Dollars for Dollops
Blindly devote yourself to formulary Z-074. Make triplicate copies send one to me, one to Human Resources, and one to the Department of Repressive Operations. Sing, glory be! Gloriole and halo benders and everything is ordinary until it is not. Then we’ll have to consider how I melt multiphasic multiplying the meaning of nothing this is something unseen… what doesn’t kill you makes you spastic and ekphrastic. Please don’t embarrass me in front of my secular pilgrims, they’re in a hurry and flying fast. They’re fasting at the speed of light, grasping at the site of blight. Remember the feeling you had when your teeth were removed with a mallet. Remember the pity you felt at shaving your beard with a hatchet? The nicks and the deep lacerations from running in place with shaving cream in your eye sockets and one hand in your pocket? Well, that’s what I’m feeling now.
What I’m Reading, or: What I Just Finished Reading (a continuing series)
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent / Isabel Wilkerson (2020)
Wilkerson makes the connections between the historic treatment of Black Americans and the Nazi’s treatment of Jews in the years before and during World War II; and the Indian caste system, comparing African Americans to India’s lowest caste Dalits. Wilkerson provides myriad examples and anecdotes.
The book is at its best when it’s laser focused on the issue of caste in the United States.
It’s also instructive to be reminded of how closely the Nazi’s studied, and were enthralled by, the laws and mores that guided dominant caste Americans’s treatment of Black Americans — a system that continues to dehumanize.
“Race, in the United States, is the visible agent of the unseen force of caste. Caste is the bones, race the skin… Race is what we can see, the physical traits that have been given arbitrary meaning and become shorthand for who a person is. Caste is the powerful infrastructure that holds each group in its place.”
This book feels like it should be engineered into every American’s DNA.
“It is not luxury cars and watches, country clubs and private banks, but knowing without thinking that you are one up from another based on rules not set down in paper but reinforced in most every commercial, television show, or billboard, from boardrooms to newsrooms to gated subdivisions to who gets killed first in the first half hour of a movie. This is the banality of caste.”
— Isabel Wilkerson / Caste: The Origins of our Discontents