In the book of my memory, after the first pages, which are almost blank, there is a section headed
Incipit vita nova.
Beneath this heading I find the words which it is my intention to copy into this smaller book, or if not all, at least their meaning.

Dante,La Vita Nuova

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

dagzine >>> dagsign >>> dagzine

It's been a long absence from writing, reading, researching--thinking about words and lines.
I'm very happy to have rolled back into health to such an extent that I can return to what makes me truly happy.

You can read my work on pedagogy, teaching, Korea, politics at dagSeoul.
Let me know what you think. Stay in touch.

This Man is Going to Pieces: On the emerging a-relational male subject and the salutary process of decomposition

Since so much of the story recounted in Swann's Way is Oedipal in nature, it's not hard to imagine a group of readers interacting with it in the way Rilke describes. However, the poet's life is representative not because he desires his mother but because he wants to get rid of her, and because by repudiating her he has lost the capacity to love. Women have a "diploma" in this affect, Rilke argues in a 1912 letter, but all that men have ever done is mouth meaningless phrases. Over the centuries, the male subject has become increasingly a-relational, and now a "man of the 'new grain'" has emerged, whose defining attribute is solitude. Since it is neither psychically nor ontologically possible for any of us to be alone, this man is "going to pieces." When this "salutary" process of decomposition is complete, he will finally start learning how to love, and at some point in the future we will witness something that we have not yet seen: the heterosexual couple.
Like Rilke, Nietzsche, Rodin, Cezanne, and Proust are all striking examples of this "man of the 'new grain,'" and the a-relational male subject also occupies an important place in Paul Valery's writings. Nietzsche, Rodin, and Proust share Rilke's preoccupation with corporeal disintegration, as well. Zarathustra tells his disciples that mankind is "in ruins and scattered about as if on a battle field or a butcher field." One of the most basic principles of Rodin's work is the "repetition and exploitation of fragments, constantly metamorphosed and renewed in context and meaning," and in the opening section of Swann's Way, a solitary male subject offers a detailed description of the numerous "pieces" into which his ego falls whenever he enters the indeterminate zone between sleeping and waking. Like Rilke, Proust seems to find this decomposition "salutary," because he treats it as the prelude to an almost unimaginably capacious relationality. In an important passage early in Swann's Way, Marcel describes the process of coming to consciousness as a vertiginous journey not just through his own memories but also through a much larger past.
from the introduction to Kaja Silverman's Flesh of My Flesh (Stanford UP, 2009)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Doris Lessing

Just posting a collection of links. Beginning reading Martha Quest. I forgot how fabulous Doris Lessing is. I'm actually quite excited about this reading. I think Praise is a bit ahead of me right now.

Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2007. Here is the interview conducted by John Mullan.

Here is her bio on the Nobel site.
Here is her bio on wikipedia.

A clip from an interview with Lessing translator, Krista Kaer.

I'm struck by Lessing's presence as an author. She really does belong to a liminal community of writers caught between the late 19thC and the late 20thC, early 21st. She willfully and gleefully, if I can say so, shrugs off the confines of polite society and intellectual clothing that wraps much of modern European prose. What appears at first traditional slowly becomes radical, diatactical rather than dialectical perhaps? I'm thinking of Hayden White's Tropics of Discourse. However, she is disciplined and intellectual, a true master of the craft of the novel unlike much of contemporary fiction, especially in the United States. The post 60s novel can be a rather anti-intellectual affair that poses as a radical representation of identity and consciousness. Writers are much more in tune to the market, even the writer-critics, teacher-writers, writer-artists, of which the last is the current vogue, are keen observers of the small press market and, in my opinion, much too interested in their noteriety and reception than they are in cultivating their craft and discourse community. In fact, there is no discernible writing community among fiction writers. There are many writers' groups, which like group therapy are about acceptance more than craft. I digress.

I just reached the point in the Nobel Prize interview where Mullan asks Lessing about Harold Bloom's critique that her prose was "an attack on the male sex." HA! Harold Bloom. What a fart!

Here is her reaction to being stalked by the British press after winning the Nobel Prize.

Lessing always expresses that her writing represents a kind of realism. For example, when answering criticism about how men are represented in her work, she responds that it's the "strictest realism." No apologies for her manner of observing everyday life. It is real. Very encouraging. It's not literature serving a social or political cause, in fact and for example Lessing says that being labeled a feminist author never did her any good. It's her prose and in that manner it is real. The personal is political. In other words, she is not carrying water for anyone. I like that. A lot.

