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Ethnicity As Counterculture

Ethnicity As Counterculture

Counterculture is a praxis

Imagining the person of color as a counterculturalist, as a weirdo or bohemian, means imagining them as someone who cannot be processed easily into the threat/victim dichotomy, but must be imagined as someone who can wreak joy and pleasure and strangeness upon the world.

On Harold Bloom

1930–2019

This was one of Bloom’s gifts, to hear in any single work many voices. Poems were not themselves. A voice was not just one voice. And Bloom as Falstaff was not Bloom either, only a mask, a shadow: “I call to the mysterious one who yet / Shall walk the wet sands by the edge of the stream / And look most like me, being indeed my double, / And prove of all imaginable things / The most unlike, being my anti-self, / And standing by these characters disclose / All that I seek”—that’s Yeats, whose theory of antithetical characters was one of the sources to Bloom’s Anxiety of Influence.

Professional-Managerial Chasm

Professional-Managerial Chasm

A sociological designation turned into an epithet and hurled like a missile

In the early years of the 20th century, the professions emerged in their modern forms, establishing uniform standards of practice and conduct in all these fields. The new professionals were in general politically progressive, seeing their purpose as the renovation of American democracy and the modernization of conditions of work and life, in keeping with the momentous social and technological changes that had remade the world. Early on, they tended to imagine themselves as the antagonists of capitalists, not workers—or at least as brokers between the two. Social control, the production of rationalized plebeian behavior, was necessary for democracy to function, and might even gradually transform into socialism—the apotheosis of the principle of social rationality.

TRAUMA No. 215

TRAUMA No. 215

I belong to Organic Pesticides

I spent a lot of time choosing tea at the market and a lot of time preparing it. Before I got pregnant, it had never occurred to me to think of tea as a possible beverage. Or maybe before moving here. Now it’s not just a beverage but an experience, an intellectual emptying, another act of abandonment to accompany my state of infirmity. The Miden market was full of tisanes, loose dried herbs sniffed from burlap bags or metal containers, aromatic teas rich in history, teas that spoke of distant places. I gave myself up docilely to an idea of exoticism that had never seduced me before—but if maternity manuals were the alternative, then submission was all right by me.

Shatabdi Express

Shatabdi Express

Soon the train passed and the world was still again

We walked along the tracks. I offered to fill her lamp with oil so she didn’t have to go home in the dark. We returned to my room but stayed outside. There were no stars for us to look at, so we lit a small fire with some of the wood I had gathered. She pushed back her hair and lowered her head. Her earrings were made of silver and etched with a curling vine. She leaned in, and I was afraid she was too close to the fire. Smoke blew on her face. She hardly blinked.