Saturday, May 24, 2014

Saturday Afternoon Reading

Words


Two hundred fifty years of slavery. Ninety years of Jim Crow. Sixty years of separate but equal. Thirty-five years of racist housing policy. Until we reckon with our compounding moral debts, America will never be whole.



Princess Leia has gone missing from kidword... Of course, this is far from the first time I’ve noticed Leia’s absence. There are so many LEGO “Star Wars” sets but few feature female characters. The origin of that problem obviously is the lack of females in the “Star Wars” movies, but still, why does Leia go missing? If you search on the internet, you can find her in LEGO sets, but as my daughters and I go about our day, walking through toy stores or books stores or Target, we see Leia hardly anywhere. My seven year old and I did  spot her one day, and we bought the set, but we were disappointed that the scene depicted was where she was clad in a metal bikini chained to Jabba the Hut... It wouldn’t be so bad if there were many scenes and outfits for Leia, but unfortunately, that’s not the case.



I had come to believe that by now the racism of H.P. Lovecraft, the celebrated author of horror and fantasy, was a settled matter–like declaring Wrath of Khan the best film in the Star Trek franchise. Arguing against such a thing should be absurd. I certainly thought so after the matter was thrust into the spotlight in December 2011, when author Nnedi Okorafor won the esteemed World Fantasy Award–whose statuette is none other than H.P. Lovecraft’s disembodied head. Okorafor had been unaware of the depths of Lovecraft’s “issues,” until a friend sent her his 1912 poem, On the Creation of Niggers, where blacks are fashioned by the gods as “a beast . . . in semi-human figure.”



This week, I’ve found myself dragging through this last round of revisions.  I even fell asleep several times while working on my book.  I’ve come to believe that part of me is dragging out this particular moment.  The post-breakthrough where success seems imminent, but the hard work of the next phase hasn’t begun yet.  Part of me, I think, would like to hover here indefinitely, forever on the brink of something big.


Words and Music


Songstress Maimouna Youssef’s [(a.k.a. Mumu Fresh)] soulful cover We’re Already Royal not only puts Lorde’s original to shame, it complicates the young New Zealander’s Grammy winning track’s entire narrative. It flips the script, becoming a type of alternate surreal reality that (after closer inspection) we realize is really our own.

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