"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
Heavy-handed cracker-barrel pundit time. This Orwellian confection from Justice Roberts has been circulating in my head a lot recently. What seems most terrifying about it is the way in which it implies the concept of "race" is no longer relevant as a legally viable term, while in the process paying lip service to a kind of politically-correct, emptied-out version of the category: the fruition of an ongoing effort to cloud the discourse through employing terms like "intellectual diversity." He has the audacity to quote Brown v. Board of Education completely out of context in his statement as if he were honoring it. In the same speech he appears to import concepts from gender discourse which are not equivalent, arguing against a "binary concept of race" as if this meant race blindness, when in fact Ronald Takaki advanced a similar thesis already in the early nineties to argue in favor of multiculturalism. Through a thinly disguised circumlocution framed only by that phrase "the way to," Roberts's reversal forces the term "discrimination" to mean "reverse discrimination." His subject is not really race-blindness, but whiteness.
American Studies time. Here's a confusing poster I just found on the street in Asheville, North Carolina. Notice:
1) There's a disclaimer at the top of the page ("Warning! This Flier May Contain Sarcasm!")
2) It's significant that there's a perceived need for such a disclaimer at all. Apparently the authors lost control of some aspect of the irony in the poster's graphic and textual content and felt the need to clarify the actual nature of the politics involved so the wrong kind of people didn't show up at said party.
3) The disclaimer itself becomes hard to read in the context of the rest of the poster. Is it sincere? Is it gleefully and passive-aggressively coy? Is the warning "may contain sarcasm" itself sarcastic? Note how even with disclaimer attached, the political stance here remains largely inscrutable. I mean, what is it, an invitation to Anne Coulter's Fourth of July bash?
I'm very pleased to be participating in this book, which is NOW AVAILABLE:
BURNING INTERIORS: David Shapiro's Poetry and Poetics Edited by Thomas Fink and Joseph Lease
New from Fairleigh Dickinson University Press SBN 978-0-8386-4155-2 $43.50
David Shapiro situates his work at the interstices between and among modes and traditions. Possessing a singular musical gift, Shapiro problematizes self and culture and challenges conventional notions of fixed and commodified identity in poetry that discovers and resists meaning. The material collected in “Burning Interiors” illuminates a useful range of Shapiro’s major texts through diverse critical approaches and elucidates vital questions that Shapiro addresses about poetry’s nature and cultural contexts in original, candid, philosophical, visionary, witty poems.
Introduction Thomas Fink and Joseph Lease
The Copy and the Model: David Shapiro’s After a Lost Original Paul Hoover
Architect/House of Being
“Not a Bridge”: Dialogue and Disjunction as Didacticism in the Later Poetry of David Shapiro Joanna Fuhrman
David Shapiro: New Jersey as Trope
David Shapiro and Jasper Johns: Ego in the Egoless Pie
Stephen Paul Miller
Shapiro’s Comedic Poetics and Its Limits in Harrisburg Mon Amour, or Two Boys on a Bus Daniel Morris
Plays Well With Others: The Collaborative Poetry of David Shapiro Denise Duhamel
Written and Rewritten to Order: The Gift of Generative Possibility in the Work of David Shapiro
Noah Eli Gordon
Shapiro’s “A Man Holding an Acoustic Panel” Ron Sillman
Uncanny Narrative in Shapiro’s A Burning Interior
Distorted Figures: Mannerist Similes and the Body in David Shapiro’s Poetry Tim Peterson
“For Dust Thou Art” (for David Shapiro)
House Blown Apart
Afterword: The Night Sky and to David Shapiro Joseph Lease