Sunday, November 4, 2012

"Parallels to country's racist past haunt age of Obama" John Blake

John Blake's article gives a case for Obama existing, not as a post-race American president, but as a post-Reconstruction black American president.

"The Jim Crow laws that marked the end of Reconstruction stayed put for at least 60 years. It would take a century before the contemporary civil rights movement restored the political and civil rights of blacks. Some historians argue that the United States did not actually become a democracy until 1965 with the passage of the Voting Rights Act."

"Restored" is a concept a lot of people forget about American history--since some historians at the time, especially after Jim Crow flouted earlier amendments, tried to forget as well as belittle. 

The "white backlash" that crushed hopes of an interracially run American government just after the Civil War, historians say, is repeating itself today in America.

An important discussion for Americans to keep having.

Scott Nadelson "Failure to Disappear: On Dennis Oppenheim" New England Review

Scott Nadelson's piece "Failure to Disappear: On Dennis Oppenheim" appears in the New England Review and meditates on an image of a moving, sometimes blurry hand before a black background.

Nadelson nicely likens the role of the viewer to a likewise enjoining role in life, after someone dies.

Check it out.


River Dragon Sky, a new novel

Claire Skinner "Against Writing Every Day" Michigan Quarterly Review

"Something clicked in my brain when Nate said that. Being about the work every day (or BATWED, for fun) is a suggestion I can get behind."

Claire Skinner's wonderful essay about the old edict of "write every day" is discussed and fretted over--replete with wonderful imagery, such as the dicing of celery.

Instead of WED, BATWED.

For all compulsive writers out there, heavy with guilt if you skip a day of hourly writing because of work or relationships or travel, this is a highly recommended read.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"Two journeys" Washington Post

"This was Chinyere Brown's nagging worry: that the upward trajectory of her own life as a successful African American woman was occurring in a society that in some ways resented it."

Though not in a literary magazine, this article in The Washington Post helped articulate changes that have happened in America after Obama was elected. Having voted absentee from China during that election in '08, when I voted for Obama, I wasn't aware until I returned to Ohio that summer how different things had already become. I was baffled; it was all so vocal and unfair.

Just months after he became President, commonplace vitriol--that Obama was secretly Muslim, "post-American," or not American at all--seemed everywhere . . . on TV, in people's posts, from family members who hadn't used to say racist things, at least around me, with anger visible on their faces.

Has racism in America actually gotten worse?