Childhood is Not Safe for Children

Title: “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”

Author: Maya Angelou

Rank: 2

Blurb: “Sent by their mother to live with their devout, self-sufficient grandmother in a small Southern town, Maya and her brother, Bailey, endure the ache of abandonment and the prejudice of the local ‘powhitetrash.’ At eight years old and back at her mother’s side in St. Louis, Maya is attacked by a man many times her age — and has to live with the consequences for a lifetime.”

Review: “I am somewhat relieved that we were not permitted to read this book back in my high school literature class where many parents were opposed to it. I fear it would have caught me off guard in many respects. Many of the sexual themes running throughout the book are quite heavy and discussed in detail. Both the subjects of rape and teen pregnancy are covered and sex in general is frequently alluded to.”

Customers Also Bought: “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”

Footnote: Maya Angelou ranks sixth on the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged books for 2000-2009. Top honors go to Harry Potter.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [Amazon]

Buy or Die [Stinque@Amazon Kickback Link]


Book banning doesn’t surprise me. The alt text pisses me off.

It’s still better than Bidniz as a metaphor for sport or worse, war.

Like most people who buy and sort of read bidniz books, they can read/say the words but have little or no comprehension of the meaning.

News flash: Stinque favorite Lupita Nyong’o will be in the new Star Wars movie.

OS X Yosemite / iOS 8 / Geek Goodies: Whoa.

@Dodgerblue: Oh dear God, they’re still making those things? Condemning her to three months in front of a green screen pretending she can see stuff seems harsh. 12 Years a Slave wasn’t that bad. OK. Settle down. Dreadful acting throughout, ghastly script and truly offensive pov. And yes, I haz read the book. I haz also been to what once were slave plantations. I also want to know why the fuck Butler Island in Georgia is not a national historic shrine as it’s one of the few places where you can still see rice fields created and planted by enslaved Africans; you can see the drainage canals; sluices; landing stages. What you can’t see is any trace of the uncountable number of people who lived their lives there, never being allowed to leave. Not where they lived and not where they were buried. It is now a bird sanctuary but I95 cuts right across it and last time I was there the road was being widened to crush yet more of what might be left. The Butlers were one of the largest slaveholding families of their day. They lived in Philadelphia. Due to the feckless incompetence of the management the estate went bust which occasioned the sale of 700 souls to whoever had the money.

Sapelo Island isn’t far: the industry of the Altamaha delta was created by slave labor. Little Saint Simon’s, where the Butlers grew sea island cotton till their incompetence and bad management let the exhausted topsoil blow away, is now a private resort. Why the fuck isn’t it a national historic site? Why the fuck isn’t Ibo Landing, also on the Altamaha, a place of pilgrimage? The triangle trade, as it was euphemistically known, was designed to split people apart so by the time Africans arrived in the New World they’d been long since separated from anyone who spoke anything close to one of the more than 900 dialects of the Bantu languages that would be familiar. In this case a mistake was made. Eleven Ibo men got through the African entrepôt, the Savannah auction, the trip to Georgia, arriving together at the sand bars and hammocks off the coast of Darien. They overpowered the small crew of the small boat and struggled their way toward what might be dry land. The place they did this became known as Ibo Landing. What happened to the men is unknown though it’s assumed they all died right smart.

Around them grew a legend that they walked out over the ocean back to Africa.

@Benedick: You better fucking write a play about this.

@Dodgerblue: Mr. SFL and I will be in line to see that one! And I’ll eat a twizzler and sneak in a flask of vodka in honor of baked, my favorite (and the most random) Trekkie in the whole wide world.

@SanFranLefty: I did. I spent 6 years in research and writing. Then another year revising. Based on the English actress Fanny Kemble’s trip to the slave estate that she married when she married her husband. Hers is the best account of the slavery time by an outsider that I know. From an insider it’s Frederick Douglass’s 1st narrative. In all he wrote three and I find that they get somewhat fancied as they go on so I prefer his most immediate account.

