Friday, January 20th, 2012

Me in LARB + Who We Be Update

After a while it gets difficult not to start every blog post with the opening lines of “I Know You Got Soul”. So cutting to the chase–pretty much the single figure of speech that sums our media desires these days–I’ve been woodshedding for a couple-few years trying to bring this Who We Be: The Colorization of America book to life.

One always has doubts. This book is meant to talk about the rise, fall, and aftermath of multiculturalism through this–cue groans–“post-racial moment” “in the age of Obama”. I can’t remember which scholar I heard 3 years ago talking about how sick she was of every conference presenter adding on the phrase “in the age of Obama” to their title subhead. Zing.

The doubt has of course been conditioned by the weirdness of the topic itself. Like, hip-hop? Then multiculturalism? Um, Jeff, dude, that seems like a step back. Ask Aaron McGruder.

Maybe it is. But I’m a stubborn dude, so here I am now in the 6th year of my obsession with the idea that multiculturalism both succeeded brilliantly and failed horribly and yet most of us don’t know why. Plus the related idea that everyone’s still stuck on either the 60s or the character-content future thing–you know, the “post-racial” America–that’s not coming anytime soon. And the crowning arrogance that if no one knows why and everyone’s avoiding the topic, well then someone oughtta be in your face about it. Then I go and raise my own hand.

I’m getting close now. There’s a bit to go. I may take a beating for it, but now I’m more than ready to bruise anyone who wants to try. Which is not where I was as recently as a month ago.

Nuff solipsism and shit! This is getting embarrassing.

So here’s a new piece–the first in forever– that Sharon Mizota asked me to write. It appears on the fine website the Los Angeles Review of Books, whom you should support.

It’s about Catherine Opie’s new book Inauguration, and so of course, it takes on Obama and the legacy of identity politics, identity art, and multiculturalism. And a couple of other folks whom I probably shouldn’t have taken on.

Believer-style summary: Gratuitous reference to the L Word. Berkeley High slang. Possibly unnecessary nods to Delillo. Begrudging thanks to Klein and Danto. Undoubtedly the first use of the phrase “go ham” on the LARB website.

Anyway. Enjoy!

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