"The novel is not where the passion is situated." Lessing criticizes the place of the novel. Well, she was correct. Is correct. The novel is currently the domain of the amateur and talented novelists are not promoted for their intellectualism. They are quite often shunned for it. Difficult books are a bad thing. And this is not only a problem in the more traditionally artistic circles, this extends to the genre market. I don't know what to make of this. Although it's safe to say that the market needs a resurgence of patronage. Authors need to get back in the habit of cultivating scenes that are picky and exclusive. We need to cultivate our literature. Some people do not write well. Look at the number of writing programs in the US. It's no surprise that much of the work being published is crap. MFA programs are as much about introducing writers to people who can get you published as they are about workshops. Unfortunately, they are less about developing a rigorous attention to the detail of working on theory and craft. In fact, I have yet to meet more than a few students from MFA writing programs that know anything about theory or care to learn. They are looking for opportunities to publish. What do we expect?

The novel should not be permitted to become the form for the amateur. We need patrons. It's incredibly difficult to work fulltime and write fulltime. That's the practical matter of fact. What's most lacking is a group of people to speak to about my work. I'm speaking form personal experience here. I take this rather seriously.

In the background, over Lessing's left shoulder, is a yellow box of Go Cat cat food. Wonderfully herself. Unprepared. Honest.

From Lessing's essay on journalism:
The fact is, with journalists as with every profession, only a minority are any good.. Most repeat what others say. This process can be observed in all kinds of context. An exciting bit of music is used to introduce a hundred programmes on television: or an opinion, a catchphrase, taken up, and used to death. (January 1990)

Here is a link to a fansite that is a good retrospective of her work, with many links.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Final Thoughts: I am the invisible man

Invisible Man reminds me of a Lucille Clifton poem: "she closed her eyes, afraid to look for her authenticity / but the light insists on itself in the world..."

Ellison creates this character who is kept in the dark, and who chooses to stay there.  He is strung along from one oppressor to the next as the try to dictate his identity for him, and he goes along with it--unknowingly, then knowingly.  Where does he finally find light? Ironically in the dark, when he falls through the manhole. He lights the last of his money on fire, and he realizes people have been using him to be who they want/need him to be. It's near the end of the book; he still doesn't know who he is.

It's the irony of identity. We need others to affirm who we are, or else we become invisible. IM needs people to acknowledge him, otherwise he is invisible.Yet affirmation can easily turn into definition.  As he is acknowledged, he becomes a clone for whatever institution is trying to use him. But I think light does insist on itself in the world; people don't stay in the dark forever, a la Parable of the Cave. I really believe that. It might take a long time, but it happens.

The journey he goes through to find out who he is and what it means to turn the eye inward is painstaking. People use him as the voice or the face of a movement, but organized movements sometimes forget the point of why they were trying to mobilize in the first place. Take for instance the Brotherhood. They started off with ideals of a more equal society, but by the end they had sucked the life out of the young people they used only for their symbolic value to the masses. This happens all the time today. Look at Miss California, who is now the bizarre spokesperson for the right wing's anti-gay campaign in the U.S. [WTF??]

I think of IM's plight to find who he is after experiencing great disillusion. He thinks he's a kid who's got a chance to do something big, but he finds himself confused, betrayed, hurt, misunderstood, unseen--that painful inner eye. Disillusionment may paint the perpetrator as evil, but it also brings light to your own foolishness for being duped. In lieu of facing the world, he goes into hiding. By the epilogue, he decides that he can no longer hide, hibernate, stew in his own revelations. 

I feel like this right now. I've been hibernating after being disillusioned by two big institutions that I really would have liked to believe were the answers to life: education and religion. I tried to do it their way, but their way wasn't me. And because of my personality, or my "showmanship" perhaps, I'm the one chosen to be paraded around. It's always been this way, i.e. put on a happy face in public, feel depressed about my identity in private. As IM says, "So after years of trying to adopt the opinions of others I finally rebelled."  My hibernation has been through my entire twenties. What do I do? Who am I, then? 

