To: Jacob Kell
The thing that totally amazes me is that I had Baraka as a creative writing professor at Rutgers and this man, in person, is nothing like the lunatic that I read about in the press. While he certainly did claim to be a communist and he certainly had a leftist view of race relations, I never felt any hostility talking to him during and after class despite the fact that I'm white. And he has such an excellent sense of story that it is a shame that he wastes his talent (and he does have it) on nonsense like this. I'm not excusing him for what he wrote but it seems to me like there are two Barakas and I can't explain it.
Mayber he has a split personality.
And he has such an excellent sense of story that it is a shame that he wastes his talent (and he does have it) on nonsense like this.
I beg to disagree: any person who has had a sense of beauty visiting him or her for a moment would shiver upon reading the above quoted lines --- even if one wrote them while drunk the previous night.
it seems to me like there are two Barakas and I can't explain it. It does look like a consultation with a psychiatrist is long overdue here.
But enough analyzing evil: let us contain it first, regardless of its nature. The last 80 or more years of Western civilization have been wasted on the preoccupation with that task --- understanding evil --- to the point that film director could publicly declare a couple of years ago, "Good is boring; evil is interesting." I understand him: how else can an ignoramus rise in society? Let us declare the truly difficult and useful tasks, such as understanding good, unnecessary --- that clears the path for the mediocrity in our midst.
Don't squat over an ant trying to analyze his trajectory in the garden --- and this "laureate," Mr. Baraka, is indeed an ant. Get up and walk towards something big that is truly mystifying.
posted on 10/02/2002 9:40:22 AM PDT
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