Charlie Pride, “Omar” and Thomas Jefferson

Continuing correspondance ….


Charlie Pride. Now that’s name I haven’t heard for a while. Thx for the link.  San Antone is indeed the name of the place. My Granny, an inveterate racist, was born there.

You are absolutely right that a hypothetical mauvaise foi / victimization CRT (critical race theory) argument about Cobden fans of Pride would be silly.

The problem with the woke CRT approach is that its audience is only a narrow subsection of white society: those who already feel guilty. The ones who do not are and will be impervious to it. And those whites who have already thought or felt their way through the indeniable racism of the wider society will eventually dismiss the woke elect as self-righteous and, well, as silly. Which attitude is already beginning to spread. Shit, even AOC is giving cooking lessons.

I did watch the latest Glenn Show and noticed John’s new posture, which I doubt he’ll pursue for long. Empathy is one of his prime characteristics but I share your discomfort with his line of thought. Not so much because of whatever he or Glenn might say about “Omar”, a Straw Man if ever there was one, but also about Jefferson, who was also serving on this occasion as a kind of Straw Man. Telling about relatively conventional and pious-thinking Glenn was his remark about Sally Hemmings and her/their children.

How could he, TJ, have done that to his children? I think Glenn meant not only “made” them but then thought of them as chattel. But that’s what children were in general. Forget the “Enlightenment”, which is an intellectual construct for the … pious white privileged.

First of all, such a remark depends upon a culturally specific position, a contemporary one. Let’s leave race aside for a sec. We are talking about a man, TJ, whose behaviour was shaped two and a half centuries ago, one whom we, that is Glenn, is judging on the basis of some Xtianized view of the nuclear family, dare I say on some US 50s vision of family life, more white Leave It To Beaver than deep Black family values but still …

Moreover, anyone with a shred of self-knowledge will have to own up to the subterranean appeal of fucking a slave, and the forms of desire and, yes, love that might engender. The Latin poets, in particular Propertius, were elegant on the delights of owning or even being a slave in sex/love. Is it too much to ask that Glenn in particular be aware of the 1000 varieties of love outside the local culture of his life span?

(Let me mention in passing that one recent local UCI quandry is what to do with the “rapes” in Ovid in a survey course. The jerk-knee response is to cancel him from the curriculum, but some folks think trigger warnings will do. No further comment.)

What really gets me is how narrow a view of human nature these folks, both woke and anti-woke, have. For the record, I don’t think the right, alt or not, is any better.

Glad you are able to connect with the SB students. I bet more of them than the local Francos would entertain the joys of love in/as bondage. Though some of the Africans, north or not, might have a glimmer, though they know the rules here and would not own up to it.

On the implied contrast between European and N American educational standards, I recently provided some notes to a grad student at Aix, whose is writing on a Haitian novelist whom I met and glancingly wrote on.

Sure, it’s about “third world lit” and hence about race in some sense or another, but I was struck by the thorough, detailed and probingly professional nature of her questions, totally diff from what serves as critical thinking on this side of the pond.

I’m currently reading Lucretius in Alicia Stallings’ rhyming translation, which led me back to Stephen Greenblatt’s The Swerve, which turns around a 15th c. Italian humanist’s tracking down of the single extant mss of De rerum natura. Prob affected my ref to Propertius above and shaped my thinking on this morning ‘s rather pessimistic but intentionally provocative tweet.

Bravo for wine deliveries. I get one a month from Kermit Lynch nd occasionally from another shop I know of in Berkeley.

It’s finally early winter, quince season, but instead of making the standard Persian beef-quince stew, tomorrow I’m gonna whomp up a cinnamon- and tumeric-laced Moroccan tagine of chicken, caramelized quince and toasted walnuts, with copious garlic and harissa.