I denounce because though implicated and partially responsible, I have been hurt to the point of abysmal pain, hurt to the point of invisibility. And I defend because in spite of all I find that I love. In order to get some of it down I have to love. I sell you no phony forgiveness, I'm a desperate man--but too much of your life will be lost, its meaning lost, unless you approach it as much through love as through hate. So I approach it through division. So I denounce and I defend and I hate and I love. 579-580

I don't rebel to a point where I give up those facets of my identity only because the institutions disappoint. But I'm a desperate woman--I fear that too much of my youth will be lost to hibernation.

Anyway, here are some cool quotes about the American Identity and conformity and all that. I just realized, that in the beginning of the book, Norton asks IM if he's read "Self-Reliance" and IM ashamedly replies, not yet. However, he is the very essence of self-reliance at the end- the realization of his own individuality, the ability to discern for himself, the anti-conformity rants in the epilogue. And he learns it all in a much harsher way than dear old Ralph., and I just realized it was "Emerson's son" who started him on his journey to utter disillusionment and self-reliance, non-conformity. Cool!!!

I had no longer to run for or from the Jacks and the Emersons and the Bledsoes and the Nortons, but only from their confusion, impatience, and refusal to recognize the beautiful absurdity of their American identity and mine. 559

Whence all this passion toward conformity anyway?--diversity is the word. Let man keep his many parts and you'll have no tyrant states... America is woven of many strands; I would recognize them and let it remain so. 577

So long IM! I've learned much from you. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Too Muchee!

There is so much I want to say. I just passed page 300 and I don't know where to begin.

First, Ellison's character development is astounding. We have met about twenty characters or something and each person is as developed as he or she should be, according to how much time, speech and description they are given. Many aren't given more than a few pages, and they are quite vivid, deep. Take for instance, Trueblood, the farmer who impregnated both his wife and his daughter. His story, which was heard in its entirety by one of the rich, white trustees for a black university, gave us a glimpse and all there is to know about this one man and his situation. He was living in wretched poverty, a truly desolate situation. He dreams one night that he is sleeping with a white woman and with it comes all the conflicting emotions and fear--only to wake up atop of his daughter. Now, the more wonderful (and I mean "wonder"ful in its truer sense) thing he does is allow people who are supposedly uneducated and inarticulate, to speak in the most articulate, lyrical, metaphorical manner using southern black vernacular, while inserting double entendres to delineate truths that are not acknowledged by any of the characters because they were meant for me, the reader. EX: Trueblood (even his name for Pete's sake!) is explaining the dream in which he came to have sex with a white woman: Everything in the room was white and I'm standin' there knowin' I got no business in there, but there anyhow... I tries to git out, but I don't find the door; and all around me I can smell woman...Then I looks over in a corner and sees one of them tall grandfather clocks and I hears it strinkin' and the glass door is openin' and a white lady is steppin' out of it....she looks straight at me. I don't know what to do. I wants to run, but the only door I see is the one in the clock she's standin' in... [and the clock is] gittin faster and faster all the time. I tries to say somethin', but I can't. It leaves tons of room for interpretation, doesn't it? He's trapped in a white world. He doesn't know how to get out. The only exit is "time," but "time" is moving faster and faster, out of his control, not allowing him to leave. The woman stares right at him. She's alluring him to do what white society has labeled to be abominable. It's fucking brilliant.

Ellison juxtaposes Trueblood with another character, a black physician who served in WWII and learned his trade in France. He comes home only to realize that the color of his skin will not allow him to be a learned man who contributes to society and he speaks with standard grammar and high vocabulary, as the narrator points out, like a white man. In fact, he speaks directly to the white trustee without apology and in fact is the one with the knowledge to help when the white dude passes out. I leave out the setting for the sake of time and space, which is a shame because the Golden Day scene was unreal. But with this man, the concept of invisibility is slowly starting to settle in for the reader, although not as clearly for the narrator: But for God's sake, learn to look beneath the surface... And remember you don't have to be a complete fool in order to succeed. Play the game, but don't believe in it...You're hidden right out in the open--that is, you would be if you only realized it. They wouldn't see you because they don't expect you to know anything, since they believe they've taken care of that... Everyone is telling him who he is, how to be, what he can accomplish, in this case as an invisible man. 

What I find to be most awe-some is Ellison's ability to write in such a way to provoke a kind of tension between the reader and the narrator. The narrator is innocent and naive but becoming disillusioned. Trying to figure out what to do with his life AND WHO HE IS when there aren't many options (very similar to the Bigger Thomas conflict). The reader, on the other hand, feels frustrated with how slow to learn the character is because Ellison writes in a way that makes us think we know more than the protagonist (there is a term for that), but truthfully, we don't know what is happening to him, or us. We DON'T understand how much we are swept along with our own circumstances and how people tend to define us. (I just watched Fahrenheit 9/11. Damn the last administration to pieces!!) 

