Friday, October 17, 2008

...And, More Current Events

Turkey is the “guest of honor” at the Frankfurt Book Fair this year; and Eurozine offers articles on Turkey. The online magazine Words Without Borders has a focus on Turkish literature and culture for its October 2008 issue. reports that now “the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston presents Cinema Remixed & Reloaded: Black Women Artists and the Moving Image Since 1970,” an exhibit that features international artists and will continue through January 4th, 2009. (As well, the October Art News has an article on Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, 1899-1979, an article that corresponds with a nationally touring exhibit of the artist’s paintings, murals, and illustrations for publications.)

In Louisiana, St. Martinville’s Pepper Festival will be Sunday, October 19, and will have crafts, food, games. Pepper production remains one of the most prominent and important industries in the state.

The Festival of Words began on October 15 in St. Landry parish, and continues through October 18, organized by Pat Melnick of Grand Couteau’s Casa Azul Gifts. It will include performances and discussions, and feature Louisiana’s poet laureate Darrell Bourque and other writers.

Last night, October 16, there was a vigil scheduled, for Bouligny Plaza in Louisiana’s Iberia parish, to honor victims of domestic violence. That kind of commemoration is very important. (I know someone who was killed by her husband; and not only does she continue to be missed but the effects of her loss can be seen in the practical circumstances of her children.)

There was also a meeting of Socrates Café planned for last night at Lafayette’s Public Library on 301 West Congress Street; its purpose being thoughtful conversation. Anything that promotes intellectual activity in a culture more inclined toward religion and sports is to be commended.

The web site Africa Resource has had up for a time a profile of the philosopher Kwasi Wiredu (he is the scholar of the month, for the site): “One of Wiredu’s most prominent discussions revolves around the Akan concept of personhood. He believe this traditional framework hosts a two part conception of a person. First, and most intuitive to Western conceptions of persons, is the ontological dimension. This includes one’s biological constitution. Further, Wiredu states that the second dimension, the normative conception of personhood, is based on one’s ability to will freely. One’s ability to will freely is dependent on one's ethical considerations.”

I was surprised, and not surprised, by John McCain’s inclination and willingness to be condescending, dishonest, and slanderous in his participation in the televised presidential debate with Senator Barack Obama on October 15, Wednesday night, at Hofstra in New York. Obviously, Senator McCain is not confident in his own appeal or proposals. McCain was both forceful and sloppy in his approach to the issues raised; and his statements that Obama was suggesting class warfare and that McCain feels no need to spread the wealth around should be a warning to anyone who is not rich about McCain’s priorities and values. McCain’s reference to a 1960s radical, and his attempt to tie Obama to a man who was active when Obama was 8 years old is ridiculous.

The Brooklyn Rail has an article (viewable online) by Eleanor Bader on congresswoman Shirley Chisholm (1924-2005), a black woman who once ran for president of the United States, before Hillary Clinton, before Barack Obama; and the piece reports on a center devoted to the legacy of Chisholm and states, “The center is presently gathering media and personal histories for the Shirley Chisholm Project of Brooklyn Women’s Activism, which should be available at the center and online in early 2009.”

The very good and possibly great poet Reginald Shepherd, who was born in 1963, died in early September, 2008. I have read some of his poetry, liked it, but have been as well impressed by some of his essays, especially his personal memoirs, in which his aesthetic concerns, biography, and consciousness of class, race, and sexuality come together. His intelligence and talent were of the first order; and his ambition classical, unique; and his loss is, then, an irreplaceable one.