Saturday, July 9, 2016
Fire -- in dumpsters, in trash cans, in newspapers on the street -- the ashes touch us all, but we are friendly and oblivious.
From a Norman Mailer essay (you can find it in parts on the Internet -- - just Google the phrases):
"The Night Belongs To The Negroes"
Fire -- in dumpsters, in trash cans, in newspapers on the street -- the ashes touch us all, but we are friendly and oblivious. Hip is the sophistication of the wise primitive in a giant jungle, and Hip in the City is the Fire of the Negro.
What characterizes a member of a minority group is that he is forced to see himself as both exceptional and insignificant, marvelous and awful, good and evil. I see this misunderstood on bloody white faces at dawn as they wait for buses to get them home after their Night in the City.
Because there is very little honor left in American life, there is a certain built-in tendency to destroy masculinity in American men, and the Negro knows this best. Masculinity is not something given to you, but something you gain. And you gain it by winning small battles with honor. The Negro in the City knows these small battles, they pepper his skin.
The more a man can achieve, the more he may be certain that the devil will inhabit a part of his creation.This is the crux of where the races coincide, and it is the cross on which the Negroes at night hang.
Growth, in some curious way, I suspect, depends on being always in motion just a little bit, one way or another. See this as the Negroes pace the street, hands with hard fingers probing for a weak touch.
There was that law of life, so cruel and so just, that one must grow or else pay more for remaining the same, and the skin's color does not change at night, its shadows are the same. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit, and the Negro knows this under every streetlight and in every dark city corner.
The natural role of twentieth-century white man is anxiety.
I am Laslo.