"I met the devil on a Saturday morning cartoon. Crimson, horned, and fully Technicolor with pitchfork in tow, the devil rode the shoulder of a cartoon cat named Tom. After the devil’s first attempt at convincing Tom to murder his cat compatriot and keep their mouse bounty for himself he began slapping the cartoon cat while exhorting “Now listen here, you’re a citizen ain’t ya? Ya got rights. That mouse was yours first. You had priorities on it. Okay then. Plant that axe in his toupee and you’ll have that cheese-napper all to yourself. Go on, swing it.” In true Tom and Jerry fashion, the axe blade slides off of the handle as he brings it down on his buddy’s head and all Tom gets for his troubles are the bumps and bruises of a lesson unlearned when the mouse escapes in the course of the tussle he greedily initiated. Tom clearly couldn’t hear me shouting at the tv, “don’t do it,Tom!” “That’s Eleggua, It’s a trap!” Tom and Jerry introduced me to the Western figure of the the devil, one I could only understand in the shadow of the Orisha syncretized with the Christian Devil, Eshu. Adam Kotsko’s The Prince of This World stands in the fine company of Tom and Jerry in continuing my education in the strange and mysterious folk-ways of Christianity’s Devil."
I learned today of Mark Sawyer's passing. I never got to meet him but I imagined many a conversation. He was often in my mind as his words and political theorizations helped me on my way from community organizer to activist-intellectual. And while he wrote many brilliant works, his Du Bois's Double Consciousness versus Latin American Exceptionalism: Joe Arroyo, Salsa, and Negritude made such an impression on me as an undergraduate that it remains a touchstone for my dissertation. It is one of the finest works of Black Political theory I have ever read. His voice held me up at times where I despaired at the hostility toward engaging the entanglement of Black Latin American and Caribbean with a global Black Political. And continue hold us up it will. Descansa en poder hermano.
The safety portion of a safety razor is relative and other lessons I never learn.
I'm going to write one blog post a day for the month of November. I'm not really sure why, but I do know that I do want to do it. I'll try to point to something interesting each time, but I mainly want to see what its like to do this consistently for a month. What will I learn or discover?
Lots of great insight that far exceeds the bounds of "simple" criticism.
- Introduce me to authors or works of which I was hitherto unaware.
- Convince me that i have undervalued an author or a work because I had not read them carefully enough.
- Show me relations between works of different ages and cultures which I could never have seen for myself because I do not know enough and never shall.
- Give a “reading” of a work which increases my understanding of it.
- Throw light upon the process of artistic “Making.”
- Throw light upon the relation of art to life, to science, economics, ethics, religion, etc.
So I would answer you by saying, first, that I am trying, precisely, to put myself at a point so that I do not know any longer where I am going.
- Jacques Derrida
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.
– Ian Maclaren
"Deconstruction is like housework, it's never finished"
I am nobody/
who are you/
are you nobody too?/
Then there's a pair of us/
shh don't tell/they'd banish us you know/
How dismal to be somebody/
how dismal like a frog/
to tell your name the live long day/
to an admiring bog