". . . 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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Running, Running, Running + Being Nibbled To Death By Ducks

The second half of our Midwestern tour was equal to Detroit at the very least -- which was brilliant -- and much better than the U of Wisconsin, in a certain sense, since there had been NO promotion done in Madison at all, and we were so tired (though the friends and the Other Niece more than made up for that, and it was actually good, just not the spoiling of ourselves that one can get all to easily too used to). Then it was The Wedding (and, o my goodness, the bride and the groom are already back from their honeymoon, which was a Caribbean cruise to 3 different islands and stays at resorts on these islands, very carefully set-up that they never see a Haitian, a Jamaican or a Mexican, except, of course in the service situation)..

After that came Chicago and Indiana, and both were brilliant. 

The night we got into Chicago we were given a lovely dinner in the gazebo deck of the enormous yard - garden of the residential building in which lives one of our hosts.  We met local activists and other move and shakers in the art scene and so on. The next morning we visited Publisher, stuffed the trunk of The Car with Slave Coasts for the Symphony Space merch table, a delicious and nutritious lunch with Editor at a  locavore place close to CRP, called "Farm" breaking the endless round of nothing but fat and candy that was the fare around The Wedding (my brother isn't joking when he says their idea of vegetables and fruit is ice cream). The Stone Art Bank Center event was shockingly successful, filled with brilliant people who asked important questions and who bought lots and lots of books.  We weren't expecting anyone to be there, but there they were, and most of them were quite young, which was heartening.

Indiana though -- o did they work us, but holy cow!  Our entire route to Columbus and then the route going home was entirely places on the Kentucky border Underground Railroad, through Indiana, Ohio, up to Detroit and Canada (Illinois wasn't a good place for self-emancipated for a variety of reasons).

So we did our last event (of 5 in less than 48 hours) at 9:30 AM at East Columbus High School with 150 high school students.  We kept them awake, to the great congratulations and marvel of the Director etc. who were responsible for inflicting us upon their seniors.  Then we left town at noon.  We arrived in NYC at 2 AM the following day -- Saturday, the 24th.  After which we were flamed o-u-t.

But we've hit the ground running anyway.  Script for Symphony Space, of course.  Radio interviews for another Detroit station and one in Chicago as results of our events in those cities.  Ned even more interviews: one with a young and upcoming Puerto Rican diva - star, about whom a film is being made, and he was shot talking with her about Puerto Rican music, she asking him questions and he answering.  And another for a documentary history series CNN is doing for Crisis Points in US History of the 20th century -- and the music that goes with it.  Ned's Crisis Point is -- what else? -- the Cuban Missile Crisis.

But the best thing about that Midwestern trip was boots on the ground, meeting so many intelligent, well-informed, active people doing so much in their communities -- and how much I learned!  Over these last 5 years I've been getting a picture of this country up close and live that so many people don't have.  Teaches one a lot all right.

But all this doesn't leave one much time for anything else, it seems.  We keep reading Grant -- 5 very long chapters I read out loud while driving, that's a few thousand miles worth.  We're in Reconstruction now.  

Myself I'm reading for research Fergus Bordewich's (2006) Bound for Canaan: The Underground Railroad an the War for the Soul of America, which really resonates from having the names of all these places in my eyes for so many miles, and hearing the stories from the people in Columbus.


My reading in Hollywood Confederacy territory is The Birth of A Nation: How a Legendary Filmmaker and A Crusading Editor Reignited America's Civil War (2014) by Dick Lehr, who has won the Pulitzer for one of his two books on the Boston gangster, Whitey Bulger. So, yah, this is a very good book, and a reliable one.

An academic history I'm finding intriguing is this one, published in 2015. The title has all the tags.  Though it's interesting I'm still not sure I'm following her argument. But the cover is pure genius, especially the bottom half.

Mike Colter plays Luke Cage with full swagaliciousness and fine acting.  We saw him first in The Good Wife, as Lamond Bishop.

My recreation media has been Netflix Original, Luke Cage, which went up Friday, September 30th.  About which I've actually got a lot to say, but not right now.  I haven't finished it yet, for one thing.  For another, I'm tired. 

And of course I'm very anxious concerning Hurricane Matthew for all kinds of reasons, starting with friends on all three islands it's hitting -- Cuba, Jamaica and Haiti -- and that it might get up here too.

Among other things with which I shall not trouble anyone is that my laptop's wireless quit on me, Windows 10 again high jacked the laptop to install updates of all sorts of the features that I'd laboriously labored to take off the laptop the first time it high jacked my laptop to install Windows 10 -- this is part of the nibbled to death by ducks part.

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