Thursday, June 19, 2014

Identity Assasins in Academics - Even an African American Icon is Fair Game.

"…and by that crimson setting sun, peace come to Forest Glade, and of the Redskins, they was none, but history had been made…" Tully Crow (Lee Marvin)                                             
                                             “It’s banned, o’course” Flann O'Brien

Chick Fil-A makes some serious bird.  One of Chicago's most hilarious alderman, the ever hysterical hipster of the 1st Ward Proco Joe Moreno attempted to ban Chick Fil-A from selling its high quality poultry treats within the Chicago city, because the owners of the fried chicken outlet are devout Christians and do not accept the meme that Two Dads make a Marriage, unlike the current Sonic fast-food commercials and that  is thought crime in au courant Chicago values.

Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, no stranger group thought, heartily agreed with Proco Joe Moreno and in so doing insulted millions of Chicago Christians, Jews and Muslims, as well as fans of tasty chickens.  Chick Filay is cooking up a storm in Chicago - six days a week, because the owners honor the Sabbath.

No ban. Ban Fail.
Americans who subsist on a diet of bullshit, a huge demographic, continue to ban books, flags, crucifixes, opinions that counter to pop culture and HBO, octogenarian slum-lord NBA franchise owners who pillow talk stupidities to the skank du jour, traditional marriage, and the Washington Redskins. 

Redskins will be banned.  I wonder if Joe Kapp* is yet angry about the insensitive franchise that drafted him into the NFL ? Joe Kapp is a Native American. 

Anyone can be banned or have one's identity 'disqualified' and ultimately 'disappeared.'   It is the American Intellectual Way dating back to Brook Farm, Ralphie Emerson, Dave Thoreau, Dr. Lyman Beecher, William Lloyd Garrison, Jane Addams, John Dewey and Roger Baldwin.

Remember Booker T. Washington? John Carroll?  John Dos Passos? Commodore John Barry? Gen. James Shields?   Nikola Tesla?  Mary Harris Jones?  Of course not, as they have been all but effectively disappeared. 

Playing ball with the elite is progressive. Agree and do not disagree and everything will be just Jake.  It does not matter, one's level of achievement, valor, honesty, if the Gold Standard is violated a life, a book, an event is turned to lead by Progressive American Intellectual/Political alchemy.

Take Ralph Ellison, an African American author awarded the National Book Award when I was a wee baby.

Ralph Ellison was the subject of a biography that carved the dead Black up good and proper.  I read Invisible Man many times and students at Leo High School continue to read this singular novel.   Ellison was defended by none other than greatest living essayist of modern times, Joseph Epstein. Epstein took issue with the agenda Ellison biographer Arnold Rampersad.  Unlike so many Americans, Joe Epstein never dines at the All You Can Eat BS Buffet. Voila~!

The tip-off for the kind of book Rampersad has written comes in its blurbs, four of five of which are provided by writers who comprise the main body of the African American intellectual establishment in America: the literary critic and historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., the biographer (of W.E.B.Du Bois) David Levering Lewis, the philosopher Cornel West, and the novelist Toni Morrison. (Where, one wonders, was Maya?) In his play Purlie Victorious, Ossie Davis has one of his characters say to another, "You are a disgrace to the Negro profession." This, really, is the charge, the organizing principle behind Arnold Rampersad's attack on Ralph Ellison: He was a disgrace to the Negro (now African-American) profession. Ellison would, of course, have understood, for there were few things he disliked more than the notion of black establishments and an African-American profession.
Here, without the tedium of his repeated charges, is Rampersad's bill of complaint against Ralph Ellison: He was an ungrateful son, a bad brother, a cheating and otherwise often cruel husband, an unreliable friend. He was a spendthrift (on himself), a cheapskate (when it came to other people), a snob, an elitist, an ingrate, ill-tempered; also condescending, disloyal, a sloppy, sometimes mean, drunk. Did I neglect to mention that he was a misogynist, pretentious, and without elementary sympathy for the young? And, oh yes, he was a boring teacher--though, for some unexplained reason, he failed to sleep with his students. Other than that he was not at all a bad guy.
I never thought Ralph Ellison to be a bad guy either so I took a look at an interview with Arnold Pampersad offered by Book Slut

It’s interesting to me that socially, at a certain point, he seemed to become interested in WASP patronage. In that respect, I don’t think he’s that different from certain Jews. In the book I [call it the] “platinum card of social prestige” associated with WASPs like Robert Penn Warren.. . . One thing that it could be said about Ralph Ellison and Jews is that he remained loyal to what he regarded as the best of Jewish culture to the end of his life. He never surrendered to any kind of anti-Semitism, even though his social climbings took him out of the world of Jews to the world of highly cultivated and wealthy WASPs. When Mrs. Guggenheimer, the person to whom he dedicated Invisible Man, died, he made a distinction between younger Jews and older Jews, who had known more suffering, who had greater difficulty in negotiating the territory between foreignness and Americanness and the old ways and the new ones. And he came down for the older people, who had paid a higher price for that negotiation of the American territory. That’s not a bad reflection on his part. It’s something a lot of people would sympathize with in seeing American Jewry.
Jews are the platinum card of social prestige? The WASP is the Gold Standard?  What valuation might Arnold Rampersad's semiotic hierarchy of valuation place an Irish Catholic from Chicago ?  Copper? Tin? Lead?

Among the many 'crimes' Arnold Rampersad indicts Ralph Ellison for future 'disappearnce' is the great man's refusal re- identify himself, much less allow snippy academic eunuchs to identify him.

:“Who wills to be a Negro?” Ellison says. “I do. I will to be a Negro. I’m proud to be a Negro.” Well, he should have recognized that many blacks could not say that and really mean it. I think he meant it. He believed in it. But they needed the therapy of the Black Power and black arts years in order to get a firmer grip on their sense of themselves and their belonging to America, even though there was a great deal of destructiveness that took place at that time. And I think, personally, that many people lost their way and might have been better served by being closer to Ellison’s definition of blackness or Negroness than the more volatile definitions that were emerging in the ’60s and ’70s.

How dare one? Easily, if you stands for something and refuses to fall for anything.

Well, ban me blind. 

*  Kapp was drafted in the 18th round of the 1959 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, who owned his rights to play professional football in the United States. After the draft, Washington did not contact him, so his only choice was to accept the offer from Jim Finks, the general manager of the CFL's Calgary Stampeders.

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