Friday, March 10, 2017

The Zulu thing

Who knows what Paul Tuennerman actually meant when he launched the Facebook comment heard round the world. But CW Cannon's interpretation is very close to what I thought when I first read about this dust-up.
To me, Paul Tuennerman’s comment is a critique of media, not a critique of blackness. It suggests his awareness that certain forms of expression are so explosive that they can’t be digested at all by national media, with its inability to process the ironies and inversions of carnival expression. It shows his well-founded fear that the frightened and dishonest world of America’s “conversation about race” is likely to cry “racism” whenever it sees an image that might be racist in some other, very different context.
That might be it.  It might not, though! Unlike the multitude of clubbish yuppies rushing to the Tuennermans' defense this week, I'm suspicious enough of our city's white, professional liberalesque con-profit class to believe most of them are actually pretty racist. But I also think Cannon is probably correct. He's got a pretty good handle on the rest of the context there, anyway. 

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