Blog #04 - I'm going to talk about the convention of newness
The recent white obsession with Sexyy Red has been making me want to do something unprecedented. If your compliment begins with “actually” or “actually so” you actually hate them.
There have been a string of really funny and unfortunate things happening to/around me for the month of August so here I am not recapping them for you. My dear friend and fellow writer Jordan showed me the wonders of Ishmael Reed when I was extremely unemployed and down bad like 6 months ago and I can’t stop thinking about him. This is a major departure from the first sentence. He told me that in addition to being a creative mind of remark (both in his stage plays and fiction), Reed was known as a hater. In the context of the 1970s, he was really what a lot of people today gesture towards and ultimately fail at: being a critic. He maintained a belief that the chosen cool and important writer scene, the post-beatnik high-octane prose crew were writing as a means to pose (their bodies), not pose questions, postulate answers—the things he found most valuable in his own work. Reed ran an underground publication called the East Village Other with a white man, he maintained voice and presence because he refused to be seen as someone who poses, it’s not in his nature. He dropped out of college his junior year because he didn’t want to be a “slave to somebody else’s reading lists,” a remark he walks back, saying “I kind of regret the decision now because I've gotten some of the most racist and horrible things said to me because of this.” He had a daughter named Timothy (may she rest in peace). He wrote a fucking play called The Haunting of Lin Manuel Miranda because he really had a bone to pick with Hamilton, the Broadway play. He had another daughter named Tennessee with his second wife. He wrote novels about the virile understanding of needing to be iconic, and doing anything to get it—poisoning your mind, backstabbing your loved ones, murder. “Real One” quite literally does not begin to describe why Ishmael Reed is important, you simply just have to Read (get it)?
I bring Ishmael Reed up so abruptly because what has become metapopular (stab me in the chest) is an idea of popular that poses as his kind of critique. The anti-poser agenda is the slimiest of agendas. The cargo short wearing Cargo Collective demon hoarde must be reminded that the power of Christ compels them. The popular culture writers redefining, recontextualizing, need to be re-minded that every prefix the attach to some made up cause or trend is a lie, is a farce, and makes them look equal parts delusional and idiotic (I’d make a word up but I’m talking about how making words up is dumb so let’s not). It’s vintage leather jackets with logos on them, it’s beyond aesthetic markers of the scene—the Balenciaga motorcycle bags the ribbons in the hair and tiny non-prescription eyeglasses and ballet flats—it’s the way this nasty take on taste has become a moniker for being cool in a way that somehow critiques cool at the same time, it’s the way looking has become lying before our very eyes and everyone seems to be very okay with it. If the way you live brings you a feeling of overall convenience and comfortability, you cannot fancy yourself a critic without becoming a member of the aforementioned class of liars.
This is newness: I do not hate, I do not love really, more than about 11 people. I find myself brushed up against the more social parts of writing and being written (socially) by people I fundamentally do not care about. Have you noticed the more constrained reactions from certain (white) people when you tell them you do not care about their actions? As if the reminder that their lane does not, cannot and will not ever intersect with yours somehow means that you place yourself above them, in a way? There is a very stark difference between self-assurance and self-importance; what other people do does not affect you unless you let it, this should be unspoken, but unfortunately this is what a lot of people cannot stop writing about. Please read into this as much as you’d like, but do not try and put names in my mouth. Please be less pathetic; I mean the word in a non derogatory way, to refer to those of you whose existence is fed on the empathy/apathy/sympathy/pity of others. This is what Ishmael Reed has taught me.