My work is about how someone who considers him/herself to be moral, upright, liberal, can live in a profoundly immoral world. Fanny couldn’t. Her trip ended her marriage. She lost her two daughters: at 16 one came back, the other didn’t. The centerpiece of my play comes as Fanny goes to beg the overseer who is leaving to make his own place up the Altamaha river to cut timber. She implores him to give her the chance to keep a man that was given by her husband. To close this deal he demands that she humiliate herself by performing Juliet’s suicide as the price of keeping the family together. (Sinda is a slave, an elderly woman who begins the action by running away. The mother of the man for whom Fanny makes her appeal. As she brings Jo back his mother is beaten to death). By way of explaining why he wants to get out he says:

KING: Not me, ma’am. This life is over. Cotton’s done. A few places still make it pay but most of em are punked. They put nothing back in the soil all these years. Let it all blow away. Maybe rice still grows but what happens when there’s no one to work it? What happens when your husband must pay for his labor? That’s why they’re afraid of Sinda. Why they’ve got to beat her. Anything smacks of rebellion they got to jump on it hard. Most of em didn’t make their money. They married it or inherited it. They’re afraid once it’s gone there won’t be any more. So they talk about the good old days. When they’re sober. Or they play cards. Anything to pass the time. That’s not for me. Great cities are springing up all over. They’ll be needing timber. Whole forests are waiting upriver. My sawmill’s gonna cut those trees, float em downriver, and ship em out to anyone willing to pay my price. Five year in the wilderness should set me straight. Then someone else can manage it. I’ll retire me to some trim New England village where I won’t have to look on a black face from one year’s end to the next. And I can forget how my money was made.

Is there any way that a white author can write this story? I can’t get anyone to read my play but then I can’t get anyone to read anything – while my work is performed around the world – which is why I’m switching to fiction. I thought that Django Unchained triumphed by embracing the most lurid aspects of the slavery time and blasting everyone’s head off. From all the vast amounts of stuff I read I maintain that Uncle Tom’s Cabin is the American masterpiece.

Having taken 11 years of piano lessons, I can kinda understand this.

Oh hay, Seattle just approved the nation’s highest minimum wage–$15 an hour!
It will be phased in over the next seven years and will be inflation-adjusted. Good things are happenin’.

@¡Andrew!: Sweetheart, I’m not exactly digging ditches. My work on that piece remains a privilege. I am now engaged on the reconstruction of the lives of a small subset of gay men who came of age before Stonewall. An epic love story that has consumed me. And continues to do so. It’s like, first there was Jefferson, then there was Catt, then Marie’s Crisis, then Little Joe, then me as a drinks waiter at Arthur.

Oh haii. I’m finally not getting the Geek Alert notice when logging in.

@Benedick: has the play been published or produced? I’d love to read it.

@SanFranLefty: I’ll send you the script.

GO CHROME!!!!! Daddy bet the IRA!!!!

@Benedick: Please do.

I love that California Chrome’s owner is a bitter loser. And I agree with him.

Meanwhile, I heard a rumour that our favorite El Ay tree hugger liberal hippie DodgerBlue is shooting guns in the desert with RML.

@SanFranLefty: Yep, we showed those paper targets who’s boss.

@Benedick: Me too, pls. You’ve seen the August Wilson cycle?

@Dodgerblue: @SanFranLefty: Am I to do this vis FB? I am a poor innocent here.

@Dodgerblue: August Wilson is in the tradition of O’Neil. And as my beloved husband whispered in my ear years ago in London as we were enduring a much heralded production of his ridiculous Strange Interlude: “There’s a world of restaurants out there.” As indeed there was.

I am not responsible for the grammar in that last paragraph. And also, Uncle Tito’s is not just a breakfast beverage. It also makes a great thirst quencher. You’re welcome.

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