Thursday, March 27, 2008

Shooting the Blue State Bar Bull

"No, I didn't see the speech. What did he say?"

"It was exhilarating. I'm still tingling."

"What did he say?"

"He was in rare form. Dignity. Poise. Handsome."

"Nonsense. He looks like Stan Laurel's mulatto love child. What did he say?"

"His inflection, his tempo. Just perfect."

"What did he say?"

"His is a rare eloquence. He struck just the right note of conciliation while still expressing the anger of black America without all the, without all the anger."

"There's a neat trick. But I thought he was addressing some controversy or other."

"Yeah, the Clintons played the race card. Just reprehensible. I'm sickened."

"What's this? The same Hillary the Great as you've characterized her BO?"

"BO?"

"Before Obama. Everything changes AO. It's a whole new paradigm. An exciting time."

"Yes, it's amazing how much of an impact he's had already. To think that some would deny him the presidency! I swear, if we fail to elect this man for the first time in my life I will be truly ashamed of my country."

"I was being facetious."

"I know. He's already bringing us together."

"What I meant was--hey, Alex, you work here too? Set me up."

"You're right; the pastor's remarks were taken entirely out of context..."

"Did I say--yes, one must place 'God damn America' in its proper context. Wide margin of nuance."

"Besides, it's not like he has to answer--"

"For the religious/political philosophy of his stated 'spiritual mentor' and key player in his rise?"

"Right!

"For twenty years of resentful racial separatist demagogy, every Sunday? What Barack condescendingly attributes to those 'raucous' negro church services?

"Exactly! It's all guilt by association."

"Yes, mentoring is such a tenuous association. Especially for a politician."

"You said it! Alex, get this guy another."

"Thanks, but I was being--"

Barack addresses these questions from a whole new perspective."

"What's the persepctive?"

"I mean, this guy understands race as and you and I simply cannot."

"Why is that exactly? I mean he's had neither the typical white nor typical black American experience. That's fine, but why is it this alone constitutes insight? If his history is so unique isn't also true that he doesn't quite share the experience of most Americans, black or white? I mean, why is it necessarily a positive? Because he says so in a hundred equally meaningless ways? Is this insight a genetic birthright? Because after the perfunctory bragging about his mixed parentage, all I hear are platitudes."

"Yes, yes. That's what I'm saying. He understands."

"I see. 'I have understood you, America.' What exactly is his understanding?"

" Exactly. Barack understands. It's a rare thing among politicians."

"Are you fu--? What the hell does he understand? Why can't I hear it like everybody else? Where is this understanding everyone keeps talking about? What's wrong with me?"

"You see, as a black man he's experienced first-hand the oppression of his white ancestors. It's a very unique perspective."

"Yes. Imagine an indulgently guilty white liberal getting to actually be black. It must be exquisite. Continual bliss. To be able to resolve this angst in its glorious reversal, to indulge in the romance of oppression not as an outsider but as its subject--as both, in supreme sanctimony, over and over! But it is kind of weird when his white half condescends toward his black half. I think if it was me I'd call it a wash and get on with business. But I'm not the ambitious sort.
"None of that for Barack; no grace, no generosity. No leaving anything on the table. Just a meticulous, thorough wringing out of any and all possible political advantage from this circumstance--and then some. He lays claim to all he surveys. He claims a unique perspective on all human suffering with those artlessly exhaustive rhetorical sweeps of his, those godawful geography name-checks. It's a kind of greed. 'From the family crossing the Rio Grande to the Hillbillies in Appalachia', he's feeling you. Something to go with his response to the Wright controversy which, if I'm reading him correctly, is 'if it offends, I condemn'; call it 'if you're sore, I'm you're recourse.' If you've got a claim on the collective guilt of white America, Barack Obama is your man. Barack wants his cut. Isn't it a little presumptuous of this guy that he thinks he can coopt the very idea of collective guilt and lord it over the nation?"

"Yes. He's already overcome so much."

"He shall overcome."

