November 13, 2006

I prefer offensive human beings. They make for better stories.


I am a reader. The problem is, I just don't READ anymore. The grind has got me constantly diverted. I haven't been able to sit down and see the world, from another person's thoughts, for more than ten minutes at a time (this blog ish is made for those on their grind). But, damn, the grind can be coldhearted. People need novels. Baldwin, where you at?

If you are unfamiliar with my man SHERMAN ALEXIE, peep his latest piece of writing NOW. America can be a beautiful place. You just have to know where to look. Where else are you gonna find a coherent piece of writing that can combine the Supersonics, father-son relationships, love, gentrification, hate, Starbucks, and the American dream and still make sense?
We call out America at times. Her economy, her supremacy, her lack of credible leadership, etc, etc. But where else are you gonna find so many stories? In the end, they are all we got. Say what you will about President Bush, you can't argue with the fact that he makes for a great story.

How different is the ghetto from the reservation? Broken traffic lights, hopelessness, schools on the brink of collapse, joblessness, addiction. But somewhere, there is a reason to smile. Somewhere, there is a reason to wake up tomorrow. Somewhere, there is HOPE. You just gotta look for it.

PEEP this excerpt from one of Sherman's stories, "Indian Education:"
ELEVENTH GRADE

Last night I missed two free throws which would have won the game against the best team in the state. The farm town high school I play for is nicknamed the "Indians," and I'm probably the only actual Indian ever to play for a team with such a mascot.

This morning I pick up the sports page and read the headline: INDIANS LOSE AGAIN.

Go ahead and tell me none of this is supposed to hurt me very much.

TWELFTH GRADE

I walk down the aisle, valedictorian of this farm town high school, and my cap doesn't fit because I've grown my hair longer than it's ever been. Later, I stand as the school board chairman recites my awards, accomplishments, and scholarships.

I try to remain stoic for the photographers as I look toward the future.

Back home on the reservation, my former classmates graduate: a few can't read, one or two are just given attendance diplomas, most look forward to the parties. The bright students
are shaken, frightened, because they don't know what comes next.

They smile for the photographer as they look back toward tradition.

The tribal newspaper runs my photograph and the photograph of my former classmates side by side.

POSTSCRIPT: CLASS REUNION

Victor said, "Why should we organize a reservation high school reunion? My graduating class has a reunion every weekend at the Powwow Tavern."
READING IS GANGSTA. READING is keepin it real. Real talk.

7 Comments:

Anonymous CB4 said...

His article about Starbucks and sports is great (although I don't share his love for Starbucks...), the part about father-son relationships is great:

"We care about Ridnour's failures and successes more than we care about most everything else in our lives.

Isn't that pathetic?

Well, yes, of course it is, but it's also the most common way in which a particular kind of male expresses love for himself, for other men, and for the world.

While my father was dying, he and I talked basketball. Three days before he died, my father still had enough will and character left to deride Kobe Bryant for being a rotten smallpox wound on the game of basketball.

"I know," I said. "I can't stand him."

That meant I love you, Dad.

"I still can't believe they traded Shaq instead of Kobe."

That meant I love you, too, Son."

It's the same way with my Dad... and I think it's a huge part of why we still have a good relationship. Sports gives guys something to talk about, and something to share a "love" for. Sports, to me at least, is way more than just entertainment.

And I know this wasn't really the focus of your post, but it's the part that caught me the most anyways.

PEACE

1:56 AM  
Anonymous CB4 said...

Since I can't edit my above post, I'll just add it here...

"READING IS GANGSTA. READING is keepin it real. Real talk."

I completely agree...
Formal education isn't necessarily always available to everyone - but at least in North America, we DO have access to tons and tons of book, through our libaries. Reading is teaching yourself - and to me there's nothing more gangsta than choosing your own path - your own "curriculum" and really LEARNING; both about what you're reading, and also learning about yourself. Unfortunately there haven't been many people in the past 20 or so years that have made intelligence, and learning "cool or gangsta".
Even though I obviously don't know you, I have big respect for you and for the way you seem to look at and think about things... you take them head on and aren't afraid to make your own observations about things, and say what you really think!

Much respect, and PEACE!!!

2:19 AM  
Blogger Amadeo said...

From a young age my mother was putting books in my hand so when I got put out of advanced academics and sent to "enriched" classes, it came as a shock to me that my reading was so out of place. I read roots before I started 9th grade and when this girl found out she asked why would I even be reading that...I didn't even bother to go into the long list of books I had already read.

11:11 AM  
Blogger vik said...

cb4 - glad you loked alexie's writing....have you read his books? fire.

with the digital era, i'm worried reading'll become passe....

amadeo - teach yourself...its the way to go. as long as the teach don't fail ya...

4:44 PM  
Anonymous cb4 said...

Nah, I haven't read any of his books yet... which one(s) would you recommend most?

Thanks

7:14 PM  
Blogger vik said...

cb4 -

hope your holidays are goin well. give thanks.

lone ranger and tonto fistfight in heaven is my fave alexie book (its a collection of short stories).

i also enjoyed reservation blues a lot, a book about the fictional life of a reservation band.

check out his short stories first, to get a feel for his writing. if you like em, he has many more....
PEACE

11:07 AM  
Anonymous CB4 said...

Thanks Vik - I'll try to find the Lone Ranger and Tonto one.
As for Thanksgiving, I live north of the border, so we had ours last month, but I'm thankful for everything all the same (i.e. football on Thursday lol). But in all seriousness, like you said in your newest post, I'm also very thankful for what I've got, because everything considered, I've got a great life.

Thanks again for the recommendation...
PEACE

12:41 PM  

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