Monday, March 06, 2006

Did anyone else think that Jack Nicholson called an audible when he read Crash over Brokeback Mountain as best picture winner last night? Was anyone else still awake? I saw it as similar to the conspiracy theory going around at the time when Jack Palance selected Marisa Tomei over the four Brits for supporting actress. Perhaps not that much of a stretch though.

As for films about race, I am much more inclined to try and see Tsotsi, the foreign film winner from South Africa based on novel by reknowned playwright Athol Fugard. I first saw Fugard's play Master Harold and the Boys in its pre-Broadway run in New Haven while in high school. It moved me so much that I made my combined social studies/english project that year on apartheid and Fugard.

Coincidentally, I have recently started reading a novel with racial issues set in America circa 19th century. The Amalgamation Polka by Stephen Wright is set in the Civil War. Main character Liberty Fish is son of Northern father and abolitionst Southern mother. I just started it so can't really say too much about it except that I have always liked Wright's prose. One blurb called it a cross between Heart of Darkness and Alice in Wonderland. Wright is a graduate of Iowa Writer's Workshop and former Army Intelligence soldier during Vietnam (Meditations in Green is his novel of Vietnam that I have mentioned here before that I loved).

And perhaps not completely coincidental is today's poem from Poetry Daily....


In 1965 my parents broke two laws of Mississippi;
they went to Ohio to marry, returned to Mississippi.

They crossed the river into Cincinnati, a city whose name
begins with a sound like sin, the sound of wrong – mis in Mississippi.

A year later they moved to Canada, followed a route the same
as slaves, the train slicing the white glaze of winter, leaving Mississippi.

Faulkner's Joe Christmas was born in winter, like Jesus, given his name
for the day he was left at the orphanage, his race unknown in Mississippi.

My father was reading War and Peace when he gave me my name.
I was born near Easter, 1966, in Mississippi.

When I turned 33 my father said, It's your Jesus year – you're the same
age he was when he died. It was spring, the hills green in Mississippi.

I know more than Joe Christmas did. Natasha is a Russian name –
though I'm not; it means Christmas child, even in Mississippi.

Natasha Trethewey
Native Guard
Houghton Mifflin Company

1 comment:

displacedriverrat said...

so, terry gross interviewed the Tsotsi dude on fresh air - is it Gavin? the film sounds really intense - anyhoo, he said in the interview that he doesn't feel that the film is a film about race, but a film about humans....