"Exactly! I mean, here is a guy who's taken the pain of being a black man in America, all that pain and suffering, he's made that sacrifice."

"Christ-like."

"Can I use that?"

"Oh. By all means. But what pain? What suffering?"

"Duh. He's bla-ack."

"Hey, now you're talking. And white--don't forget! He's half-white!"

"Now you see! And white. He's had to endure the oppression and daily humiliation of the black American, while carrying on his shoulders the tremendous guilt of white America. These are the yin and yang of the American racial dynamic. And he contains them entirely within himself."

"But it seems he gets all the credit for the suffering and none of the guilt for it. They're not equal at all."

"Of course not. You're backsliding now. The suffering is the thing. Dude, it's in Hamlet. You see, because the guilt is complicity in the suffering, for someone on the receiving end of the suffering, because for him it must be borne, the white guilt is just more suffering!"

"My head hurts. But the guilt is conceptual. It's not really suffering."

"No; it's the most purifying suffering there is, because it's conceptual. Because it takes place entirely within, uncompromised by physical reality, it has no bounds. This is not the suffering of the body! This is the suffering of the soul. You and I simply aren't capable of this level of it. You say he's 'ambitious.' This is precisely why it is he and why it is now. He has made that journey, from white to black. He's mounting that cross gladly. His is the suffering of the nation."

"I get it. He is us."

"Exactly. You're almost there."

"Where, damn it, where?"

"To the mountaintop, finally. Barack Obama is the ultimate gesture, the act of penitence, the laying down of arms, the ritual abasement, the apology, all embodied in one man. Imagine that guilt-free future. Can you see it? The mountaintop. This man alone is uniquely positioned to simultaneously absolve white shame and restore the dignity of black America. And it has to be embodied in one man, one, yes, Christ-like figure who contains multitudes within and is endowed with the transcendence of celebrity. He is us, yes! And we owe it to ourselves. But he can't do it if for us if we don't raise him up to the heights from which he will need to operate. No one will now doubt the word of America. But we must act; we must make that gesture. One cannot stand by when he's called upon to atone for the greatest sin, the original sin, of his nation."

"Hallelujah! I see! How could I have been so blind? Thanks Alex, but I won't be having that drink after all. I've found religion."

Monday, March 24, 2008

Monday Sermonette

petit frère

Cats can't smile. This is their fundamental incapacity in relating to humanity.
Home just before dawn and our youngest cat greets me in the driveway. He's about six months old, a handsome Russian blue mix. It's dry and not too cold outside; on such nights I typically leave the sliding door out back open just enough for our cats to come and go at will. They seem to do their part to earn the privilege by keeping other small animals out (or by keeping the life-expectancy of intruding vermin very low), though I once found what I'm sure were raccoon tracks on the carpet. A precocious youngster small enough to squeeze in, perhaps. Or sent in by shameless grifter parents. Raccoons are the Gypsies of our local mammalian realm. We have one who sometimes comes to the backdoor panhandling. I recognize him by the cut on one ear. It happens rarely enough that I just have to watch while he eats whatever scraps I give him with those eerie, pre-human claw-hands. The cats come around to watch too; we all stand there for a bit wearing the same expression of dull fascination. We're not much for excitement around here, but hey, we can't all be lion-tamers, as the man said.

The raccoons and cats run the night in search of prey and maintain an admirable detente at the same time. Raccoons will often gang up on small dogs, possessed of that tragic canine inability to recognize needless peril, who charge in furiously engaging the raccoons in pointless combat or just don't know enough to steer clear. I suspect the raccoons make a point of trapping and killing these unfortunate pets. But with the cats it appears they have an agreement. A cat would never start a fight with such an obviously worthy foe for anything other than necessity. Yes, in this regard cats are realists, dogs are neocons. Forgive me, I'm merely being glib; I like dogs, and would never hold them in such low regard.
Breeding them as watch-dogs has created a certain unreasoning aggression in dogs, and is just another aspect of that fundamental difference between dogs and cats, dependence. Of course, nothing is more noble than the dog's loyalty and service toward us, at least from our point of view, which is, in the end, the only one that matters. Still, cats have been allowed, or haven't yet been stripped of, a degree of independence that gives them a certain dignity. Take barking, for instance; I get the impression that even if they could, cats would disdain barking, on decorum. Of course, no one has ever been dragged from a burning building by a cat.

