Notes (March #2)

Black Panther #12: How does one criticise BP without coming across as an enemy of joy?

BP #17: This fantasy is not set in an alternative universe. Wakanda lies hidden on the same continent on which famines and wars kill multitudes, on the same timeline as the Rwandan genocide, Liberian civil war and Lord’s Resistance Army. Her elders agonise over the fate of African Americans in 21st century America. Did they, from the 50s through to the 90s, have similar concerns about blacks in South Africa?

BP # 19: By the standards of most Africans, black Americans are not oppressed, they are privileged. Given a choice, most would rather be black in Oakland than black in Lagos. And in the absence of a motherland teeming with hoverbikes and magnetic trains, most African Americans would almost certainly, if faced with the choice, elect to stay where they are. Racist America is a frying pan. Africa is a fire.

BP #25: TechGirl calls Ross “coloniser” and it is part put-down and part affectionate humour. Whatever else Wakandans may be they are not an acquisitive people, they have no designs on the resources of the nations around them. But her casual condescension should be tinged with guilt. Where was Wakanda when other African nations were being colonised?

BP #26: As an epithet, “coloniser” is imprecise. The American state has interfered in the internal affairs of many countries. It has bombed cities and assassinated heads of state. But its forays into colonialism (in the Philippines, Puerto Rico and a dozen other pacific islands) barely register when considered alongside the kleptomania of some European nations. Ross may be an agent of an imperialist government, but the charge of colonialism sticks only if we regard his race as reason enough to hold him responsible for historical crimes of whiteness.

BP #27: Perhaps short for “neo-coloniser”?

BP #31: Who are the oppressed? Who are their oppressors? Who gets the first cache of Vibranium weapons? Louis Farrakhan? Al Sharpton? Black Lives Matter? And who do they turn these weapons against?

Still on yesterday’s theme of death and interesting departures, there’s this from Melinda Zook’s Challenging Orthodoxies: The Social and Cultural Worlds of Early Modern Women (2014):

Lice as the divine weapon against political and religious oppression remained a trope until early modern times. Rulers, including Herod Agrippa, Antiochus Epiphanes, and the Roman dictator Sulla, shared the same fate. They were thought to be victims of “phthiriasis,” the lousy disease, purportedly causing the host body to be consumed from the inside out by its own vermin. A 1571 text claimed, “Plutarch recordeth, that Sulla was filthely devoured of Lyse … And Pline farther saithe, that he died in sutche sorte tormented, that with extreame and miserable anguishe, he gnewe, teare, and with his teeth horribly dismembered his own loathsome body and deformed carrion.” Thus, Mouffet called lice “the scourge of God” and the theologian Henry Ainsworth explained “even the smallest and vilest creatures, as frogs, flies and the like, are ministers of wrath and vengeance upon the disobedient.”


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