A new study suggests that highlighting racism in the criminal justice system is not the answer, and in fact pushes white voters in the opposite direction. Even when whites believe the current laws are too harsh, they’re less likely to support changing the law if they’re reminded that the current prison population is disproportionately black.
And the light. The light in the room is fantastic. Vermeer, all business, hands on his hips, directing the sun. Of course, there’s the berber rug. Not a Paul-Bowles-got-wasted-on-this-rug-berber, but creamy, white wool, Yaletown berber.
Nina, sitting cross-legged on her basement suite’s futon couch, fennel tea cooling beside her on the upturned milk crate draped with a beach towel, really does want to hate them. She has already started that ascent to the dizzying heights a decent bout of righteous anger can transport her to—that place where the air thins, the blood grows hypoxic, and you can muse on your own demise in an oddly detached manner—but the fine print gets in the way. Dramatization, it reads in tiny type at the bottom of the magazine ad. The clients’ names and story are fictitious and intended to be an illustration of services available through Merrill Lynch. Investment results may vary.
Still, there’s that light and the unnerving placement of naïf objets d’art. And Patricia, coiled to spring even in repose. It’s as if Jeff Wall has done an ad for Merrill Lynch. The People You Will Never Be So Kill Yourself Now (cibachrome, 2006).
What are the qualities that make a work “relatable,” and why have these qualities come to be so highly valued? Rebecca Mead writes: http://nyr.kr/1tCReIz
“The concept of identification implies that the reader or viewer is, to some degree at least, actively engaged with the work in question: she is thinking herself into the experience of the characters on the page or screen or stage.
But to demand that a work be ‘relatable’ expresses a different expectation: that the work itself be somehow accommodating to, or reflective of, the experience of the reader or viewer.”
The NF, I said finally. What do you think about holding a party for the National Front?
It’s an honor, she said, now clearly understanding. It’s an honor and a privilege.
This surprised me.
So she explained. The Green Man, she said, prided itself on being the most racialist pub in England. That was her word: racialist. There were other racialist pubs, she said. In fact, there were two more in Bury. But none was as consistently racialist as the Green Man. The Green Man, she continued, had never served a colored person. No black or Paki had ever had a drink at the Green Man. And everyone who worked at the Green Man was proud of its record. It was also why everyone regarded it as a privilege to hold a party here for the National Front. They felt they had earned it.
No wogs, her partner behind the bar added, perhaps for clarification.
That’s right, she said. No colored people of any description.
I was surprised. I had not expected to hear racism expressed so explicitly by people working behind the bar of a pub—one owned by a brewery that was itself a public company. The fact was I hadn’t expected to hear racism expressed so explicitly by people I had only just met, regardless of where they worked.
"It’s not so funny," he said. "It was a narrow escape. I’ll show you pictures of it sometime. The humdrum glum carried to its sub-human level. Sunday night in the Methodist church. You won’t feel like laughing. You’ll cry your eyes out."
He tried to flip a cigarette nonchalantly into his mouth like what’s-his-name in the movies, but he missed. I didn’t feel like laughing. A shadow had fallen across us, like suddenly coming upon a hunchback in a hopefully colored tie or an unsuccessful actor with dyed bright hair in the middle of a sunny day.
"I feel like crying now," I said.
"Do you? Do you? Oh my darling!” He took my hand and kissed it. We looked at each other for a long, long time. “I know what,” he said. “I’ll give you two dollars if you can cry now. Two dollars if you can cry in one minute flat.”
"Fifteen seconds," he said, looking at his watch fifteen seconds later. "Not bad."
'Have a great one!' said Pete, a heavy-jawed blond beast in an apron, sliding the coffee across the counter.
Old enough to remember the arrival of ‘Have a nice day,’ Patrick could only look with alarm on the hyperinflation of ‘Have a great one.’ Where would this Weimar of bullying cheerfulness end? ‘You have a profound and meaningful day now,’ he simpered under his breath as he tottered across the room with his giant mug. ‘Have a blissful one,’ he snapped as he sat at a table. ‘You all make sure you have an all-body orgasm,’ he whispered in a Southern accent, ‘and make it last.’ Because you deserve it. Because you owe it to yourself. Because you’re a unique and special person. In the end, there was only so much you could expect from a cup of coffee and an uneatable muffin. If only Pete had confined himself to realistic achievements. ‘Have a cold shower,’ or ‘Try not to crash your car.’