Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Quote of the day: Tedious

Perhaps a good writer's death releases a burst of energy that brings out the best in other good writers. It might explain why I've read some splendid tributes to Maya Angelou, who died earlier today.

But one of the best, albeit splenetic, was put up by Hunter at DailyKos, who notes the tendency of rightwingers' obituary notices to stress that, while they weren't really into Angelou's art, they had to acknowledge that Mammon had smiled upon her. And that she owned a gun and fired it once.
I do not respect poetry, but I respect celebrity. It feels like Maya Angelou might have had something pithy to say about that, something warm and lyrical and so cutting that it would take the listener aback, if they parsed the pretty words, but no matter. That ought to be the phrase we carve on the tombstones of all our great thinkers. A tedious fellow, that one, but I shook his hand once. [. . . ]
So what we have learned is that Maya Angelou was a famous person referred to by other famous people and who once shot two bullets through her own front door. That singular title-worthy tidbit seems to be meant to establish her bona fides as a patriot, or at least as someone stalwartly conservative readers ought to not fully despise. (A poet is a suspicious-sounding sort of person, you see, but an armed poet sounds considerably more interesting. Whatever your place on the political spectrum, this is indisputable.)
Hunter goes on to suggest correctly that, a generation from now, conservatives will suddenly discover that, like Martin Luther King, the safely-dead-and-buried Angelou was Really One Of Them All Along.

Heaven help us.

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