Context is everything, of course. And I know I'm the last person on the planet (or close to it) to see Moulin Rouge, but I made the common mistake of thinking that anything that popular couldn't possibly be any good. Eh. Live and learn.
As long as I'm linking the unimportant nonissues of the day from BlackElectorate.com, there's also a statement from Amiri Baraka about his poem:
The recent dishonest, consciously distorted and insulting non-interpretation of my poem, “Somebody Blew Up America” by the “Anti-Defamation” League, is fundamentally an attempt to defame me. And with that, an attempt to repress and stigmatize independent thinkers everywhere.
This trashy propaganda is characteristic of right-wing zealots who are interested only in slander and character assassination of those whose views or philosophies differ from or are in contradiction to theirs.
[. . .] Actually, in my focus on various forces of terror Afro Americans and other oppressed people of the world have suffered, slavery, colonialism, Imperialism, Neoneo-colonialism, National Oppression, the ADL disingenuously makes no mentionof my probing into the creators of the holocaust, e.g., : "who put the Jews in ovens, / and who helped them do it, / Who said "America First"/ and Ok'd the yellow stars", which of course is a reference to America's domestic fascists just before World War 2 and the Nazi Holocaust.
Nor do these ADL purveyors of falsehood mention the poem's listing of some of the Jews across the world, oppressed, imprisoned, murdered by actual Anti- Semitic forces, open or disguised. The poem asks "Who killed Rosa Luxembourg, Liebnecht/Who murdered the Rosenbergs/ And all the good people iced, tortured, assassinate, vanished".
The ADL apparently is not outraged by McCarthy era frame-up and execution of the Rosenbergs, nor the assassination of German Jewish Communist leaders like Liebnecht, Luxembourg. The ADL leaves these things out to try to make their lies more believable, and also because these victims of imperialism were on the Left.
It's like the U of I/U of M game all over again, as far as I'm concerned. Or unconcerned.
Could check to see if his daughter Lisa Jones (of Bulletproof Diva fame) has weighed in on this; she's an incredibly good writer with a unique point of view and a low opinion of Minneapolis. So, clearly, she's worth listening to.
Her dad and the ADL, though? Um, yeah. Fascinating. Wake me up when it's over.
Better still, don't.
Update: That's odd.
Amiri Baraka syntyi New Jerseyn Newarkissa 1934 keskiluokkaiseen perheeseen. Tuolloin hänen nimensä oli Everett Leroy Jones. Hän opiskeli useissa yliopistoissa, mutta jätti opinnot kesken. Varsinainen koulu oli Yhdysvaltain ilmavoimat, jossa hän toimi kirjastonhoitajana.
[. . .] Viime vuonna eläkkeelle jääneellä Barakalla on seitsemän lasta kahdesta liitosta: työtä kansalaisaktivistina jatkavat muun muassa tytär, kirjailija Lisa Jones sekä poika, opettaja ja muusikko Ras Baraka.
Usually I don't dream in Finnish unless I've been drinking vodka cranberries made with Finlandia.
That article is the first result from Google when searching for Amiri Baraka and Lisa Jones. Needless to say, I am no longer feeling lucky, and just give up.
Update 2: Ok, so I lied:
Now, let's zoom ahead several decades. To a young woman writer, of mixed racial heritage. Lisa Jones, number 52, who jokes about the abundant number of black Lisa Joneses there are to be found. Her Jewish mother, Hettie Jones, swears there was only one other Lisa when she gave her daughter that name. The surname, Jones, comes from her father, Leroy Jones - poet, revolutionary, writer - later known as Amiri Baraka. Lisa Jones, defines herself as a black woman, whose mother is white. Hettie Jones was disowned by her first generation immigrant parents for her marriage to Jones. Later they begged her to terminate both her pregnancies. Even after she separated from her husband, she decided to stay in the black community and raise her daughters as black, not biracial. She later wrote a book How I became Hettie Jones.
From Djembe Online - No 21: Black, white or somewhere in between, which article/review also touches on passing.
Djembe, as everyone knows,
is distributed quarterly in Denmark, Sweden and Norway (plus app. 100 subscribers in USA and Africa) with a circulation of 3,000 copies.
Djembe Magazine focuses on inspiration between cultures. We write about world culture, world art, world music. The articles are mainly in the Danish language.
Or I'm still asleep.