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March 12, 2007

EL312: Nothing is permanent, everything changes--even racism

In their tendency to read the text through contemporary spectacles, slavery gets less attention than racism--which, when taken with the worthy liberalism that is a reaction to racism, means that we get a (sentimental) rhetoric where the portrayal of a black as anything other than virtuous is likely to be defined as racist. (314)

Well, this doesn't relate to any recent political happenings, now does it? (Please sense my sarcasm...) As a matter of fact, it negates what Swann said above (and, ironically, former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swann was the first African American to run for governor of Pennsylvania this past November).

Funny how times change, isn't it? In our present day, even calling someone "articulate" can alert the media... but by NOT portraying the slaves in "Benito Cereno" as [insert word for virtuous/articulate/kind here] Melville has brought himself a truckload of criticism since the time the story was written. Could someone please let us know what we are supposed to call people so we don't call them what we're not supposed to? (Or is everything that the GOP does wrong just because the GOP did it, as most media tend to portray?) The paradigm has shifted violently, and this is yet another reason why we can't read today into yesterday's literature.

I'll get off my dais for now about the anachronistic reading... for now.

Swann, ''Whodunnit? Or, Who Did What? 'Benito Cereno' and the Politics of Narrative Structure'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

Posted by KarissaKilgore at March 12, 2007 9:55 PM


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