This Thing Called Race: Adichie’s “Americanah”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a long and winding love story, unavoidably about race:

“I mean ‘nigger is a word that exists. People use it. It is part of America. It has caused a lot of pain to people and I think it is insulting to bleep it out. (168) This Thing Called Race: Adichie's "Americanah"Ifemelu wanted, suddenly and desperately, to be from the country of people who gave and not those who received, to be one of those who had and could therefore bask in the grace of having given, to be among those who could afford copious pity and empathy. (209)

One of Adichie’s devices, which works to varying effect, is the citation of Ifemelu’s blog: Dear Non-American Black, when you make the choice to come to America, you become black. Stop arguing. Stop saying I’m Jamaican or I’m Ghanian. America doesn’t care. (273) This Thing Called Race: Adichie's "Americanah"Later, on the train to Essex, he noticed that all the people around him were Nigerians, loud conversations in Yoruba and Pidgin filled the carriage, and for a moment he saw the unfettered non-white foreignness of this scene through the suspicious eye of the white women on the tube. (320)

The Problem with Political Donations

Make one contribution of a mere $25…and then they never leave you be. The Problem with Political DonationsEvery day – and through the night – even if you unsubscribe, the emails never stop. The Problem with Political DonationsLeading you to question whether to bother backing a horse again.

Update: Apparently I’m in trouble from Quist campaign again:The Problem with Political Donations

President Trump & “The Plot Against America”

Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America chronicles the possibility of Charles Lindbergh, American hero and Nazi sympathizer, defeating Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 election, leading America into isolationism and violent Antisemitism. Most striking of all about this alternate reality is its similarities with today’s Trump America: “…when they turned on the news, they were devastated by the speed with which everything dreadful was happening.” (329) In the book’s postscript, Roth reprints Lindbergh’s speech against involvement in World War II on September 11, 1941:

The subterfuge and propaganda that exists in our country is obvious on every side. These war agitators comprise only a small minority of our people, but they control a tremendous influence. Against the determination of the American people…they have marshaled the power of the propaganda, their money, their patronage. The Jewish people’s greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government.

Trump, identical to Lindbergh, refuses to address the hate and violence that stems from words like these.
And instead soldiers forth, blind and naked, leaving us to wonder where this reality, not as alternate as most would like, might lead.

The Precedence of Trump’s Silent Treatment

So-Called President Trump’s refusal to answer questions is nothing new. The Precedence of Trump's Silent TreatmentCharlton Heston nailed this role beautifully in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine. The Precedence of Trump's Silent TreatmentAs did Tom Cruise in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. The Precedence of Trump's Silent TreatmentWell, as have many young folks from time immemorial.The Precedence of Trump's Silent Treatment

Happy Holidays, if I Don’t See You

Hey, happy holidays if I don’t see you! I hope your fast goes well. Happy New Year’s, Valentine’s and Easter too. I hope that this new president doesn’t depress you or global warming and these terrorists, yeah, I hope they cut it out, and people, you know, get a fair wage for their work. Happy birthday too, and I hope your mom’s funeral isn’t too bad and that cancer of yours gets better. I mean, if I don’t see you.*

(*-Original concept, Edward Emerson)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: the Anti-Trump

Ranting isn’t enough. Neither is reason nor wit. We need more. We need vision. We need fury. We need the Anti-Trump. antitrumpWhile the comedians do try – Bee, Colbert, Oliver, Noah – they always fail in looking for a laugh, such as Trevor Noah’s recent quip to alt-right spinster Tomi Lahren’s stating, “I don’t see color”: What do you do at a traffic light?trevor-noah

Elizabeth Warren is on the right track: Trump is not draining the swamp, nope. He’s inviting the biggest, ugliest swamp monsters in the front door, and he’s turning them loose on our government and our economy.elizabeth-warrenBut her rhetoric is too measured, too precise. The Anti-Trump must stare into the hateful void to find the words to break the spell.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie seems to have the right stuffThe election of Donald Trump has flattened the poetry in America’s founding philosophy: the country born from an idea of freedom is to be governed by an unstable, stubbornly uninformed, authoritarian demagogue. chimamanda-ngozi-adichieNow is the time to confront the weak core at the heart of America’s addiction to optimism; it allows too little room for resilience, and too much for fragility. Now is not the time to tiptoe around historical references. Recalling Nazism is not extreme; it is the astute response of those who know that history gives both context and warning. (The New Yorker Magazine, Nov.30/16)

Yes, now is the time.

