On November 24, 1948, Vernon Sullivan disappeared. Two years earlier he had caused a scandal in Paris when Editions du Scorpion published his first novel, I Spit on Your Graves. Sullivan was black, but passed as white. He was tired of reading about "good blacks" in American novels, "the type that whites affectionately pat on the back" and he wanted to write something that portrayed a harder world, the one he knew from life. His book was brutal, sexually explicit, and racially taboo. Its protagonist is Lee Anderson, a blond, blue-eyed black man who arrives in the Midwestern town of Buckton intent on avenging the lynching of his baby brother. [...]
Oh my, here is a review of David Shields' Reality Hunger: "To a certain kind of white writer, engaged in the increasingly professionalized and seemingly "nice" work of churning out novels, poems, essays, and reviews, the rapper DJ comes to stand for this brazen, unapologetic appropriator, regardless of whether actual rappers think of themselves as heroes of 'copyleft,' Proudhonists of the ghetto. The image of the rapper grants the writer a license to ill, even as Shields and co. implicitly deny rap lyricists any originality of their own." The idea of "remix culture" is also fascinating in light of the age of plagiarism.
I hadn't really caught on to the whole David Shields thing because I always get him a little confused in my mind with Chris Hedges, who had to quit his job at the Times to be himself, and who I admire. This is only because they both have these bland guy names. (And lots of S's and H's and things.) So imagine my surprise when I read a little bit of what David Shields' project is and what he has to say and it's all pretty off-putting. Today Shields publishes a defense of his new book, Reality Hunger, which is a manifesto of some sort: he's responding to [...]