Monday, February 07, 2011

romancing the (soap)stone... part 2

i've been waiting for the right moment to finish the (incomplete) thought began in part 1 of this posting; i had danced around what i was wanting to get at and before i knew it i had run out of time... it'll probably happen again and then this once-intended stand-alone blog entry will become a series with a life of its own and me playing dr. frankenstein attempting to keep it from discovering too much about itself.

at my core, i'm a villainous man. we just started watching the tv show 'heroes' (almost good, but mostly so boring) on netflix - i find myself always rooting for Sylar. the last couple of episodes (the middle of season 3) are dealing with the theme of "catalyst"... transformative events that get labeled as having "game-changing" effects. you often hear that word "game-changer" on talk shows featuring one-party-punditry where policies and political candidates are being championed... but just a few days ago i overheard Crystal use that word during a phone conversation she was having. later that day Bill Maher said to someone on his panel "if i hear that word [game-changer] one more time i'm gonna pfnkasdfipaeaefabne...." or something like that, i wasnt fully paying attention.

but "catalyst"... yes.

transformation tends to be at the heart of my creativity, as it is with most creative-types, so i'm particularly drawn to those phrasings when other folks are discussing them, whether political, social, artistic, literary or whatever the subject may be... i'm drawn in.

the catalyst for me to finish this attempted blog-thought came at me, again, by way of conversations Crystal was having with a friend. it concerned the poem "The Change" by Tony Hoagland in which he describes the uneasy demise of (some!) white privilege / perspective / authoritative might. Images of an increasingly empowered Blackness threaten the status quo and his poem reflects the shifting social response of many whites. It's a pretty good poem. it does depict a strong prejudice against Blackness in general and the black female athlete in particular, but its all within context - white fear, angst and ignorance are exposed at the expense of black stereotyping - neither aspect is particularly flattering, to whites or to blacks, but the resulting message is this: white folks had better get used to this assault to their personal mythologies; these black folks aint bullshittin'...

the lead black character in the poem, Vondella Aphrodite, represents exactly what i mean when i talk about my 'abstrack africana' aesthetic - how we must mythologize our own black images, praise them and hold them on high / above all 'normal' things - making our stories of us canonical, something to be romanticized about and shot at by those hating to see us, as a whole, rise up above the limitations society pre-determines us to have.

(will be back shortly with part 3 - fatboy hasta go punch the clock!)

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