My Atlanta Black Star Review of David Garrow’s LOOONG Biography of Barack Obama……..

……is here.

Here’s the block that got cut out, about the biographer and the his approach:

If there is ever to be a Hall of Fame for post-World War II American biographers, David Garrow has worked undeniably hard for his statue. The energy and sweat required of a great biographer are present. The book’s promotional material says Garrow does research worthy of Robert Caro, the man who has devoted half his life to writing about Lyndon Baines Johnson, and the hype is right. His thousands of resources include The Chicago Defender and several weekly newspapers, which allows him to use facts and statements others have forgotten. He had access to an incredible amount of detail, and decided to use (almost all of) it, to give the reader almost a month-by-month portrayal of 46 years.

Since the fable is so well-known, Garrow needed to perform a tragedy to give the reader a reason to re-visit this territory. He constantly prepared the reader for disappointment, showing that the potential compromises were there all along under the winning smile and Black Kennedy mystique: “[W]hile the crucible of self-creation had produced an ironclad will, the vessel was hollow at its core.”

The so-called hot news of the book—that Barack Obama, a young, over-educated, tall, handsome, single Black man, had a lot of sex before he got married and that he asked his serious live-in girlfriend, a half-white, half-Japanese woman named Shelia Miyoshi Jager, to marry him—is a complete yawner. The story that Garrow tells as he outs Jager is that Obama broke up with her because he needed a Black woman (World History, meet Michelle Robinson) to be a successful Black politician. So what that he asked another woman to marry him? Choosing a wife is a life-effecting process, not just a political one. It is possible that Obama made the decisions he did for purely Machiavellian reasons, but it is equally possible that Obama, a Half-rican, purposely chose a one-hundred-percent American Negress so he could have an authentic Black family. Just because he loved Jager doesn’t mean he was supposed to spend his life with her, and just because they wanted to marry doesn’t mean history was somehow thwarted by ambition.

Garrow is filled with critique—of Obama and of crush-ing Obama journalists and biographers. In his blistering epilogue, Garrow skips the most obvious reason his presidency was impotent: the intent of the Republican Party to oppose him on everything, from the administration’s first day. The epilogue is so intent on being critical—and it should, considering it’s about a man constantly compromised in ways he sees as pragmatic and necessary—it seems not to care where the criticisms originate. Meanwhile, Garrow ignores the most biting Leftist jabs. Strange choices for a left-of-center author. Garrow finds every disappointed friend, every Obama enemy, every teacher and influence he can, and includes them along with seemingly every colleague who at any point praised him. Jager accusing the president of political cowardice is the high-note of a critical symphony.

JUNE 7th UPDATE: Thanks to Jared Ball for this discussion!

My Reaction to Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “My President Was Black” In January/February 2017 Issue Of The Atlantic

coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates does an outstanding job here as a post-Black Nationalist foil to President Obama, explaining the latter’s lifelong attempt to become Captain America.  He really does a good job undressing the first Black President as a Black man who, because he grew up in Hawaii and Indonesia and completely loved and trusted his white family, he had the attitude/worldview that allowed White America to, in turn, completely trust him with the keys. (Coates correctly points out that Obama was in younger days an activist, not a protester; that says a lot when you think about it.) In many ways, I think that this is Coates’ breakthrough article, because now he can stop being an embedded journalist to Black Star Power. So enough of this I’m-trying-to-figure-all-this-stuff-out-without-offending-you-good-white-intellectuals role he has played to his loving white audience. Clearly, he has enough power, savings and fame by now. 🙂 Under President Trump’s naked, White Nationalist oppression, I hope Coates, a very talented writer who has played the game well, will now directly say what he really feels about white Americans, and White America, to a white readership who, interestingly enough, now trusts him enough that they will be ready to hear him. (I hope the lesson that will not be learned from all this is that white trust is essential for Black success and power, but that ship has probably already sale-d.) Coates will hopefully now tell truths undiluted by “dreams” (his or anyone else’s), or “Dreamers,” his annoyingly euphemistic name for whites in “Between The World and Me,” his award-winning update of James Baldwin’s “The Fire Next Time.”  Well, that next time came about three weeks ago. It’s woke-ness for everybody. Time to share the pain. Time to stop dancing what my friend, the writer Ericka Blount Danois, calls “the soft shoe.” Or, as Baldwin himself says in “Blues For Mr. Charlie,” his play inspired by the lynching of Emmett Till:

Richard: You still determined to break your neck.

