Paris Review’s first issue, Spring 1953, cost 75Â¢.
The Paris Review was founded in 1953 by three literary-minded American graduates of elite schools (M.I.T., Yale, and Harvard).
William Styron wrote an editorial statement on the new quarterly’s intentions:
The Paris Review hopes to emphasize creative workâ€”fiction and poetryâ€”not to the exclusion of criticism, but with the aim in mind of merely removing criticism from the dominating place it holds in most literary magazines. [â€¦] I think The Paris Review should welcome these people into its pages: the good writers and good poets, the non-drumbeaters and non-axe-grinders. So long as they’re good.
That was then; this is now.
The latest issue of the Paris Review, June 8, 2020, features an editorial titled, Let It Burn, by one Robert Jones, Jr.
The United States of America is, by its very nature, anti-Black.
It isnâ€™t the only anti-Black nation and it isnâ€™t only anti-Black (it also despises the Indigenous, the queer, the trans, the poor, the disabled, and many others). But anti-Blackness is, indeed, the American fact. The nation was constructed on the notion that white people are the only fully human beings on earth, and that humanity exists on a spectrum that moves from the â€œpurityâ€ of whiteness to the â€œimpurityâ€ of Blackness. This isnâ€™t merely some abstract idea; itâ€™s the foundation of every American institution and what animates every American person. Itâ€™s what allows, for example, the American media to uphold the pretense that pro-Blackness and anti-Blackness are equal moral propositions or that there can ever be â€œboth sides to the storyâ€ when it comes to a state agent murdering a Black person. …
That is the beauty of these uprisingsâ€”which are happening in all fifty states; Washington, D.C.; Puerto Rico; and all around the world, joined, surprisingly, by non-Black people who I can only imagine could no longer suffer under the strain of the guilt that is their blood memory (but not only memory). They hint at the possibility of Black liberation. It will not be achieved, of course. The United States of America would unleash the full fury of its military might upon its own citizens before it would allow that to happen. An America without its proverbial knee on the necks of the Black populace is not America at all. And that is their greatest fear: the collapse of all they hold sacred, which is held together, really, by the fiction that Black people are not people.
We must resist even if defeat is imminent.
I donâ€™t believe we will be liberated from the American regime through superficial and incremental reforms (do you reform a lynch mob by giving them a willow tree instead of a sycamore from which to condemn the hanged?). That is the sacred knowledge that Assata Shakur prophesied for the flock to receive. What is required is a reevaluation, a dismantling. And no nation will go down quietlyâ€”especially not one whose character is no different than that of a tick, sucking the blood of the warm body to which it has attached its mandibles until itâ€™s engorged, leaving disease in its wake. When I was a child, I was told that one way to remove a tick was to light a match and hold it near.
So, the reader might suppose that the author is a poor, constantly persecuted minority, living in fear, forced to do hard labor, and surviving barely above starvation level in some hovel.
Not really. Robert Jones, Jr. is actually a comfortable haute bourgeois homosexual living in Brooklyn, writing for ethnic magazines and the New York Times, and travelling nationally and internationally.
He got a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. at Brooklyn College, and he has a literary agent and his first novel will be being published by Putnam’s next January 5th.
This particular “editorial” is, of course, one of countless pieces of current African-American political manifestos comprised of totally hyperbolic, utterly paranoid, self-indulgent, malicious, fantastical nonsense, peddling limitlessly inflated historical grievances and expressing the most pernicious, offensive and insolent sorts of racial animosity and group chauvinism.
Reading it the second time, in the light of my just-acquired familiarity with the author’s bio, I could not help but smile, as I recognized that all this hypertrophied ebullition of hysterical complaint and rabid racial hatred was nothing real at all.
All this essay is is a classic example of over-the-top homosexual self-indulgent emotional dramaturgy. The homosexual struggles with identity and views the world in terms of theatrical scenes and roles. Mr. Jones is not really oppressed. Black blood is not really flowing down his gentrified Brooklyn street. Mr. Jones does not really hate America or hate white people. He is just pouring all of his ever-too-available emotional energy into a role: the role of the Angry Black Man.
Take that, whitey! You were afraid that the Big Bad Black Man was going to start the Revolution, waving a machete, and coming after you with a big Kalashnikov. In reality, if you looked Robert Jones, Jr. in the eye, and cried: Boo! The fierce guerilla fighter would instantly wilt and melt into tears.
So, the question becomes: how naive, how stupid, how infantile has the elite American establishment become when the editor of Paris Review cannot distinguish a ridiculous piece of homosexual role-playing fantasy from a serious statement of supposed factual observation and political analysis and intent?