Fearless February 2023 Reading, Watching

God it was a difficult months for books to penetrate their way into my consciousness. They had to be wily, insistent.

Like Hilton Als’ White Girls and … didn’t I read something else?

A Handful of Days of Black History Month (February)

Immanuel Kant, Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View, “Introduction”
Late in the Anthropology Kant makes some of the comments about race that became part of the edifice of racial discrimination. That seems like a reasonable first contribution to Black History Month.
Downfall: The Case Against Boeing (2022)
Okay, not going to bother to try to explain how this might fit the conceit of Black History month. I just wanted something on in the background as I worked on this very page.
‘Tis a sad story, but one can’t help detect a certain bad taste (not of the Peter Jackson variety) in the title’s pun. Moreover, was there really a downfall for Boeing? The company paid a fine of $2.5 billion dollars, but it avoided criminal prosecution! Maybe this should be called “How to Kill Mostly Non-White People From Other Countries And Get Away With It!”
So it’s about non-whites … ? But not Blacks.
— James Baldwin, review essays for The Nation, Commentary, and
Hilton Als, White Girls, 5 pp.
I wish I could write like Hilton Als: it’s so lyrical, so lovely.

Paris is Burning (1990)
— Kant, Anthropology, 7 pp.
— Als, White Girls, 10 pp.

— Kendi, Stone, How to be a (Young) Antiracist, 9 pp.

Where is the Friend’s House (1987)
Directed by Abbas Kariostami, following a young boy struggling to deliver a notebook to his friend, so as to protect him from being expelled. So charming, uneventful, peaceful. The isolation chamber of childhood.

— Kendi, Stone, How, 10 pp.
Minions: The Rise of Gru (2022)

— Kant, Anthropology, 10 pp.
Fascinating passage on the danger of observing the freeplay of the imagination, dethroning reason. So Socratic! And the duality of apperception.
This point about the dangers of observation, especially when the subject knows that he or she is being observed, is … so weird. Kant had began this part of the book on this point, and even then I was perplexed, trying to figure out his motivation.
— Als, White Girls, 10 pp.

Fight the Power: How Hip Hop Changed the World (2023), “Under Siege”
Apoplexy watching Daryl Gates, the acquittal of Rodney King’s assailants, Latasha Harlins’ murder ignored.

The Batman (2022)
Bored, mostly. How many times can we tell this story?
— Ibram, Stone, How To, 5 pp.

Jeremiah 1-6
Thank YHWH someone’s here to put those Hebrews to task! It is a very peculiar book.
— NYRB on John Edgar Wideman
Another author who I haven’t read. His writings on incarceration seem like something I’d appreciate.
— Super Bowl LVII
As a cultural experience in its advertisements, this one was really a let down. And then there were the Eagles, who, as a Philadelphian, I wanted to win. They didn’t win.
— Als, White Girls, 15 pp.

— Jeremiah 7-8
— Als, 15 pp.
Within Our Gates (1919), first 30 minutes
Directed by Oscar Michaux, an early film by a Black director.

— Jeremiah, 9-10
— Als, 15 pp.

— NYRB on new LOA edition of Rachel Carson, Cormac McCarthy

— Als, 15 pp.
— Finished Within Our Gates.

Fight the Power, “Culture Wars”
— NYRB on Katherine Mansfield, Brazil’s recent election
Have I read a word by Katherine Mansfield? How have I not read a word by Katherine Mansfield?

The Crown, 3.10
Season 3 finale.
— Als, White Girls

Cormac McCarthy, All the Pretty Horses, 40 pp.
Began reading because of the article in the NYRB, although that article bears on recent (and most probably last) publications.

Still from the late Charlie Chaplin film "The Great Dictator", released in 19040, amid the war.

The Great Dictator (1940)

Goodnight, Mommy (2016), first hour
An astute viewer knows that the one of the boys does not exist. The threat comes from the “mother.” Who is she really?

— Als, White Girls, “This Lonesome Place”
An excellent essay about Flannery O’Connor.