I thought about linking some old New Edition videos. Maybe later. For now, I'll indulge myself. Here I am reading two poems by Frederick Seidel at Russian Samovar. All you need to know about this reading is they gave me free vodka--thus explaining my inability to pronounce "exemplar."
Anyway, there was something transgressive about this entire exercise. The first poem is about a son who's father exhibits a kind of paternal racism toward his black servants, and how the implicit brutality of it all thrills the son. The second poem ends with Seidel admiring the woman's "blond hair at dawn"--among other things. Readers of this blog will know how distant I am from both paternal racism, and any woman's "blond hair at dawn." OK, being from Baltimore where the black girls dye their hair all sorts of colors, I confess to knowing a little about "blond hair at dawn."
But my point is that reading these pieces was like living in someone else's skin for a moment. And yet, in some deep sense, finding myself there at the bone. It is human to revel in brutality--race is irrelevant to this fact. It is human to revel in beauty---race is irrelevant to this fact.