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Sunday, June 06, 2004


Jonathan David Jackson

Your comments on our civil rights legacy are right on. As a registered independent since 1992 with great suspicions regarding the current centrist left *and* the right, and an abiding belief in flexible value systems that interpenetrate rather than isolate, I find it hard to romanticize anything so flawed as our country.

I also believe firmly that we should never have to apologize for not being "patriotic" or give Republicans a copy of "Poetry and Politics" because it gives us another, more leftist kind of patriotism.

As a Black American who is as critical of the current machinery and chicanery of Black leadership circles as I am of everyone else, I can never have the luxury of *not* being critical because, as it happened last week, I can always be stopped, SPOOKED, and questioned like an animal on my way home from work at night under the presumption that I am one of the "young black men" out there who is committing--perhaps just by living--or has committed a crime.

So, I actually agree with your comments much more than I do with the tenor of "Poetry and Politics."

Man, this is *your* blog and, as I take it, digressions are the discursive provence of blogispation. I for one appreciate "reading" your thoughts as they unfurl.

My only beef is that you don't post more poems...

Ben G.

Jonathan, thanks for your thoughts on this post. And yes, of course, you're right when you say:

Man, this is *your* blog and, as I take it, digressions are the discursive provence of blogispation. I for one appreciate "reading" your thoughts as they unfurl.
I've been a little slow and a little shy to follow the blogispatic convention of writing about things as they cross my horizon—not because I worry about what's acceptable or appropriate but because I've been using this blog more as a kind of elaborate system of note cards for the book that I hope this will one day be. Also because I'm mostly writing about things of the past rather than things of immediate present. So it's for these reasons that I feel slightly self-conscious as I engage the goings on of the blogosphere in my own blog. I'm interested in the fact that my blog as hyper-text notecards use is somewhat unique. Though I've looked around for other examples of it, I have not found many. This is a subject that I will probably post on sometime soon in the main section of the blog.

As far as more poems go, you may have to be patient this time. Though you might find one up here sooner than you think. We'll see . . .

Kim Pearson

It's very good that you remind folks of the MFDP, particularly as the 40th anniversary of the murders of Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney approaches and the Democratic Convention follows right behind. I plan to do something on the subject later this summer.This was such a signal incident for all concerned. On the one hand, it gave rise to the Black Power Movement and the Black Panthers. One the other, it helped push such people as Bayard Rustin away from protest politics and into machine politics. (My own piece on Rustin is here:http://kpearson.faculty.tcnj.edu/Articles/bayard_rustin.htm. There is also, of course, the split that ensued in SNCC.

Don't apologize for blogging about the past. there is a lot about the Civil Rights era that we have yet to understand.

Ben G.

Thanks for your encouragement, Kim. I'll read your piece on Rustin. When my dad was Exec Director of the Greater New York Council for a Sane Nuclear Policy (1960-62), he worked with Rustin and probably worked with him again in the context of the SCLC. Rustin is of great interest to me. When I get to my SANE documents from the FBI, I'll be able to detail some of the things Rustin and my dad did together.

For the record, I don't have any worry about blogging about the past. I have been struck by the fact that, despite the versatility of the medium, there aren't more folks using blogs to work out a complicated writing project. Current events, personal and/or political, seem to hold sway out here in the blogosphere. I benefit a lot from and enjoy all these present-focused blogs, but I'm curious about other ways people may use this technology.

When I blogged in reaction to Jeanne's piece, I started out thinking I was "off subject" because I was writing about current things mentioned in someone else's blog. Once I started writing I realized my response to her post had everything to do with what this blog is all about.

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