Juanita: Well, it’s a neck-breaking time. I wouldn’t like to appear to be above the battle.

 

An Attempted, Deadline Poem About the 2016 Republican National Convention: “Charles In Charge?”

Trump

No Bushes to block my Tee Vee, but you know what’s worse?
Charles in Charge [Scott Baio, formerly Chachi ] is speaking to the RNC—or is it the AARP?–in Cleveland
Bad 80s sitcom, speech to match
An Iowa Congressman brags about white, Christian Western Civ
While Redneck Nation is crawling on all floors, yelling “Lock her up!”

Charles in Charge is the week’s theme
The first Trump-Pence logo had it right
It’s gonna happen to the whole nation, without Vaseline
(Here comes the Trump air-kiss!)
“We Like Mike” is an echo to Tee Vee dinners
And black-and-white lynching

Trump: “I will be your champion. I am your voice.”
Nothing new in Rotary Club bonding
He’s just Old School-direct about it
Like his “Law and Order” hero Nixon
Passing out white lightsabers
Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate
Hugging my Yoda doll real tight, because in real trouble, the world is

Ted Cruz, with his 20/20 AD vision
Gives Trump the finger
Enjoys the Doctor Doom act
Accepts the Bronx Cheer
Anger about the family dis holds the iron mask in check

(And lookit Gingrich! Pulling out the Pooper Scooper!
He should turn it toward his nose)

And since when could white people be denied the right to vote?
The RNC floor was the most-pissed whites I’d seen since OJ
Meanwhile, black folks clean the convention
Practicing for the Subway Series election

White world unity left with the Colorado delegation
And America is thinking about putting Charles in Charge?
Pass me a nose-ring and a sign

*****

Malcolm’s sad-versus-mad is blowingblack
So American now, we’ve left Fanon’s ideas to the disturbed
Trained by the Eagle to see too well

No hope from the White Mouse
Done with Daddy O’s equivocating
Shaking in front of the police instead of shaking the police
Time is running out for somebody
to smack the black BACK ON HIM
And you telling me that all I have to look forward to
Is another four to eight of stay-the-course, just okay?

Half a cent from Black Power
And America may want Charles in Charge?
Where’s my Cornel West scarf and dictionary??
He says “The country is having a nervous breakdown”
Maybe Jack, the old-school movie Joker, is right–
This town [U.S.A.] needs an enema

*****

I’m looking to the New York Skyline
for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man
That heralds the end-days
And the beginning of the Duck Dynasty

Back in Cleveland, the NASCAR dads and scratch-off moms
Are acting out the Alamo in front of my eyes
There’s a brief power outage
And Capt. America is in the corner, cowering behind his shield
Even smallPOX News (*cough* demons *cough*) is imploding
Roger Ailes—who pimped anchors into Rockettes—grabs his trenchcoat

New Jersey Gov. Krispie Creame
The Soprano Made Good
Ate up well his Tee Vee primetime
“Guilty or Not Guilty”—like a gameshow host
(Has Trump pushed him into Stockholm Syndrome?)
While back home, his aides cross a bridge to beg forgiveness in front of a judge and jury
And Assata sticks out her tongue from Cuba

Meanwhile, Mrs. Trump bites off of Michelle
While explaining her rags-to-Prada story
Blurred lines, indeed!
Her accent was too Thicke

Freddie Gray still can’t get justice after four cop trials
and America is risking having Charles in Charge?
I’ll binge on KC Undercover instead.

My Trice Edney News Wire Review Of The Book On The Chicago Defender’s History…..

Chicago-Defender

…….is here.