The Answer to FERGUSON

The answer to Feguson’s latest headline making descent into a Jim Crow south is the same as it was to that first headline. The answer is not simply protesting or marching or, worse, just taking to the streets as a mob.

No, the answer has to be something… better.

The answer is economics married to a good memory of the people in positions of authority in Ferguson, who have abused that authority. Ferguson is an overwhelmingly Black township. So this population speaking with their wallets and purses, boycotting any business that does not sign a petition calling for an immediate censure and removal of those involved (from officer, commanding officer, prosecuting attorney, presiding judge, mayor, and up) will elicit change that no amount of lipservice or tirades will.

And it’s about that population stepping up and once they have defined an economic base, forging a political base. The young people have to be the law enforcement, and the fire fighters, and the lawyers, and the politicians, because someone must hold the line, and if you would not have it be your enemy then you must fill those positions with yourself and your peers.

If you want to change the person always on one end of the gun, you must change the person… on the other.

Reprisals of a financial and political order.

Where Ferguson does your local Walmart, or McDonalds, or KFC, or mass transit or auto-shop or grocery… stand on this latest injustice? Find out, and boycott the ones not with you, and let the rest of America know and boycott with you.

Let them know… this far, no further.

Here beginneth the lesson.

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THE MAN OF BRONZE

The statue caught my eye.

The man of bronze looked at me, and I heard

on the wind

something singular

that spoke with voices legion.

Voices that had given

much;

their last,

best measure…

“Don’t fall backwards.”

The voice of the few

and the many

implored

“Don’t fall backwards.

Don’t give ground.

Go forward.

More to do.

Much, much, more.”

Much later I would try to convince myself that the man of bronze could not have spoken, the children of bronze could not have watched me with eyes the color of bombed churches and torched buses.

Much later I would try to find security in rational lies. I would try to un-hear what I heard.

But in the midnight hour

Always in the midnight hour

like an old, tired song

I hear them clearly.

With the voice of men

who go down to the sea in ships

and war heroes

swinging from southern trees

they cry

“More, more, more!”

—words and photos copyright 2012 HT

Today’s Recommended Short Story: THE GHOST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING by Hal Bennett

There is no one who has ever written quite like Hal Bennett, His stories live somewhere that is beyond our suffering, and beyond our joy, beyond our hopes, and beyond our despairs. His are alien deep space tableaus, as strange as any fiction of Bradbury’s outer space, but rooted in the far more alien landscapes of a Jim Crow tinged America. There’s a bitter truth in his tales, married to a wicked, merciless humor. His is the landscape of an irony and lynch-filled America. Where sense is a strange and undiscovered country, and insanity the norm, for those who live and die by insane designations.

Insanity Runs in our Family. These stories are a wry and disarmingly written indictment of the Insanity of a post Jim Crow America, and things we lost in the fire, but more than that, they are about our missives and our misgivings, and living in a wronged world… that resists being righted.

I continue to dip my toe into these stories of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, and yet somehow remarkable, and more than a bit magical. And I continue to be… both horrified and charmed.

THE GHOST OF MARTIN LUTHER KING is one of those stories, wherein Hal Bennett takes us on a spiderwalk above still restless and unsettled ground. B+.

Insanity runs in our Family– Price your copy here!

Review: INCOGNEGRO A Graphic Mystery by Mat Johnson & Warren Pleece

Those of you who’ve followed this blog over the years know I’m seldom at a loss for words.

I came close with this review of INCOGNEGRO.

INCOGNEGRO… wow. Anything I say about it will either be too little or too much. You should go into the book knowing very little (my thought on most things you seek to dazzle you) and you’ll get a lot out of it. All you need to know is it’s basically a murder mystery set in Jim Crow America. A 138pg 2008 Graphic novel, I don’t quite know how it avoided my radar, but this tale of an America of nearly a 100 years ago is RIVETING! I read it in one sitting, and went from unsure of it, to offended, to horrified, to chuckling and back again all in a space of pages.

Just am amazing mixture of pacing, scripting, dialog by Matt Johnson and expressive, pitch perfect visuals by Warren Pleece, that initially strikes me as too cartoony but ultimately works, creates a work that cannot easily be dismissed, forgotten, or put aside. I picked up the book for free at the library, but I am buying the hardcover, because it is one of those books (and this is the reason digital will never truly replace books for bibliophiles) that you want to have on your shelf, and own, and thumb through, and occasionally reread. It’s book as comfort as much as content, as talisman as much as text.

Matt Johnson writes as if the ghosts of Hal Bennett runs through him, combining that writer’s unequaled ability to pummel you with horror, then wring from you in the next breath, a sound not unlike laughter. And that ending is FANTASTIC!

Essential reading. A-.

My review is for the Hardcover. Use the link below to order your copy today. My Comic Shop is a site I personally use and recommend, and any purchases you do through my links brings me a few pennies which helps keep the blog running. So get yourself a great book and help the site, in one stroke. What could be easier. :).

Check status or purchase INCOGNEGRO here

“I grew up a Black boy who looked White. This was in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, during the height of the Black Power era, so I stood out a bit. My mom even got me a dashiki so I could fit in with the other kids, but the contrast between the colorful African garb and my nearly blond, straight brown hair just made things worse. Along with my cousin (half Black/half Jewish) I started fantasizing about living in another time, another situation, where my ethnic appearance would be an asset instead of a burden. We would “go Incognegro” we told ourselves as we ran around, pretending to be race spies in the war against White supremacy.”
— Matt Johnson, his forward to his book INCOGNEGRO

“That’s one thing that most of us know that most white folks don’t. That race doesn’t really exist. Culture? Ethnicity? Sure. Class too. But Race is just a bunch of rules meant to keep us on the bottom. Race is a strategy. The rest is just people acting. Playing roles.”
— INCOGNEGRO, Part I