Mark Dery on his essay about the death of Trayvon Martin: "It’s a polemic, it’s cultural criticism, it’s Southern Gothic in the greasy faced, lynching-postcard mode, it’s the muck that came up when I dredged the deepest, darkest places in the river bottom of the American psyche." Of course it is. From the essay, titled "Skin in the Game," over at Thought Catalog:
Americans hate history lessons because Americans hate history.
It’s the dead weight of centuries, jettisoned (we thought) when we left Europe, a drag coefficient on forward movement. And who doesn’t want to move forward in this land of boundless opportunity, bullish investors, consumer confidence, housing starts, Achieving Your Personal Best, and if all else fails, Reinventing Yourself?
But history, especially the night terrors of slavery and Reconstruction and the century after, refuse to stay buried. There are so many rooms in this old house, some of them bricked up, others perfectly preserved, visions of antique elegance and gentility except for those unsettling spatter patterns, not quite faded, on the cabbage-rose wallpaper.
I’m old enough to remember driving through Mississippi in 1965, the year of the Bloody Sunday march on Selma, two years after Medgar Evers’s murder, one year after the slaying of the CORE field workers by the Klan. I was five, a white middle-class kid nose-deep in his comic books, oblivious to current events, but I’ve never forgotten a non-event that was somehow eventful…
"Skin in the Game: An American Gothic, in Black and White