It's amazing so far. Much has happened, mostly concerning disillusionment. Being naive and thinking being black doesn't matter if he tries hard enough (the American dream), he moves to New York and goes through a hurricane of awakenings. I'm at the part now where he's meeting all the white folks who are fighting for "all people" strategically. And he has no power except for what they allow him to have- which is none at all. The illusion of power when really you're just a cog.


I took a break from this post and now I'm at page 400 and I'm amazed STILL. He brings back powerful images from past pages to create parallels-- like the religious hypocrisy he experiences while in the South. The reverend from Chicago who gives a sermon at the university and yanks, rips out everyone's heartstrings with the ups and downs of his thunderous voice--convincing everyone that they are part of a great African American- no, people's movement-- turns out to be blind. He has no idea what black or white looks like. The reverend moves people with his voice and his rhetoric, but really says nothing much at all, and literally cannot see anything at all... 

AND LOOK! That's what invisible man is doing now for the Brotherhood! He even uses the same preaching style that he learned from the South to make big speeches, trying to define identity and passion for other people so they might join the movement or feel inspired, while still having no idea who he is and allowing others (or are they forcing it on him) to define who he is! He keeps referring to "putting on new clothes" and becoming someone new- even if he didn't feel it, that he would become "it"... If you act the part, you genuinely start to believe it at some point, not knowing it is hypocrisy.  He is metaphorically blind. 

It's so sad because right before he met the Brotherhood, he was just saying "What and how much had I lost by trying to do only what was expected of me instead of what I myself had wished to do?" (266) At this point, he thinks he is doing what he wants to do, but Ellison is dropping mad hints that this is not the case at all. Another point for "them," still zero for invisible man. 


In response to Gary, who wrote so poignantly about his struggle with whiteness, I am astounded to find a white guy who feels this way. Most "majority" people feel bad for past/present injustice, but they don't take it personally. Maybe he's on to something when he says that the struggle found him and not the other way around. 

His post also made me think of all the many which ways I could relate to this book. First as a minority who has the rest of society telling you who they think you are. I was talking about this with Mary and Mish last night- like, if you are AfAm who can't dance, people think there is something wrong with you. I remember in college, my friend Deshonda said, "I am NEVER late for class. If I'm late, I don't go. Or else I'm that black girl who walked in late. Colored People Time. Everyone notices me. If a white girl walked in late, no one would remember which one." You are defined by what "they" say you are and whether you fit that standard or you buck against it. Which reminds me of a great line in the book: "What a group of people we were, I thought. Why you could cause us great humiliation simply by confronting us with something we liked. Not all of us, but so many." I like fried rice. I bow. I like conserving my money and being cheap sometimes. Suddenly those things become stereotypical and now I have to decide. Will I be loud and proud? Or will I try to break stereotypes? But I like fried rice. 

As an Asian American, your identity to the majority is defined by the media- because American history doesn't ever recount Asian immigrant experiences except for a few things: The Chinese built the railroads, the Japanese were placed in internment camps, the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Most people today wouldn't look at me and assume that I have much to do with those things, except white-American folks over the age of sixty who never fail to tell me about the Korean War. Also, we live in a black v. white, now black v. white v. latino culture, and the Asian minority (which has so many unique ethnic groups within it) become the minority of the minorities (although the Native Americans top us in diminutiveness for sure) and that means there are not even enough stereotypes to buck against. I have been called Margaret Cho AND Lucy Liu AND the girl from Gilmore Girls. How can I look like all three? White frat boys from U of Illinois never gave me the time of day in college (oh, if I had the time to share my and my friends' stories), but after we graduated and moved back to Chicago, I got hit on by them at bars: Oh, you went to U of I the same time I did! How come I never saw you? What are you? Oh, Korean. What would your parents say if you brought home a white boy? My sister married a black guy and my parents are not about it. You know, the older generation is so ignorant sometimes. How big of him! What does he want me to say to that--oh my, you're quite open-minded. What, now that you're in the real world, you walk up to a table of Asian girls, buy all of them a round of drinks and think you can get some exotic ass?  