Blitzer & Co: Heads Must Go

They talk. And talk. And talk. And they don’t say anything. They just talk. Blitzer & Co: Heads Must GoAnd talk some more. That’s it. They don’t say anything real. They are wrong. They are right. They are in between. They just go one talking. And talking.Blitzer & Co: Heads Must GoCan’t they be removed? Or at least replaced? Maybe Trump could fire them.

Blitzer & Co: Heads Must GoAt least he could get that one thing right.

Goddamned Consideration

Do I really have to move out of your way? Why can’t I just stand in the door? Why can’t I just throw my garbage where I want? Why do I have to listen to anyone? What’s the point in bothering with anyone else’s expectations? None of that is of interest to me. Goddamned ConsiderationI have other things to do. I am taking care of me. I’m the most important person in the world. Why don’t you already know that?

Trump: America’s Greatest Stand-Up

Like anyone with a brain, I have been flummoxed by the sensational rise of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. Trump: America's Greatest Stand-UpIn Donald McGrath’s New Yorker piece, We Have a Serious Problemit was surmised that Trump was trying to bow out of the race asap: “’I said that Megyn Kelly was menstruating. I insulted Carly Fiorina’s face. I did a routine about Ben Carson’s belt that should have provoked a psychiatric intervention. I proposed internment camps for the Muslims already here, and you’re telling me that my numbers are what?’” Trump: America's Greatest Stand-UpOthers have theorized that the American electorate always oscillates between extremes, making the bombastic Trump an ideal follow-up to Obama’s taciturn manner. But still…Donald Trump? The businessman who has spun his bankruptcies as “facts of life”? The guy who says whatever pops into his mind? That guy?The reality television star whose tag-line is “You’re fired”? It’s not possible. Is it? Trump: America's Greatest Stand-UpI admit to being transfixed by Trump’s pontificating, his meandering monologues that emphasize ADHD more than repetitive policy. He delivered a classic on Saturday, February 27 in Bentonville, Arkansas, stumping for the Super Tuesday primaries. He started with an attack on The New York Times for their stories against him: It’s the worst newspaper. It is a dead newspaper going out of business. These are really bad people. These are really bad.

He mused on how he might behave in the White House: The president is calling an air conditioning company. I may make some of the calls. They’re going to say it’s terribly un-presidential, but I don’t care, all right?

He reflected on the game of politics: They’re all playing games, folks. It’s cute, it’s fun. It’s life. It’s the way life is, OK, it’s the way life is.Trump: America's Greatest Stand-UpHe explained why he is the best choice: I went to the Wharton School of Finance, which is considered the best business school. You’ve got to be very smart to get into that school, very smart. The Rubios of the world could not get into that school, believe me. They don’t have the capacity. But I go to Wharton, I’m smart. You’re smart. But you don’t have to be smart.

It hit me me like a Trumpism. I’ve been thinking about this all wrong. I have believed that Donald Trump was running for president, actually running for office. But that’s not it at all. It’s a ruse. Trump isn’t campaigning for president. His statement is much bigger picture than that. He is on a tour not for political office but as a performance artist, on the greatest comedy tour of all time. He has amalgamated the bitter monologues of Lenny Bruce with the explosive delivery of Lewis Black and the unwavering hucksterism of Andy Kaufman to create a character for the ages – Donald Who Would Be Chief. Trump: America's Greatest Stand-UpAnd we don’t even know it yet. Because he hasn’t told us. There’s been no reveal. Nothing. There may never be. That’s genius, right? Truly beyond belief. No doubt about that. As long as he doesn’t take this tour thing around the world. That could be bad…really, really bad. His shtick might go over their heads.