But you've got to hand it to cats; unlike their near but foreign counterparts, dogs, they seem to have an advanced self-awareness, of of how they appear to the world. Cats, if I didn't know better, keep up appearances. Attendant upon this is, I think, that feline ability to project annoyance. Dogs may do this too, but with them it always involves pointless jumping up and down, barking, and copious salivation, and is indistinguishable from their distinctly canine quick impatience. I have one picture of this feline self-awareness in my mind, the memory of a cat stepping unexpectedly into a puddle, stopping with furrowed brow to shake the water off of his paw, moving on looking back at the puddle with clear indignation; all of this with a delicacy that would have become any human.

But as I was saying, the little cat came out to greet me and accepted my lifting him up, purring happily in anticipation of some wet food. I hold him up for inspection and he dutifully folds his slightly oversized ears back, his eyes narrow and go into an, excuse me, positively Asian slant. Inspection arms. When he sits with his limbs tucked underneath in that bread-box fashion of cats, he resembles something out of a Japanese cartoon, all gentle, soft round sections topped by the head of a miniature panda.

He's a sturdy little guy, with odd forelimbs for a cat, abnormally long from paw to elbow, short from there to shoulder. He has a small jaw but teeth as sharp as needles. With the other cats no matter how carried away they get they will only scratch your skin in play; this one, with his sharp teeth and unrestrained, dog-like enthusiasm, will pierce any ill-advisedly exposed flesh. It's all fair game to him. Part of his charm is his puppyish lack of restraint. But as enthusiastic as he is to be picked up and given a friendly squeeze, he soon wants to be put back down, and will struggle so mightily for it that if you don't relent he will, as he often has, squirt dangerously up and out of your grasp. Once on the ground he flits about with all the sprightly grace of a small bird flying patterns around your feet.

Of course, he's not nearly as sensible as he is charming at this point, and he's still likely to find himself punted several feet by his often distracted benefactor. Normally he satisfies himself by simultaneously prancing out ahead of me and turning back to invite play, often literally falling all over himself in ridiculous accidental contortions. A physical comedy no human could ever match. That's the charm of the kitten; a contradiction of feline grace and enthusiastic clumsiness.

I gave him a little food and a pat on the head and went to sleep. It shows how degenerate I am from watching film and television for all these years, but I remember this now as a cinematic fading out to the view of the bedroom door, fading in to the same view in slightly different light, awakened by an urgent knocking there.

I opened the door and my daughter was crying, holding the young Russian blue in her arms like a baby. He gaped up at me with expressionless eyes, his mouth open. At first I thought he was dead. He had been hit by a car. I grabbed the car keys and slipped into a pair of sandals and we rushed him off to a veterinary center nearby that I hoped was open. In the car the little guy struggled to breath, flailing away in mindless desperation at my daughter with each attempt to comfort him, causing her to sob more miserably than ever, as he suffocated on his own blood, which I could see staining the back of his mouth. Thankfully my daughter did not notice this. We made great time, maybe five minutes to what turned out to be a 24-hour animal hospital. More luck, the place was empty and a vet ran out to greet us with admirable concern, the little cat holding on and fighting, hacking away trying to breathe. Ten minutes later they sent us home with a box.

I let our little friend down, in the end, giving him too much freedom too soon. Not so independent after all. Still, I can't regret it. Watching these animals roam the spacious greenbelt next door, as thoughtlessly content as any God could possibly intend, I simply can't imagine denying it to them. To know that we don't so much own the cats as invite them into our homes as long as they'll have it, in exchange for the charm with which they grace us. Such an exquisite pleasure really, to be as mundane as it is. Cats are always free to spurn our offer of companionship. Some do, and this is admirable too, the manifestation of the cat's resistance to final and utter domestication, winning over a proud level of autonomy. Keeping us humans on notice. We don't merely have a relationship with the cats, we have an arrangement. There is an ennobling lack of the practical, for us, in our relationship with cats. They're just friends.