There's not much I can be to the general public. Plus, Betty Brown wants us to change our names. Talk about identity theft.

May I say, on top of this, I'm a professing, Bible-reading Christian. As an Asian American Christian, I have no clue what the white evangelical folks are up to- I mean, I do to some degree of course. But it seems like a different world, a world where white folks live and do crazy shit like curse homosexuals and then molest little boys or ask for money on PTL and then go to jail and write a book about how Jesus didn't really like money at all. Korean churches had other shit. The adults were super-conservative and the kids were super-heretical. In Chicago, there is a joke that goes "Let's make like a Korean church and split" because so many churches were dividing because of politics. It made me hate anything that was conservative and anything that was political. FUCK THAT SHIT! 

So add that. Now I carry all the stigma of being a Christian in a white, right wing Conservative Evangelical movement with George W. and all his Bible study friends ALONG with being a geisha-seductress, math whiz who plays the violin and eats fried rice. If you can imagine that there could be still another very large dimension to my identity crisis, there is the Korean immigrant culture that is instilled in me by my parents and family friends and how I grew up.  I can't even go into what Korean culture tries to dictate when talking about identity. It would make my little brain blow up trying to communicate that in English to mostly non-Korean readers. 

I'm not trying to say, oh boo hoo poor me who grew up in such an oppressive culture. But reading this book, it makes me realize just how powerfully a majority culture can create and manipulate the norm, and how many, including members of the majority, do not fit into it. Invisible Man does a good job of showing us that we all grow up a certain way and are told to have certain beliefs and are told to be certain people. 

But like Gary, something should not sit right in all of us. 

Monday, April 20, 2009

Always keep them running

Invisible Man has always been a great read for two reasons.  It reminds me of 1995 and in 1995 I made the decision to change my life (that's another story) and attempt to become a teacher and writer; in addition, I came to realize I am a race traitor.  I'm likely to explain more of this in detail while writing about Ellison's novel.  Maybe not.  It's hard to write about.

It's safe to say that I see myself in this novel and what I see I don't like.  Not that I don't like myself.  I don't like what I am encouraged to inherit on behalf of all the other folks who look like me.  Moreover, I don't like feeling guilty of being white.  For some white men, this means bitching everyday about everyone who is not white always bitching about white folks.  I am not one to whine about being called white, though.  And really that is not getting at the heart of the matter at all.  It just scractches the surface.  Yet this introduction to my complex relationship with my own whiteness begins a story I have been attempting to tell since '95 about seeing myself as helplessly tied to something I have been vehemently rejecting since I was a child.

It wasn't that I thought it was wrong to call black kids in my East Tulsa neighborhood niggers, or brown people spics, or the Vietnamese refugee families, gooks.  I  did think it was wrong; I was taught it was wrong.  This is the simple way to tell the story of race:  talking about name-calling and finger-pointing.  More significantly, what I suffered was a pain in my gut and head, a real pain that often left me lying in bed writhing in real physical pain.  What pleasure is there in treating others in such a way?  Maybe I was naive and sensitive.  But I was affected when I was a kid.  Too smart for my own community, too creative and free-thinking for school, and too emotional for my own good.  In short, while genius, a total nutcase.  (It helps to have a good sense of humor.  You're supposed to smiling.)

I'm sure to write about this a little more.  But the difference I felt was always knowably not the difference the black kids endured.  For many folks in power, knowing about injustice absolves a person from guilt.  And that absolution then serves as a pass to participate in the unjust intstitutions anyway.  What I was upset about was that I was always encouraged to say yes to something others were never going to be allowed to access.  And that bargain has always made me sick to my stomach.

I never picked the fight against white.  It chose me.  Maybe it's genetic:  or maybe to support the white power structure is unnatural--a perspective I choose to support on my more optimistic days--and unnatural because it is at the core of some of the more grotesque social and cultural realities we confront everyday without thinking about them:  realities like "Capital is self-valorizing" and "Might makes Right."

I am not perfect.  It's hard to reject the allure of self-righteousness and Right.  I find no comfort in our Original Sin.  I do find that its mark--Whiteness--and its practice--Masculinity--and its economy--Capitalism--are quite easy targets actually.  But though the facility with which we can point to the visible errors in these institutions may suit a comedian's need for a quick, efficient and intelligent or timely joke, I think we need a dedicated fight to destroy each of these institutions and revise our work and common goals.

