". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

In The New Yorker

Sasha Frere-Jones in the New Yorker re the interview in Bomb.

[ Garnette Cadogan recently interviewed the musician, composer, and scholar Ned Sublette for Bomb, the only art magazine I have ever subscribed to. (Nothing against art magazines; I can let only so many things pile up unread.) Here is an excerpt from their conversation, which serves as a decent prĂ©cis of Sublette’s new book, “The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square”:

In its early days as a United States territory, New Orleans was in effect a colony of Virginia, a fact that I think hasn’t been sufficiently appreciated. The Virginians had surplus slave labor to dispose of. If you were an enslaved person in Virginia, you knew that not only did you have no future, your children and your grandchildren would be enslaved. In Spanish Louisiana, although enslaved people were treated badly, there did at least exist a path to freedom. And because enslaved people in Spanish Louisiana were also allowed to play ancestral drums and to dance in public and gather en masse by the hundreds, they had a past. They had an identity and a future. Imagine the difference in morale between those two populations.

Sublette read an early draft of the book’s last chapter, “We Won’t Bow Down,” at the 2005 Experience Music Project’s Pop Conference. It is the only academic presentation that has ever made me weep. ]

Now it's time to get ready for KGB.


Renegade Eye said...

Really interesting post.

Your posts inspired my upcoming Louisiana party.

Foxessa said...

Louisiana / New Orleans parties ARE fun!

Love, C.

Graeme said...

Wow, he made quite an impact