But being soft in my advancing age, I find profoundly touching the idea that we are blessing them with a distinctly unnatural good fortune; with a plenty and safety from the natural world's predations they have no genetic-historical means of comprehending. Sometimes when I notice one of them languorously indulging in this comfort as if it is a birthright, almost arrogantly, taking it all for granted, I think to myself, lucky cat. But in their inscrutable way, a way which I suspect we would find of a higher consciousness than we imagine them capable, if such a thing could be known, they marvel and cherish these blessings with awe-struck reverence. It is a transcendent experience for them. Maybe a little bit for us as well. For all the absurdity of our relations, cats and dogs are made more by their reliance upon us. We are bringing them a sort of enlightenment. We provide the chance to develop finer, more delicate sensibilities; to know higher, conceptual pleasures. We bring civilization to them, when we bring them to it.

I do wish I had thought, as I sometimes do, to close the slider once I got the little guy inside, so that he might give it a rest for a while and improve his chances of surviving into a safer, experienced maturity. If you think I'm attaching too much significance to his death by writing about it here, if you think I place a little too much importance on our pets, you don't know the half of it. We buried little Alex next to a leopard gecko's headstone. My daughter and I allowed ourselves a laugh at that, even as we buried our little friend with an absurd, decadent level of grief to be given over to an animal.

We already miss the presence of our little brother who died on the verge of his first spring. The day after we lost him, I opened the door with the same caution I had only recently acquired, habitually expecting to see him attempting a flash-breakout before I could detain him, as he often would if he'd been stewing impatiently indoors for awhile. I was somehow still surprised not to see him there, even while glumly noting his absence. I had looked forward to the warm weather on his behalf and shuddered to think of the havoc he was going to wreak on the annual springtime profusion of garden snakes. An animal thriving in its element is neither a means nor an end. Nothing so tawdry as that. It is sublimely without purpose, like all good things.

Seminal Found Sounds



Brian Eno and David Byrne, Help me Somebody, from My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, 1981

This record was so ahead of its time in, among other things, its rhythmic-instrumental manipulation of "found" sounds and voice samples (in particular its mesmerizing use of charismatic evangelical sermons, such as here--listening to the record again I'm struck by one track which offers a fascinating critique of the sort of nationalist wealth and prosperity evangelism that is now far more advanced than it was back then) that there is a lag of years between its release and the (now) widespread use of its innovations. I find it hard to believe it's been that long since I first heard it and asked myself, "what in the hell is this?" Not for everyone, perhaps, but I can't get enough of this sort of thing.

Help me somebody
There's no escape from it
It's a big thing,
It's a small thing,
what
people
think


The album's title is the name of a novel by Nigerian author Amos Tutuola. This is the Wikipedia article on the book, in its entirety:

This novel recounts the fate of mortals who stray into the world of ghosts. The 'bush' is in the heart of the tropical forest, an impenetrable thicket left even after the rest of the forest is cleared for cultivation. Here, as every hunter and traveler knows, mortals venture at great peril, and it is here that a small boy is left alone.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Throw Granny Under the Bus, Hug the Store-Front Preacher, Affect Magnanimity

One of the early responders to the Obama speech praised it by saying that the senator appeals to the "winners and losers" of the American experience. This is a common case of a mainstream figure tripping over the fatal flaw in the American Left's narrative, hitting his head and taking the ensuing flash of white for enlightenment.

