A couple of weeks ago, a friend who is taking a Morrison class at another university sent me a link to this Toni Morrison essay and insisted I read it. At the time, I was eager to do so simply because it was Morrison. Now, though, it seems more relevant than ever. I am sharing the link here with you, and perhaps we can let Morrison guide us through with her words, as we did so in class this week.
In Paradise, Morrison returns us as readers to tracking and tracing. “Ruby” begins a cascade that attends to the violence of those concepts, but I urge you at the same time also to be alert to how the novel insists once again on the both/and.
As part of that, here’s a link to a searchable (yes) index of the “Lost Friends” column that ran in the New Orleans Southwestern Christian Advocate. The column, according to the site’s homepage, ran for decades after 1877, and was composed of “messages from individuals seeking loved ones lost in slavery.”
Before I start, I want to take a moment to address a very specific group of readers–Every woman, every person of color, every Muslim, every immigrant, every child of immigrants, every member of the LGBTQI+ community:
I woke up today disoriented, unable to think clearly about our country’s future. Yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. America has spoken. Although this means that many of our constitutional rights have taken a hit with a win by Trump’s linear and alienating rhetoric, it also means that we must come together to teach people love. I saw the following Saturday Night Live skit on my newsfeed this morning and it made me feel better. I hope that it leaves you all in the same spirits.
As I’ve been sick at home with Bronchitis, I decided to do some research into other forms of adaptations of Dante and his Divine Comedy, and came across the Danteum. As you’ll see in the many links I’ll have pasted below, the Danteum was Giuseppe Terragni’s proposal to Benito Mussolini’s fascist regime, to build a monument in honor of the Poet in time for the upcoming Esposition of 1942 in Rome. Continue reading “The Danteum”
So I never got around to posting over the weekend like I should have so this post is going to cover multiple topics from class and from Dante.
I’m not a super social person, and while I am perfectly fine walking up to my friends and randomly asking them about eyebrows I didn’t have a lot of opportunity to ask people in person over the weekend. However, I did make a Facebook status asking my friends about eyebrows. There are two things I would like to note: “B” is my sister whose concentration in college was English; and the first “M” is my sister in law who is an aesthetician. I found it interesting, though not surprising, that everyone who responded was female. While most posts were humorous, many of my friends seemed to be very conscious of their imperfections that likely remain unnoticed by others. Continue reading “Eyebrows, Itches, and It.”
As Lizzie said in her post, I too thought the emphasis on brows in the latest reading from Dante was interesting considering how brows have become such an important part of beauty in recent years. But, like Lizzie, I’m unsure how this will connect with Morrison’s Paradise, if at all.
Because I am really into makeup, I’m very intrigued by how easy it is to change your appearance depending on your eyebrows– if they’re thick and full or very thin, it really does make a difference. It was funny how Dr. McCoy “challenged” us to pay attention to others’ eyebrows because I do that anyway. I’m not sure if this is because I have a passion for makeup or if I just notice little things.
It’s interesting that eyebrows can be seen as a form of expression. I’d never thought of it that way but when you look in the mirror and make faces at yourself, how often do your eyebrows give away what emotion you’re feeling? Many people furrow their brow in concentration or raise them when they’re surprised. So what does it mean that a few years ago the trend was to shave your brows? Without eyebrows, would it be harder to tell how someone’s feeling? This seems like a silly question but I really am curious, and this might be even sillier, but for some reason I thought of Britney Spears shaving her head during her famous breakdown.
Allow me to preface this post by mentioning that is was mostly inspired by Alpha’s post from last week, “Humanities for the Hood,” where he discussed Morrison’s purpose in writing alongside Dante.
Reading Dante beside Morrison has focused my attention on the collaborative nature of writing. As I discovered connections between Morrison and Dante, I was reminded of the Ted Talk “Creativity is a Remix” by Kirby Ferguson. At risk of turning this blog into a Ted Talk repository, I’ve embedded the video below. Ferguson posits that essentially no art is original, in the sense that all art is in conversation with other art. Ferguson focuses on music in his talk, but I think the same applies to writing, more or less. The video also discusses “ownership” of creative works.
On Wednesday, Dr. McCoy challenged the class to take notice of their eyebrows, as well as the eyebrows of others. It’s pretty amazing to think about what something so seemingly insignificant can say about someone’s personality, and it is even more powerful to think about how eyebrows can also shape an outsider’s view of a person. I also find it curious that we are focusing on eyebrows and their significance in both Dante and Morrison, given that brows have become much more of a point of conversation in recent media. There is a new trend of having much thicker, darker, and sculpted brows than was the trend when I was younger. Though I have yet to “make meaning” from this focus on eyebrows, I found an interesting article that talks about the evolving symbolism of eyebrows throughout history, and I look forward to seeing if there is any overlap with Dante or Morrison’s works!
“The love-hate relationship brow aficionados have with their facial hair often has roots in the eyebrow’s most important job (beyond conveying emotion): silently sharing cultural and group affiliations, whether realized or not. Just like clothes and accessories, eyebrows are another way of shaping the impression of our social standing.”