today is fuck you wednesday brought to you by Ralph Ellison.
What if history was a gambler, instead of a force in a laboratory experiment, and the boys his ace in the hole? What if history was not a reasonable citizen, but a madman full of paranoid guile and these buys his agents, his big surprise! His own revenge? For they were outside, in the dark with Sambo, the dancing paper doll; taking it on the lambo with my fallen brother… running and dodging the forces of history instead of making a dominating stand.
I looked into the design of their faces, hardly a one that was unlike somone I’d known down South. Forgotten names sang through my head like forgotten scenes in dreams. I moved with the crowd, the sweat pouring off me, listening to the grinding roar of traffic, the growing sound of a record shop loudspeaker blaring a languid blues. I stopped. Was this all that would be recorded? Was this the only true history of the times, a mood blared by trumpets, trombones, saxophones and drums, a song with turgid, inadequate words?
Could he have meant–hell, he must have meant the principle, that we were to affirm the principle on which the country was built and not the men, or at least not the men who did the violence. Did he mean say “yes” because he knew that the principle was greater than the men, greater than the numbers and the vicious power and the all the methods used to corrupt its name? Did he mean to affirm the principle, which they themselves had dreamed into being out of the chaos and the darkness of the feudal past, and which they had violated and compromised to the point of absurdity even in their own corrupt minds? Or did he man that we had to take the responsibility for all of it, for the mean as well as the principle, because we were the heirs who must use the principle because no other fitted our needs?
so Invisible Man is one of the better books I’ve read; I certainly wish I’d read it earlier in my celestial voyage to some kind of 403b pension-funded senescence. Anyway I’m not here to bury ralph ellison or to praise him. no patience for any kind of exegesis or biting incites (pace Wizznutzz).
does this count as creole literature? i’m considering changing my ethnicity to “creole” or possible the more straightforward “european born in new world.”
anyway ralph ellison never got over writing Invisible Man, and several hundred thousand cells in my skull won’t either. i’m going to wander off and check on my laundry.