On our radar this week:
I know little. But I know what a good portion of Americans think of my worth. Their disdain takes form. In my head, it is my dark twin. Sometimes I wonder which of us will be remembered if I die soon, if I suffocate in that closet. Will I be a vicious menace, like Trayvon Martin? An unhinged menace, like Tamir Rice? A monstrous menace, like Mike Brown? An unreasonable menace, like Sandra Bland? A sly menace, like Emmett Till? I imagine I will be as black and fetid as the horde at Scarlett’s heels, crowding her wagon, thundering to rip it apart, wheel by rivet.
Replace ropes with bullets. Hound dogs with German shepherds. A gray uniform with a bulletproof vest. Nothing is new.
Mr. Whitehead has generally not been one for full-throated celebration of African-American heroes. He and a friend once played around with a satirical website called Nat Turner Overdrive. The day after Barack Obama’s election in 2008, he published a riff of an Op-Ed in The New York Times hailing it as a historic victory for “Skinny Black Guys” like Sammy Davis Jr., Michael Jackson and himself.
In “The Underground Railroad,” he talks about racial progress, and its limits, in a more direct, even prophetic way. Near the end, a character is seen heading for St. Louis — or, perhaps, Ferguson, Mo., present-minded readers might find themselves thinking
Mr. Whitehead said he saw his closing pages as optimistic, but also realistic.
“I find the last pages very hopeful,” he said. “But still, wherever we go, we’re still in America, which is an imperfect place. That’s the reality of things.”
ABC is slated to release the Shonda Rhimes-produced historical drama Still Star Crossed later this year. The show is based on Melissa Taub’s book of the same name.
Food & horror are two of my favourite topics, so of course the Food & Horror series on The Book Smugglers’ website is one of my favourite things ever. From the most recent post:
From the moment we become sentient, our survival and success in life is dependent on pattern recognition, and on our understanding of cause and effect. Language comes from pattern recognition – names, prayers, invocations, the development of method. We learn quickly and early that specific actions increase (or decrease) our chances of achievement at whatever goal we’ve set ourselves. Though we don’t often think about it, this underlying certainty gives shape to our lives and to the choices we make, because we expect those choices to have meaning.
Truly blind consumption spits in the face of all that. It disrupts the idea of cause and effect, because there’s no cause that we can understand to indicate what, specifically, has been done (or has failed to be done) to cause the subsequent effect. It disrupts the idea of pattern recognition because there is no pattern – pattern implies meaning; an organised or otherwise explainable sequence of events that can be understood and therefore to some degree manipulated.