Annotating our culture

Annotated literature draws me. I love reading it, esp in another language, where notes accompany the text to explain references. There are those who insist a piece of literature must be accessible on its own; if it needs explanatory notes it is opaque and thus boring and thus loses value. I totally disagree. I want to give one example that occurred to me when I wondered to myself whatever happened to Candy Crowley, the newscaster who moderated the debate between Romney and Obama in which she asserted, contrary to what Romney was saying, that Obama did in fact use the word terrorism when referring to an attack on Americans at Benghazi. What was her sin?
It was not that she intervened and corrected a Republican or that she appeared to favor the Democrat; after all, when you counter every lie Republicans tell (Muslims carrying out terrorist acts in the U.S as Isis agents, Mexicans pouring over the border sans documents, more policemen killed than ever, etc.), you would indeed look like you were favoring Democrats. Her real sin was that she corrected a White man not only in front of a Black man but showed that it was the Black man who was right. That might be difficult for a young person to believe and that is why we need annotations, viz.
The movie, In the Heat of the Night, has a scene where Sydney Poitier, a Black actor playing a detective from up North, is seated on a train platform when Rod Steiger, a White actor playing the sheriff of a small Southern town, approaches him. Steiger saunters up to where Poitier is seated and Poitier stands up and looks the sheriff in the eye. That was a lethal moment. If you do not understand that for a Black man to stand fully up in front of any White man and look him in the eye was deemed a challenge and an affront so serious it merited a lethal response. An electric moment, the turning point of the movie when the sheriff let it go b/c he needed the detective’s help and so set aside his Code of the South.
Similarly, when the Big Man on the Hill slapped Poitier for “sass” and Poitier slapped him back, the Big Man screamed at Steiger to shoot Poitier and fully expected him to do so. He turned apoplectic when the Code of the South went uninforced.
What percentage of Trump supporters are elderly, Southern White men? Lots. Note that Trump’s eldest, Trump Jr., went to the Neshoba County fair in Philadelphia, Mississippi where three civil rights workers were murdered in the 60s, the same spot in which Reagan opened his campaign to send a message. But in Trump’s case, it was gratuitous b/c Mississippi is no longer a swing state which a politician might swing his way by invoking states’ rights as code for maintaining White control. Trump will win Mississippi. Why did his son go there at the all-important immediate post-convention week? Some guessed, when Trump did the same thing by going to solid Trump country in Texas, that it was b/c he wants to be comfortable.

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