Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Prophecy of James Baldwin on Michael Jackson

"The Michael Jackson cacophony is fascinating in that it is not about Jackson at all. I hope he has the good sense to know it and the good fortune to snatch his life out of the jaws of a carnivorous success. He will not swiftly be forgiven for having turned so many tables, for he damn sure grabbed the brass ring, and the man who broke the bank at Monte Carlo has nothing on Michael.

All that noise is about America, as the dishonest custodian of black life and wealth; the blacks, especially males, in America; and the burning, buried American guilt; and sex and sexual roles and sexual panic; money, success and despair--to all of which may now be added the bitter need to find a head on which to place the crown of Miss America.

Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated--in the main, abominably--because they are human beings who cause to echo, deep within us, our most profound terrors and desires."

--- James Baldwin from his 1985 essay, "There be Dragons", from his book, The Price of the Ticket...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Ray for finding and posting this. One of the things that I love about how you work as a thinker is to go back and seize that "which we know, but we know not that we know".

    I am so surprised about how so profoundly sad the coverage of MJ's death has affected me. Far too frequently over the last 24 hrs, indeed the last week, I have found myself weepy. "You are Not Alone" or "Heal the World" or "Man in the Mirror", bring real tears. So now, while early morning bluejays behave in my garden as though they are on a teenage junket to Disney World, you bring James Baldwin to whisper at me the knowing, pointing to the place from which the tears spring. Baldwin again giving us the label so that we can organize the ghosts in our lives and easily find them when they are needed.