Aimé Césaire

This is the epigraph to Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric. I just purchased this text and haven’t had the opportunity to read it yet. It is a mixed-media project and along with her work in Citizen: An American Lyric, I am excited to read this as I think about public intellectuals and […]

Edward Said

I’m about to begin the second reading of a text that I read during the first year of graduate school, Edward Said’s Representations of the Intellectual, 1993 Reith Lecture series. I re-read the introduction and was immediately persuaded (again) to Said’s perspective on a kind moral office of the intellectual. It is expansive and generous. I […]

Basquiat

It was only after I read Edwidge Danticat’s chapter on Basquiat in Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artists at Work that I really became interested in Basquiat. The Brooklyn Museum is hosting an exhibit of his work that runs through the end of August. Can I make it there with my other obligations this summer. In “Jean-Michel Basquiat’s ‘Unknown […]

Jacob Lawrence’s “Play” (1999)

Museum of Modern Art: “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North” (through Sept. 7).  In the early 20th century, tens of thousands of African-Americans left the rural South for the industrial North in search of jobs, homes and respect. Officially, this MoMA show is meant to mark the […]

Preface to “Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia”

And not only historical fascism, the fascism of Hitler and Mussolini—which was able to mobilize and use the desire of the masses so effectively—but also the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits […]

James Baldwin on Moral Apathy…

I’m terrified at the moral apathy — the death of the heart which is happening in my country. These people have deluded themselves for so long, that they really don’t think I’m human. I base this on their conduct, not on what they say, and this means that they have become, in themselves, moral monsters. […]

from Paul Celan’s “Ansprache”

Only one thing remained close and reachable amid all losses: language. Yes, language.  In spite of everything it remained unlost [unverloren].  But it had to go through its own lack of answers [Antwortlosigkeit], through terrifying silence [furchtbares Verstummen], through the thousand darknesses of murderous speech.  It went through and gave no words for what happened; […]