feeling my malaise, too. I mean, with NASCAR starting to look like the NBA and NFL (especially Tank Johnson and the whole Cincinnati Bengals team...whacha gonna say about that, Rush and Bill O.?), Pat Buchanan-Joe Scarborough and a bunch of GOP types telling the Retard-in-Chief that not only is he wrong now in Iraq, the Taliban is coming back in Afghanistan (remember Afghanistan, where there really was a tie to 9-11...and what about our "allies" the Pakistanis?). Oh and there's much love in North Korea thanks to our other "friends," the Red Chinese. The Man really can't do without the Chinese. Hey, otherwise where would who we outsource all of our semi-skilled labor go? (okay, Mexico) Or what's life without a trade deficit, more pollution, oil consumption! I bet we helped them lobby for the Olympics. And now you got another dude spilling the beans...not "Scooter" but "Dusty," former CIA clown and favor-seller for the Administration...oops and another soon to be felon in my old division of the Justice Department, ENRD, an associate attorney general who had to clean out her desk for cozying to other unsavory types (why does it not surprise me that it's somebody she was supposed to regulate?). Jeeeeeeezzzz

Well, there is a light. First, Simon & Schuster has announced that my boy Jonathan Luckett's new novel The Forever Game will be published this August. Second, I just read probably the first prose anthology of short stories by "mixed race" or "multiracial" authors, appropriately titled Mixed, and edited by Chandra Prasad. Not limited to black-white biracial folks; it establishes a new Diaspora of many, many faces and mixtures! The Introduction by Alice Walker's daughter, Rebecca Walker, herself an author and journalist in her own right, is instuctive though oddly inapt. She says the "trope of the tragic mulatto" is dead, true. She says it's bizarre and even counter-productive that now it's "hip to be mixed." Just check out Hollywood, and folks like Vin Diesel or Devon Aoki who get roles because they are "exotic" looking, but also because they often downplay their "colored" half when it's clear Vin's a brotha and Devon is Asian. But then Ms. Walker goes on to survey the pathos in many of the stories in the collection. I saw people expressing a new ethos, a new side of folk we see everyday. I didn't see that much pathos, so I guess she subconsciously still thinks the tragic mulatto is alive and well?

Check out Mixed, works by Jon Luckett, and "Amazing Grace" (with Youssa D'Noir as 18th Century black author Olaudah Equiano. It will get you through to March...


Francis Holland said...

Dear Christopher:

I'm in need of a mentor in my efforts to publish my autobiography. (It's more outrageous and tortured than I would ever have wanted, and I only write because, at times, I'm compelled by the memory of the very facts I describe. From the Panthers to law school, to France and Brazil, from addiction and recovery to my present life in the bosom of an all Afro-Brazilian populace, unless I make sense of my convoluted experiences I often doubt I can survive to achieve peace in the present time, with my Brazilian wife and adopted children.)

I need to publish what I've written in a book, if only because it's too outrageous and personal to share with my friends and family.

Now, with the realization that much more about me than I has wished has been dictated by the color of my skin and my reactions to the reactions of others . . . I need to write more and I need to share.

Chicama Vineyard said...

Thank you, I will get a copy of Mixed based on your review. My daughter met Rebecca Walker at a journalist retreat a few years ago. My son-in-law is Japanese American and my heart is my grandson! I may also share it with one of my girlfriends who just married our first African American fire chief here. That has been like a stick in a yellowjacket nest here.

I was amused by your survey of your own and the conservatives' blues!

I saw a commercial for Amazing Grace. The song itself is soul-stirring and I am glad the version they play is the bagpipe version. However I think everyone should know that Wilberforce was only at first successful in stopping the slave trade by British ships. It made no difference to the trade and to black people already in America. Likewise it didn't help black people already in places like Jamaica, Trinidad, The Bahamas, Guyana and Barbados. He had to fight to the point of sickness and death to lay the foundation for Emancipation in all British colonies. It is still an inspiring story.

Anonymous said...

Devon Aoki. Yesssssir!!!

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you on one (of your many) points. I don't think it's fair to put "Amazing Grace" and "Norbit" in the same universe and the say that it's a travesty for Black History Month. I'm not saying "Norbit" is art, but it is legitimate entertainment, and you shouldn't say automatically that it was released in Feb. for BHM by design. Likewise "Amazing Grace" is not really about black people specifically, but the usual story of heroic white people.

I'm sad that it's not the case that black artists and filmmakers are too busy with making clones of Stomp the Yard, just as black authors are busy making clones of the last ghetto novel, sex story or relationship story, but that's how things are. I'm glad that films like "Amazing Grace" are made, however.