The idea that minorities, women, the poor, even (in comic, oblivious self-contradiction) immigrants, legal or not, are "losers" in their exchange with modern American society and thereby entitled to redress, is the great unexamined absurdity that buttresses liberal convention and Senator Obama's appeal. It is the reason why ultimately the convention is demagoguery and Senator Obama, however earnest his personal belief and pure his inent, a demagogue. But the plain truth is this: those officially recognized as "underprivileged" or "underrepresented" are those who gain most in their exchange with society and the state, by way of the legal premium assigned their status. Obama's dirty little secret is this: no one is more fortunate to be an American than a black American. No black population in history has had this level of power and opportunity; none has benefited as much by its participation in a nation as this one. This is as plainly obvious as it is rigorously denied. No matter; Senator Obama insists that an absolute equality in wealth and representation across every profession, such has never occurred in any society (and this includes under-representation of the majority population in many social sectors), is the only possible result to come of freedom of opportunity. A patent, widely unexamined absurdity.

Disparities in wealth are taken as de facto proof of white (or male) mendacity, if the disparities favor whites or men; disparities that do not favor them, and the attendant refutations of the grand narrative, are happily ignored.

We are conditioned to believe that it's profoundly immoral to even wonder if material inequality reflects racial and sexual disparities in abilities and inclinations; we are so very conditioned that we cannot even allow ourselves to recognize these disparities are also the aggregate of individuals making choices, thankfully beyond our control. This is how collective guilt assaults the individual, and grinds away at that precious and delicate conceit we've somehow come to take for granted, individuality.

Of course Obama's racial collectivist ideology (in spite of the supposedly "unifying" nature of his mixed parentage--more irony) is a natural enemy of individualism, and must assault it always. If liberty or the law intrude, they catch some too. You see there's always a bottom near; for all of Obama's back and forth, skillful playing of the middle against the end in words, in practice he must come down, repeatedly and consistently, on one side or the other of this question he thinks we can will away--will the law recognize the individual as such, or will it recognize him as a member of a tribe, a class, a sex? All of these, assigned as premiums and penalties of various values, perhaps? Is he answering for his father--strike that, because it must be put at its crudest--is he answering for his race? Yes, we've heard the history, we dare even assert we know it as well as you and the rest of the self-appointed.

Still, there is a powerless and innocent man standing before the irresistable authority of the state at this moment, somewhere. How I do wish he could be brought before you, Senator Obama, to be lectured on his historical, genetic guilt. To be regaled with anecdotes from your tortured, troubled life as a Black Man in America.

Despite the senator's insistence again tonight that it need not be this way, it can only be thus: the worldview he artfully presents is one of divisions consecrated by law. One might even say he offers us a hierarchy of divisions, with that between black and white at its summit. It is precisely the opposite of the "unity" he thinks he's offering. He does not know this.

He does not propose we move beyond race but rather codify its significance through a system of enhanced citizenship consecrated by, among other things, affirmative action, civil rights litigation and censorship. The senator rightly decries his former pastor's vision of a "static" America wherein the racial order is forever one step removed from slavery, but at the same time offers an analysis that is indistinguishable. Implicitly Obama does not promise to "transcend" race, but to settle the question of it once and for all. Needless to say this is fantastical, and the senator recognizes as much where it is politically advantageous.

No matter how much and mightily Obama attempts to shoe-horn this demagogy into that vessel, it cannot be escaped: the Democrats and their brightest political star remain committed to a model of citizenship and legal standing enhanced and ordered by ethnicity and sex, founded on a social construct of collective historical guilt that can never be absolved. If whites are not to be "second-class citizens" they are to carry with them always a conditional asterisk. At this point my argument is met with the litany of outrages: the plight of the urban poor, the historical record, racial disparities in wealth, the "legacy" of slavery (not to be confused with the legacy of being born in America rather than Angola--no, that would be "racist"). All valid concerns, all in need of address. That address may in fact be the continuation in perpetuity of the current "racial spoils" system. I'm open to the argument, if only someone were to dare make it, consequences and all.

