Came across this slim volume by chance while looking for You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down in the library. It is comprised of a short introduction outlCame across this slim volume by chance while looking for You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down in the library. It is comprised of a short introduction outlining the controversy surrounding Walker's work in California schools, the two short stories that were in question, the beginning of The Color Purple and an appendix with pro/con letters to the editor and a partial transcript of the school board meeting.
I read it in one sitting and it restored my interest in reading short stories given the last collection I read was such a slog. "Roselily" and "Am I Blue?" are truly powerful and get you right in the gut. Roselily was removed from school tests for being "anti-religious" and "Am I Blue?" for "anti-meat eating."
Roselily presents the turbulent, unsure thoughts of a girl as she is wed. The layers in this story are incredible. The contradictions in her "choice" to marry; one can probably argue that she doesn't truly have one. I loved its structure - creative and different.
Considering the intersectionality of "Am I Blue?", it's quite laughable that people aimed to get it removed for the most benign portion. I'm sure it was more about its unapologetic stance towards racism (citing slavery and Native American genocide) and sexism. I think the use of an animal in demonstrating the way that oppression is linked is quite brilliant. The ruminations on the treatment and suffering of animals aren't so much privileging as giving animal rights a place alongside other forms of oppression in a complicated, interconnected web.
An even more interesting contortion of the debate is that the "pro-family" groups (Eagle Forum, aka pro-heterosexual-patriarchal-1950s-christian-white-family) that came out against these stories in force during the board meetings framed it as a "parental rights" issue. They maintained that parents have the right to dictate the curriculum due to their taxes. I would be curious to see what kind of stories would be given the seal of approval by these groups - I'm sure it would be a field day picking apart the politics of privilege, "neutrality" and the stuff deemed family friendly.
Overall, an interesting little volume that was worth the read for both the stories and the politics regarding the efforts to ban Walker's work in schools. The Same River Twice, which is about Walker's portrayal of African-American men is cited at the end of the book and is one I'll be sure to check out....more
I've been remiss. I finished this book just before I left for Peru and despite managing to write a review I never posted it. In the interest of full dI've been remiss. I finished this book just before I left for Peru and despite managing to write a review I never posted it. In the interest of full disclosure I received this book from the Good Reads' giveaway program. Regardless, it has landed on my essential reading shelf for a number of reasons.
Maybe you were in a neighborhood where Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) put up posters. Even now, I remember them vividly - charges that they killed puppies. As a jaded teenager, I never paid much attention to them - I figured if they had to use such a sensationalist charge to tug at my emotions the whole deal was probably absurd. Perhaps I was also somewhat offended that they thought they needed such an extreme charge to get me involved.
I like to think that maybe ten years later I'm a little wiser and a little less jaded, but regardless, enter Green is the New Red. I was surprised to find SHAC's story in here, along with a number of other animal rights and environmental activists, specifically those who were a part of ALF and ELF. I also like to think I have a decent awareness of the government's tactics when it comes to social movements - I know they killed Fred Hampton, I know they infiltrate vegan pot lucks with FBI agents, I know they run secret prisons and I know that big money has its tentacles everywhere in politics.
And yet Green is the New Red routinely had me all sorts of shocked, appalled and infuriated. Potter lays out the history of the red scare (I had to stop at this point and let the new information sink in, it just blew my mind.) Another example is something that seems to have currently come on the radar of liberal groups - my inbox is lighting up with emails about ALEC, the group in which corporations pay to be members and then draft legislation that is then presented as legitimate by lawmakers - Potter goes into depth about how ALEC works in the book and I was left feeling infuriated.
There are many, many different threads in this book. Court cases against animal rights activists, a history of the red scare, details about the government infiltration of liberal and leftist groups, corporate influence in government... Despite that, Potter more than manages to make a very convincing argument that Green is indeed the new Red, illustrating that activists that try to change corporate behavior are the new brand of terrorist. Admittedly I probably wouldn't have picked this book up if I felt that it concentrated too heavily on animal rights activists. And despite that being the book's focus, there's a lot to learn here - Potter portrays the larger picture just as successfully as his focus on animal rights and environmental activism. And because of that, EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!...more
Got at Pages Coffee Bar and Used Bookstore in Conway, MA. What an amazing bookstore!!! Atmosphere is incredible - cozy and comfortable yet eclectic. HGot at Pages Coffee Bar and Used Bookstore in Conway, MA. What an amazing bookstore!!! Atmosphere is incredible - cozy and comfortable yet eclectic. Highly recommend it if you are in the area, I was happy to patronize them and their selection made it easy.
Actual review of book coming at some point (once I actually read it!) but I couldn't help putting in a good word for the bookstore I got it at....more
For some reason I thought this was a tiny book, but this is a sort of mammoth book of essays and I can BARELY keep myself from starting this, but I'mFor some reason I thought this was a tiny book, but this is a sort of mammoth book of essays and I can BARELY keep myself from starting this, but I'm reading so many things already. This looks like a REALLY EXCITING BOOK!!!!...more