Thursday, October 11, 2007

Terry, and Rev. Al, Nooses, and Bunny and Shirley

There is so much stuff going on, so much that we want to say our 4 cents worth about, that it regularly leaves our heads spinning. But we are seriously in writing mode (our December deadline approaches), and our time is limited. So here’s a little stream of consciousness.

--Have you read Terry McMillan’s email regarding the publication of her ex’s “novel” in particular and the state of published black books in general? If not, you can get to the email and Terry’s exchange with Troy at AALBC.com through Black Voices--Click here: TERRY MCMILLAN TAKES A STAND - Black Voices Blogs (http://blackvoices.aol.com/blogs/2007/10/05/terry-mcmillan-takes-a-stand/). What we can add—now more than ever, publishing is a Biz-ne$$. Whatever makes the most money is what you will see more of on the shelves, and that goes for every genre. So if there are authors you love, support them, or you won’t see them any more. Despite three successful and well received novels, it was tougher than you might imagine for us to find a publisher for Gotta Keep on Tryin’. We know lots of authors who find themselves in the same position. If you don’t see them on the shelves, they may not have decided they don’t want to write any more—they have solid skills, loyal readers, but they can no longer find a publishing home. That realization is part of what prompted Tina McElroy Ansa to found DownSouth Press. Please don’t take your favorite authors for granted (or your favorite book stores—Black Images in Dallas is gone and Eso Won in Los Angeles is in trouble) or they will be gone too.

--Rev. Al Sharpton is calling for a possible boycott of the Knicks if Isaiah Washington does not apologize for remarks he made about who it’s OK to call a bitch Click here: BOO BIRD REV. AL
(http://www.nypost.com/seven/10062007/news/nationalnews/boo_bird_rev__al.htm). We commented on that (September 20, 2007—Who You Callin’ B* * * H ), but it’s going to take other men, calling each other to task for their lack of respect, to change our culture of casual disrespect. And we’re glad that Rev. Al’s not giving Isaiah a pass—Sharpton is calling for accountability just as he did with Imus because WE KNOW that lack of respect isn’t necessarily about color.

--What is up with the return of the noose? There have been more incidents in the last several years than we care to remember—particularly in the work place, but most recently there is the Jena 6, a noose left in the locker of a Hempstead, NY police officer and now the noose left on the doorknob of a Columbia University professor. Is it that people are so far removed from the painful reality of lynchings that they don’t realize what a horrifying and oppressive symbol this is? Is it a cowardly way to invoke the power to put someone “in their place” that the perpetrator doesn’t feel he or she has without resorting to the power of the hangin’ rope? Is this a specifically racial response, or a response to people feeling squeezed and powerless in their own lives? Whatever it is, the only way to respond is to say loudly and in no uncertain terms, THIS IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. Protests in Jena, LA and at Columbia Teacher’s College make that clear, and we add our voices to that.

--And on the light side—Clearly, we are very aware of the power of friendship, we have completely enjoyed ours for 26 years or so, although it feels like forever—and we mean that in a good way. Well, now it seems that female elephants have best friends too. While watching CBS Sunday Morning (Click here: An Elephant's Tale In Tennessee, Bill Geist Visits An Elephant Sanctuary Where Pachyderms Go To Retire - CBS News - http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/10/07/sunday/main3339972.shtml ) we became acquainted with pachyderm pals Shirley and Bunny, Winkie and Sissy, and Tarra and Dulary, elephants who now reside at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hohenwald, TN, and it just made us smile (We’re particularly enamored of Bunny and Shirley.) Even elephants are smart enough to know ya gotta have a friend!

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posted by DeBerry and Grant at 11:37 AM

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