Tuesday, May 08, 2018

"Negroland: A Memoir" by Margo Jefferson

I'm sharing a few thoughts on Margo Jefferson's Negroland: A Memoir.

An idea which struck me was her insistence that contemplation of suicide is a civil right or privilege which blacks in America should seek to earn:
But one white female privilege had always been withheld from the girls of Negroland. Aside from the privilege of actually being white, they had been denied the privilege of freely yielding to depression, of flaunting neurosis as a mark of social and psychic complexity. A privilege that was glorified in the literature of white female suffering and resistance. A privilege Good Negro Girls had been denied by our history of duty, obligation, and discipline. Because our people had endured horrors and prevailed, even triumphed, their descendants should be too strong and too proud for such behavior. We were to be ladies, responsible Negro women, and indomitable Black Women. We were not to be depressed or unduly high-strung; we were not to have nervous collapses. We had a legacy. We were too strong for that. I craved the right to turn my face to the wall, to create a death commensurate with bourgeois achievement, political awareness, and aesthetically compelling feminine despair. (pp. 171-2)
I've never been very good dealing with people with depression, and I criticized Jay Asher's Th1rteen R3asons Why.

Here's a passage on housing segregation in Hyde Park, the home of University of Chicago, in the 1960s (p. 147):



Here's a passage about the mental price Margo Jefferson paid as a child trying to navigate the rules of race, gender and class which had been imposed on her and how her adult life has been an attempt to become "a person of inner consequence." (p. 156)


Favorite Quote: F Scott Fitzgerald, "The Last Tycoon" - "learned tolerance, kindness, forebearance, and even affection like lessons"

F. Scott Fitzgerald never finished the novel The Last Tycoon. Elia Kazan directed a 1976 movie based on the novel. Amazon produced one season of a series based on the novel.

From p. 97, a description of  "Hollywood studio manager Monroe Stahr, clearly based on Irving Thalberg (head of the film company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), whom Fitzgerald had encountered several times." (Wikipedia)
Like many brilliant men, he had grown up dead cold. Beginning at about twelve, probably, with the total rejection common to those of extraordinary mental powers, the "See here: this is all wrong -- a mess -- all a lie -- and a sham --," he swept it all away, everything, as men of his type do; and then instead of being a son-of-a-bitch as most of them are, he looked around at the barrenness that was left and said to himself, "This will never do." And so he had learned tolerance, kindness, forebearance, and even affection like lessons. (emphasis in original)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The British Mosque: An Architectural and Social History by Shahed Saleem

A mosque is more about process, argues Saleem, than it is about the finished product. It is about the often slow, “iterative” business by which a community defines its needs, finds a site, raises money and commissions a building. 
Mosques, he says, are “vehicles for the dynamic reconstruction of tradition” and their conservatism can be explained as a reaction to both racism and homesickness for countries of origin. 
His own preferences do, however, become clear, in a non-traditional mosque that he has himself designed in Bethnal Green, London. He also likes the abstractly Islamic Cambridge mosque, now being built to the designs of Marks Barfield, architects of the London Eye. And, surely, the future of mosque design should indeed be about finding a British Islamic way of building to stand alongside – rather than copy – those of the Mahgreb, or Turkey, or the subcontinent. Just don’t expect this transformation to happen quickly.
I have not read the book. Find it in a library near you.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Walking Dead S8E09 "Honor" Portrayed Two Muslim Religious Texts #TWD

[Spoiler Alert] On AMC's The Walking Dead, in Season 8, Episode 9 "Honor," as Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) is burying his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), he repeats the mantra "My mercy prevails over my wrath."


This is a translation of a passage in Sahih al-Bukhari, an important collection of narrations about the deeds and words attributed to the Messenger Muhammad ﷺ:

قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم لما قضى الله الخلق كتب في كتابه فهو عنده فوق العرش إن رحمتي غلبت غضبي

Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "When Allah completed the creation, He wrote in His Book which is with Him on His Throne, "My Mercy overpowers My Anger."

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hey Creative People! Is it the right time for a remake of "The Prisoners of Quai Dong" by Victor Kolpacoff?

My local public library regularly removes books from its shelves for a variety of reasons. I purchased about 15 boxes of books through the Friends of the Library, a volunteer organization which sells these books to fund efforts to support the public libraries in my city. I've sold, exchanged and given away most of the books in those 15 boxes. Recently, I received an order through my Amazon store for The Prisoners of Quai Dong by Victor Kolpacoff. Before fulfilling the order, I read the book. I can't do a proper review of it, but I wanted to give you creative people out there a heads up that this book may be a productive basis for a play or movie or a graphic novel.