Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bad thinking = bad wrighting

Derrick Hudson, assistant professor of African and African American Studies at Metro State, on Barack and the Rev:
The recent fallout over Pastor Jeremiah Wright and Sen. Barack Obama continues to create ripples in the presidential campaign.>
Fallout ripples. We're already in trouble.
For many, Wright's words were jarring as we heard them across radio airwaves, saw his impassioned gestures in the pulpit of Trinity United Church of Christ, and discussed the media coverage surrounding this explosive story.
Like so many commenters on the left, Hudson neglects to mention exactly what Wright said. This makes it possible (he thinks) to write the following:
I think it might be instructive to place the relationship of the pastor and the senator in terms of the blues and gospel impulses in African American music.

It's a musical exoneration!
Craig Werner, in his scholarship, offers some definitions of blues and gospel music. Blues music is essentially three heartbeats: fingering the jagged grain of one's brutal experience; finding a near-tragic, near-comic voice to express that experience; reaffirming one's existence.

Fingering the heartbeats of the jagged grain of one's brutal experience to reaffirm one's existence. Got it.
Blues, the second heartbeat, is what we heard in Wright's sermons. The blues mpulse realizes that good and evil runs [sic] through each of us. So, we saw Wright doing a jagged riff-a blues riff-on these sound bites. African Americans need these blues riffs to deal with some of the brutality of trying to be in an America "that has never been."
You mean the America that gives its own citizens AIDS, pushes crack in the ghettos, supports "state terrorism" against Palestinians and "never batted an eye" when it nuked Japan? That America that has never been?
As Obama reminds us in his Lincolnesque opening line, "We the people, to form a more perfect union" [Lincolnesque?] have never quite gotten there collectively as African Americans. Some may have "arrived," although as W.E.B. DuBois reminds us, what does it mean to "arrive?" Why did we feel we needed to get on the train in the first place?
Because you already had a ticket, and there was nowhere else to go.
I believe Obama, in his speech in Philadelphia, was drawing on the blues and gospel impulses in his remarks. Wright's sound bites were blues bites, but Obama reminded us that the larger legacy of the pastor's leadership was grounded in the gospel impulse. . . .

And, I do believe that Obama is the embodiment of the gospel impulse-he's aware of the deep felt needs, the burdens and tribulations of people and yet he remains relentlessly hopeful.
Deep-need-feeling, burden-and-tribulation-aware, relentlessly hopeful embodiment of the gospel impulse, or half-term senator from Chicago? No matter:
I am convinced this is one of his greatest attributes and makes him a special man for all Americans in this historical time. And, as he alluded in his closing remarks, he is prepared to use the jazz impulse to create a new America. . . .
The jazz impulse. Better than the socialist impulse, of course, but what about all the boozing and heroin addiction that goes with it? Yeah, quit interrupting:
I think the recent developments surrounding Wright and Obama might be making some of us uncomfortable with him. As humans, we must learn to live with paradox. The rose and the thorn. The ying and the yang. Something and nothing.>
Lies and truth.
Lately, the question for me is not whether Obama is ready, but are we? [By "we," of course, Derrick means "you," you racist piece of shit.] I think Wright's remarks, however troubling they might be, need to be weighed in the broader context of the African American experience in America.
Oh, that's original. Finally, Hudson invokes Saint Barack:
Obama, who transcends the blues impulse and still remains connected to it, prompts the conversations that can redeem, reconcile and advance all of America. I, along with the African American story, audaciously hope we will have the courage to hear the jagged edges so we can move to hopeful places, to the America that can be.
Well I, along with the European Oppressor story, audaciously welcome you to listen to as many jagged edges as you like. I'll be over there (making across-the-room gesture) having a l'il drinkie.

Update: Chet Baker.

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