In his speech today Obama brilliantly (and with admiring candor) recognized the legitimacy of working class white opposition to his candidacy. If you're well-off racial set-asides, affirmative action and Chicago-style ward politics with a hard racial edge all seem like noble trade-offs. If you cannot escape these things, that is you can't afford to move at will and pretend that "white flight" is irrational, then Senator Obama's rhetoric is easily recognizable as the ill-informed affront that it is. Leftists in America used to express confidence in the voter's awareness of self-interest. Now the realities of democratic (note--small D) racial factionalization compel them to argue against its existence.

The humiliating fact that Senator Obama would recognize if political opportunity did not draw him with the inexorable force of a black hole into rhetorical and logical obscurity, if he were allowed honesty, is that by all measures liberal convention and the senator repeatedly equate with "social justice"--wealth, health, education, political and social power, opportunity--there is likely no better place than America in which a black person can choose to be born, and if there is one better, it's probably Canada. If he's born in Africa? Well, here it gets even dicier, with that inconveniently wealthy southern cape drawing immigrants in from across Africa even during apartheid, notably the parents of Nelson Mandela himself.

The inequity between white and black is a problem with no solution. It can only be mitigated by a degradation of, ironically, equal opportunity and liberty (in fact does involve this). Senator Obama may be right, after all, about the need for affirmative action, racial set-asides, wealth redistribution and the various other compromises of our classic liberal heritage, but he cannot name it for what it is, a regression into a nation of competing ethno-nationalist factions that will eventually, finally, render the republic and its constitution meaningless.

If you're still with me I do not offer wealth and material progress as excuses for apartheid, slavery or the economic exploitation of native peoples. But, having no status or position in this society to protect, I am allowed to openly consider if their absence from history wouldn't leave most of the world to primitive squalor and ignorance.

Because you have already intuited, as the senator no doubt does, that one cannot separate the constellation of sins about European colonialism from the mass that is its invaluable gift to humanity. Obama wants you to feel guilty, oh so guilty, for being white (no matter how poor or penitent you are), but he will not allow you a moment's pride in it. That would be "racist." This is how the social construct of collective guilt, a legally and religiously sanctioned double standard, is made into a bludgeon.

Someone I respect greatly recently ended a column on another subject by noting that "America is a profoundly racist country." The sort of remark that is still widely accepted, if in a weary and desultory manner these dark, disillusioned days. But this is a phrase without meaning because its proper context is censored with a religious severity. The phrase, "America is racist", means nothing because it's not allowed contextual coherence: as opposed to what other country?
Obama answers that question, flattering whites with, no other country; reassuring blacks with the qualifier, and it will never be good enough.

He is probably right. There is no greater testament to that fact than his success. Obama is no more a master of this universe than you or I. Unable to see the forest for the trees he cannot know the indifferent historical forces of which he is an instrument. But he is a progression of sorts, for a nation that knows but will not allow itself to say aloud that legal equality and human equality are contradictory.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Red State Bar Banter

"Are you kidding me? John McCain is a lunatic. 'More wars.' Where, John? Who do you have in mind? Anyone in particular? Or is it just the war part that's important? And this 'hundred years' in Iraq business. 'Cause Iraq is just like Japan or Korea, which it of course isn't, but it only gets me thinking, 'yeah, why the hell are we still in Korea and Japan?' And this 'screw you' attitude toward people who disagree with him. I'm supposed to cower beneath his charges of bigotry because I don't share his view on immigration. And the press; don't get me started. This is beginning to get embarrassing. Turn a hose on them or they'll be out in the street all day like that."

"Hah.Yeah."

"I think the guy's been nuts ever since he was a POW. That's the ironic thing about John McCain. We're basically electing this guy because of his personal history in Vietnam. Because of his narrative of heroic suffering. But that same experience should actually make us more leery of this guy. I mean the same thing that made him a perversely stubborn bastard willing his way through his time in captivity may in fact make him an awful president."

"Good point. Alex, give this guy another round on me."