I am not patting myself on the back or trying to be eloquent.  And I am not saying anything new.  It's hardly shocking.  You may have every right to say, "Hey, here's another white guy who has discovered injustice!  Go figure."  I understand.  But I do believe that I have been tasked with overcoming the intellectual cynicism and smirk of educational professionalism and I ought to do something about it.  It's a vow.  I suppose this is why I am an Americanist.  This drive is written over and over again throughout our short history.  Yet, we go nowhere with the knowledge that we have sinned against humanity in a most severe way.  We are racists, sexist pigs; we hate the poor, the working class; we heap unearned ambition and morality on the wealthy.  It's almost as if because we know these things we feel we have done enough.  By the way, this is a problem I feel we have inherited from Europe and what we call Continental Philosophy is rife with smart bigots who we insist we cannot overcome because their innovative thoughts are so rich and complex:  for an example read Kant.

And this is what Ellison's Invisible Man is about.  And this is why I love it.  It reminds me that I should do something.  It's only that, at times, I wonder if a guy who looks like me can do anything other than betray his race?  (And you do realize that race is an illusion.  What we are talkign about is a social construction.  The biology is different thing altogether.  But the biology is about our similar mothers.  The sociology is about the sexist pig fathers and their attempt to find, by any means necessary, hoard all the material exploits our planet has to offer.)

But this should serve as a quick introduction to my reason for picking the novel to read.  I do have a simple reason, too:  Praise has not read it.  I loved the idea of reading it with her for her first time.

Ellison has two kinds of reader:  people who love his novel and cherish it, and folks who will admit the book is great but are upset at the subject matter.  It isn't that people don't know the truth (about white power in America,) it's just that some people don't want to do anything about.  It's hard work betraying the power structure:  it has benefits for everyone.

I had fits about one thing that nearly drove me crazy--and it did leave me in a deep depression from which I emerged 6 months after undergrad graduation, in 1997, with a bottle of pills in stomach, from which all the rest of my life has sprung.  The One Thing:  I am white and though I want to transform the power structure, I have had to learn to let go.  To betray my racist, unearned inheritance...well, it's not easy.  Ellison's novel is refreshing.  It is comic.  It is shocking.  It is revelatory.

The unnamed narrator of Invisible Man is the greatest Modern male protagonist in American literature.  There are a handful of these great, male protagonists:  Isaac McCaslin, Quentin Compson, Bigger Thomas.  Look I love Melville.  A lot.  Moby Dick is a great novel.  But some things happened to the American novel in the early twentieth century:  color, expressionism, surrealism, war, genocide, and psychoanalysis.  Maybe I should use the troubled term High Modern.  I really am superfocused on 1910-1960 when it comes to film, literature, theory, and art overall.

More to come.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Invisible Man

Our next read is Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man. Gary has read this already, but I haven't. It's always been on my list. I read Native Son last year and it rocked my world. I remember planning one Friday of silent reading with the juniors (I never do silent reading) because I couldn't stop thinking about Bigger Thomas and I wanted to silently read. I'm super-excited about Invisible Man.

Well, I read the author's note, the prologue, which felt sort of like Breakfast of Champions--can I trust the narrator?-- and chapter one. It seems like I've already met three main characters, and in a strange way, aren't they images of each other?

*The author, burdened by the task of creation, of deliberate manipulation of a character to reflect something bigger (the "something" that gets bigger almost in concentric circles, ripples of humanity, even as he ponders it)
*The "invisible" character of old age from the prologue, the product of what the author was able to find: the freedom to laugh the laugh of the blues- then write it down
*The "visible" character of youth from chapter one, the story begins...

All parts of the much larger, scarier, more lamentable picture. OH THE VULNERABILITY OF MAN!! OH THE DEPRAVITY!

Uh, who's being dramatic?

It's just that I am blown away so far. The scene with the whiskey&cigar higher-ups (which I can still picture in NYC--the old white boys club) becoming bellicose with drink; the blonde who sold her soul--naked body but wearing a mask of makeup--and the black boy-boxers trying to hide their erections and their guilt for looking at a white woman; the panicked and savage battle royal--blindfolded--who's fighting who, physically and metaphysically?; the inner-struggle/inner-monologue of our dear protagonist who only wants to prove that he is not savage by delivering a speech about humility--

That's all I've read so far. It's too much to bear for a morning commute to the office!

More to come.