In which I have a bit of a meltdown

The weather is still amazing.

The Habs are in the playoffs,

I had a decent night’s sleep,

all in all,

not too bad,

here at,

bookish butch central.

Yesterday, I acquired,

a whole bunch of books,

at the bookstore,

some weird and interesting,

stuff,

a few books,

that I thought,

“I’ve always wanted to read that”

One of them is,

Soul On Ice,

Eldridge Cleaver.

Cleaver was a big man,

in the Black Panthers,

he called himself,

the Minister of Information.

I’m interested,

in clandestine,

political movements,

of the past,

The I.R.A,

the F.L.Q.

and the Black Panthers.

Revolutionary movements,

that start,

with lofty ideas,

and often degenerate,

into violent,

narrow focused,

power trips.

I am interested in the history,

of oppression,

and the attempts to rise,

above,

that oppression.

Soul On Ice,

is a book of essays,

and looks,

like it might be,

a disturbing read,

for instance,

one of the essays,

is about raping,

white women,

in order to stick it to,

The Man.

Ok, this is an old book,

still,

why is it,

that women,

are always the victims,

of choice,

for men who,

feel weak and disenfranchised,

this goes on,

still today,

in troubled,

parts of the world,

in our parts of the world.

If the world emasculates you,

beat up your wife,

your girlfriend,

kick your dog,

sick stuff.

I don’t mean,

to be reductive,

I, in no way,

say men are like that,

or that the ideas,

of revolution,

are beset with this kind,

of attitude.

It is however, undeniable,

that women and girls,

bear the brunt,

of war, revolution, and poverty.

Sorry, girls,

didn’t mean to get all soapboxish,

talking about this book sent,

me on a bit of a tiraid,

maybe, I should just,

read it and tell you,

what I think,

it qualifies for,

The Bottom Of The Box,

category,

it’s hard to find,

and is in sorry ass,

condition.

I’ll let you know.

Another book which was,

part of the acquisitions was,

Freakonomics,

I’ve read a lot,

about this book,

controversial,

and brilliant,

apparently.

I think I’ll read that next.

I gave up on Forster’s Maurice,

I hated it.

Well, I’m going downtown,

shop and walk,

I wish you all,

an excellent Sunday.

Later girls,

BB

Published by

Bookish Butch

I am a bookish butch in my very early fifties. I live in Montréal and always have. I used to run a small used bookstore. Reading keeps me sane. My latest jiggie is photography, book project in the works, living the dream

9 thoughts on “In which I have a bit of a meltdown”

  1. Leroy Eldridge Cleaver. Eldridge Cleaver…hmmmm. Maybe you should treat ‘Soul on Ice’ in the manner that African American literature specialist often treat it. How? Well, we pretend that he didn’t write those misogynist, evil things and concentrate on the style and structure of his essays…the acceptable ones of course.

    There are a number of ‘definitive’ African American literature anthologies–dated but held in high esteem is ‘The Negro Caravan’, then ‘Afro-American Writing, next ‘Black Writers of America’, and finally and recently (relatively speaking) ‘The Norton Anthology of African American Literature’. Only two of these even mention Cleaver. The two that do, use essays from from ‘Soul on Ice’ which are less volatile.

    When I chose to teach Cleaver, I contextualized his writing–he was angry, emasculated, and in prison. Because the courses were literature courses and not Black studies, I tried to concentrate on where Cleaver’s work falls within the canon of African American literature.

    Diminishing Cleaver’s misogyny has simply always been both expedient and well “the way”. What is “The Way”? If one studies African American literature, one of the first things that one learns is that ‘everyone must work to Uplift the Race.’ This means that if someone does something, writes something which will bring down, The Race, then it should be ignored. Understand that I’m not condoning this way of being, I’m simply trying to explain. If you could talk with an old African American professor of literature, and ask him/her about Cleaver, you probably get something like, “You can’t pay that ‘boy’ no mind, he was in JAIL”. Thus, he is someone given little esteem or attention and is tossed in the pot with all the other ‘Angry young folk’ of the 60s and 70s.

    So, read ‘Soul on Ice’ if you must, but is he really the voice that you want to hear from that period?

    I know, I’m doing it…’The Way’, but really, if someone is going to read something from a period, I prefer that it be something worthy.

  2. P. S. I’m glad that you got out to shop. Studies show, (Ok, so it was just a fluff piece on ‘Good Morning America’, but they did talk with folk on the streets of NYC so it must be true!) that shopping is medicinal. It is actually good for your health…especially Senior Citizens, Shut-ins and just regular folk! So, happy, healthy shopping, BB:-)

  3. I started last night, the introduction and part of an essay on James Baldwin, but when he started saying there was a sycophantic love of the whites in Baldwin,
    I closed the book and thought to myself maybe tomorrow. I don’t know, I really don’t know. Thanks for sharing your expertise on the subject, it is most appreciated.

  4. Ah, “Notes on A Native Son”…I wondered if you would get as far as that essay; but, of course, you started there. It is maddening that he thought that he was ‘clever’ as he played on the title of Baldwin’s collected essays, which Baldwin got from Wright’s classic….remember, I did try to warn you. Think hard before allowing Cleaver’s vitriol into your consciousness.

  5. Never read Cleaver, only Stokely Carmichael of that crowd. I recall measured passion and persuasive rhetoric. Sounds good that I missed the vitriol.

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