"Thanks. But it's all about this bullshit relationship he has with the press. I'll give him this much: he's figured it out. To get the press on your side humor the bastards night and day. Flatter them. Give them 'access' and they'll love you for it so much they won't ask you any tough questions. Give 'em access and they'll do nothing with it, lest they lose it. Brilliant. And all these middle-aged male reporters who took a deferment in college, having had to rely on the Persian Gulf I box-set on DVD, living vicariously through this old man's yarn that's probably a load of crap to begin with. Laughing at those awful one-liners like a bunch of ass-kissing employees. His whole line is 'I'm a crazy bad-ass. Vote for me.' He'll bankrupt us on war and import millions of poor people in the process. John McCain: Open Borders, Open Warfare.
"But the pride, the vindictiveness, the impatience with dissent and debate; it's positively pathological. And temperament is more important now than ever. Hell, these guys aren't experts on any particular policy question. The best we can hope for is a capable, measured personality commited to the constitution. He is the opposite of that. I think he might possibly be legally insane."

"Yeah, it's kind of a drag having to choose whether to vote Democrat or stay home."

"Are you crazy? And elect Clinton or Obama?"

...

"Oh no, that would be disaster. No, if it comes to that, if my state's in play, I'll bite the bullet and do what I have to."

...

"What are you staring at?"

"Hey Alex, gimme another. Double this time."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Newswire

Washington (UNS) -- A popular conservative website today released what it claims are passages edited out of the first draft submission of Barack Obama's best-selling memoir, Dreams From My Father. Outraged Obama supporters contend the story is a fraud seeking to arouse racist sentiment.
"These are forgeries in the mold of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and they're blatantly racist, perpetuating sexual stereotypes about black men in an attempt to stoke racial anxieties toward a man who could become the nation's first black president." Senior advisor David Pouffe said today.

Among the material posted on the Dredge Report this morning was an explicit account of a sexual encounter between a young Obama and a fellow student at Columbia University:

As our heaving forms labored to produce the kinetic energy of two opposites interacting, two counterpoints alternately coming together and apart as if unsure of their relation to one another, simultaneously at war and in congress, the tempo increasing and our sexual pleasure quickening, she suddenly called out:
"Yes! Faster! Harder! More! More!"
It was then that it struck me. It would always be thus; this expectation of more, this taking for granted of subservience, arising in habit ingrained by generations of the casual indulgence of privileged status. I would forever be driven forward, compelled on, faster, harder... More, black man. More.

I looked at Demarcus, across the pale expanse of privileged skin separating us. Our eyes met in silent, weary understanding. Now it was as if the gentle rocking of our heads was no longer merely the result of our exertions, but mutual nodding in grim assent to the harrowing recognition of a reality too evident, too total, too painful and humiliating to speak aloud, in the silent communication of a profound pain that began in the holds of the slave ships. No matter how hard we worked to "fit in", no matter what we did or how well we did it, we would never find respite. Even here with two of us in harness, it simply would not do. For some the bar would always be set a little higher; from some a little more would be demanded. This compulsion would always be there, driving us on in the silent company of the many enslaved and oppressed to come before, this expectation that we were to spend ourselves in subjugation and service.

In my mind's eye I saw them, legions of nameless black men, bending over their work in the field, being driven beneath the lash. Here I was now bent over this work, driven, still, beneath this lash. Only now the actual whip was no longer required, the promise of violence so long established that it needed no overt threat. So deeply instilled was the system of privilege that it determined every interaction between the races. Now the whiplash came in the insensitive, blithely ignorant comment, in the nervous look, in the discretely tightened grip on the purse, in the drawing of the child closer, in the taxi cab speeding past and in the callous enthusiasm demanding more. Faster. Harder. More.

I would always be expected to "satisfy", to perform a task on someone else's behalf, to be an object of amusement, even here a mere sexual beast of burden...

Citing an "anonymous source still working for the book's publisher", the website alleges the passage from which the above excerpt was taken was cut before going to press due not to its subject matter but a need to trim the first-time author's manuscript by an additional ten thousand words. Senator Obama's campaign was unavailable for comment.