Thursday, April 29, 2010


My parents are coming tomorrow. Fellowship season is underway. I am not getting the amount of reading done required to finish 100 books in a year. Not that that's particularly important.

I've been reading Wideman's Martinique book, and I'm not loving it. His book is unfocused (purportedly on purpose) and he talks about Martinique almost solely through his lens of guilt at being "white" by being wealthy enough to go there as a tourist and having a Caucasian girlfriend. All of the history of slavery seems to converge upon the island, and he refuses to see a single islander as anything more than a byproduct of that terrible history. They do not appear to have any other qualities, and Wideman, so dismissive of fellow tourists, says he feels as if he is in a dream, yet I doubt the Martinicans feel this way, that they so box themselves in.
Yes, slavery is and its history remains a critical aspect of the development of Martinican culture, identity, and economic development, but it's not EVERYTHING. Germany and Germans are not all about Nazis. China and the Chinese are not all about Communism. Yes, the tourism industry with its catering to the upper-class, which in this case is largely European, can feel like not too far a leap from days prior. But Martinique is not the only place in the universe where a person's day job is to cater to someone of another race who has more money. This is practically universal. If you want to write a sociological study of tourism and what it means to Caribbean islands or Pacific islands or minorities in any given nation, do it. But don't throw all that weight on Martinique and call it a day.

I have to go to the gym, get my hair cut, clean my car, submit by CBS app, and go to Santa Monica today to pick up an air mattress and see Hot Tub Time Machine with a friend.

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In summing up, I wish I had some kind of affirmative message to leave you with. I don't. Would you take two negative messages?
-- Woody Allen