Jay-Z is writing part of the score to Baz Luhrmann’s Great Gatsby, and what a perfect fit it is. Hova’s lyrics and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic have so much in common: Both describe struggle and dejection, gender roles and social ills, the glamour and trappings of wealth, and the allure of the American dream. Plus parties and cars and fashion! Take our quiz and see if can tell your West Eggs from your Hello, Brooklyns.
Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison, paperback book cover
Low Rider, November 1980
Michel Gondry, “The We and the I” (2012)
this provokes thought…
Strange Fruit (2011) | Hank Willis Thomas
Dick Gregory, From the Back of the Bus, book cover (1962)
Cover photo: Jerry Yulsman
Source: Men’s Pulp Mags
It’s new, except it’s not; the prolific W.E.B. Du Bois neglected as usual. Black Studies strikes again—and they say…
If you’re interested in the burgeoning form of criticism as memoir, check out J.C. Hallman’s anthology, The Story About The Story.
From the stacks…
Ralph Ellison, Shadow and Act (1964)
“For the ex-colonials, the declaration of an American identity meant the assumption of a mask, and it imposed not only the discipline of national self-consciousness, it gave Americans an ironic awareness of the joke that always lies between appearance and reality, between the continuity of social tradition and that sense of the past which clings to the mind. And perhaps even an awareness of the joke that society is man’s creation, not God’s. Americans began their revolt from the English fatherland when they dumped the tea into Boston Harbor, masked as Indians, and the mobility of society created in this limitless space has encouraged the use of the mask for good and evil ever since. As the advertising industry, which is dedicated to the creation of masks, makes clear, that which cannot gain authority from tradition may borrow it with a mask. Masking is a play upon possibility and ours is a society in which possibilities are many. When American life is most American it is apt to be most theatrical” (68).