Sunday, March 09, 2008

And where, oh where?

Working hard these days, and just not getting much time to blog unfortunately. However, I have been visiting various neighbors out in the blogsphere. JsTheater, one of my favorite bloggers, literary, creative, an educator, a sports fan who has gotten me to at least pay attention to baseball season, art lover, word lover, thoughtful national and international political commentator, astute translator, and other great qualities, has just had his 3rd year blogaversary--or whatever such things are called. He recently did a shout out to the National Book Critics Circle Award winners which included Edwidge Danticat for Brother, I'm Dying, Junot Díaz for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and Harriet A. Washington for Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present. I've only read Díaz's tome, because I was able to get to it over the summer. I've been wanting to read Washington's book but have been afraid I'd have to sleep with the lights on for a month afterward. And people wonder why many black folks, regardless of socio-economic status (i.e. resources), have an adversion to going to the doctor. I have a family member who has worked for many years in the upper-echelon of the medical establishment. That person's longstanding advice was: "Don't get sick. Ever." Not realistic, but it did motivate my willingness to become my own advocate, and shop for a doctor like I shop for the best in computer equipment: ask folks about their doctors, do a lot of research, go in with a bunch of questions. Etc.

Writer Tayari Jones whose even-handed assessment of the literary scene as well as her intelligent joi de vivre, keeps me returning to read her stories of the professional writing life was reluctantly giving the breakdown on the recent Margaret B. Jones/Seltzer nonfiction hoax (private school educated middle-class white woman raised in a middle-class suburb by two parents claims half-Native American ancestry, a foster care childhood with an African American foster mother (Big Mom, natch), and a youth of gang-life, drug dealing, and dead and incarcerated friends and family). I say reluctantly because it seemed that while Tayari Jones saw the import of examining the underlying issues of why such a hoax could be perpetrated on the current publishing establishment, she didn't want to get stuck in the toxins of those issues--"gotta keep writing" girlfriend seemed to say. Truly, that's the only way to make the world you want to see outside your window; work your craft, and work it some more.

Tayari Jones links to some interesting articles on this current hoax as well as an August 2007 TimeOut New York article, "White Noise: Why do so few people of color work in publishing" by James Hannaham on what a parallel Village Voice feature from some 15 years ago termed "The Unbearable Whiteness of Publishing." A classic quote that Tayari Jones included in her original post on the article ("Craig" is a pseudonym for a "big-house editor" ):

"Invariably," says Craig, “a black-themed book will come up for consideration, and there won’t be anyone of color to put in an opinion, or there’ll be one, who shouldn’t bear the burden alone. So we all pretend we’re experts. Maybe I’m the only one who’s embarrassed by that.” The end result of such roundtables, one can only fear, could be that the only books depicting people of color that get published are those that do not challenge white assumptions.

Meanwhile, blogger and media producer & writer Rod 2.0 is fortunately is coming out the other side of a rough week. March 4th's Super Tuesday found him doing a subtle version of the "told-you-so" dance with Clinton's victory in Ohio which he called earlier in the day, as well as Texas and Rhode Island. Yes, it's true, you can't ever count Clinton out until she decides she's out. Rod posits:

The Ohio primary winners always become the nominee of each party, and, the general election winner always wins Ohio. So goes Ohio, so goes the nation. If any Obama supporters believe he can win the general election without Ohio, Pennsylvania, or Michigan, please drop me an email with the scenario. Would love to hear it.

This goes to Pennsylvania. Dozens of superdelegates are still on the fence. Before tonight, many were probably going to bolt for Obama, but, most will probably keep their fingers in the wind for several more weeks.
Clinton's heavy campaigning in Ohio and the "Meet Me in Ohio!" call to arms played a part, as did heavy-hitting Ohio political support for Clinton. But Rod 2.0 predicted that Clinton will take Pennsylvania due to the the major blow suffered by Obama with the "Obama campaign's disastrous backpedaling on NAFTA." Probably didn't help when Obama Foreign Policy advisor (unpaid) Pulitzer Prize winning Harvard professor Samantha Power called Hillary Clinton "a monster." Powers subsequently resigned from the campaign, but ouch!

Just in case the above makes it sound like Rod 2.0 is pro-Clinton, or anti-Obama, I personally can't tell one way or the other from his coverage. A good example his write-up of the Ohio debate. He is politically knowledgeable and I imagine he's correct; Obama has some major work left to do beyond fundraising in order to win a major primary and be seen as a viable party nominee.

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