the price of the ticket (political)-james baldwin

“On the other hand, though no one appears to learn very much from history, the rulers of empires assuredly learn the least.” (537)

“Hunger has no principles, it simply makes men, at worst, wretched, and, at best, dangerous.” (493)

“Well, the planet is destroying the American fantasies which does not give the Americans the right to destroy the planet.” (673)

it’s post-monsoon on a summer night in toronto and we’re hosting world pride in the midst of the world cup. that means that there should be some gay-ass futbol games going on, and i want a sticky invite. despite the fact that for the first time in a long, long time i feel a glimmer of hope that the NBA might not be fixed after all, or perhaps it’s that the better team won the championship won as a team. like, on some real legacy shit-tim duncan as the first player to win championships in three decades, passing the torch (literally and literally) as the last 22-year old finals’ MVP to the next one-oh, his teammate kawhi leonard, who, coincidentally was in the first grade when dood won his first (lebron was in the 8th). i especially like the fact that the spurs are making a case for not dismantling a team after one year of barely letting a bunch of young guys play together just because they didn’t win a championship-it’s looking good for our raptors, since masai‘s been looking like he’s going that way. in a year when cleveland once again has the number one draft pick, the point is driven further home.

but still, immediately after the speeches-i felt that june heartache of the impending summer without basketball. i mean-we’d just be starting game 6 right now if the heat had showed up to play. the beauty-full downpour prevented me from going to train for the WBNA, but it was cool because i grounded myself until i cleaned my bathroom anyway. btw-i made the most amazing soft scrubber out of baking soda, castile soap, and clove essential oil (good if your apartment is prone to mould) thanks to AOC that guarantees that i will never buy another toxic commercial cleaner again.

i do feel somewhat guilty for buying into the hype that is the global sports complex (especially after watching the battle for brooklyn documentary about the building of the barclay’s center when the olympics and the world cups and the international events continue amid protests and destruction of the host cities and the world, but i suppose we should be great-full for the spectrum of human possibility that is continuously shoved down our throats? sports are a great story, and great stories are more tragic and harrowing and impossible than they are pretty. but…

“I’m not interested in anybody’s guilt. Guilt is a luxury that we can no longer afford.” (400)

“It is not every day that a film crams so much cake down one’s throat, and yet leaves one with so much more to swallow.” (624)

“It is true that two wrongs don’t make a right, as we love to point out to people who have wronged. But one wrong doesn’t make a right, either.” (430)

and with that, i should come out of my rambling preamble to actually shout out the book, if not discuss it. james baldwin applies to this conversation (these conversations) in so many ways, but let me just shout out the collection at the parkdale library (home branch, woot woot!) for housing this collection of all this man’s non-fiction work. he commandingly wins gold for his seamless ability to write both non/fiction and doing it with such style, grace, and consistency. i will say, though, trucking its 1000ish pages around on public transit, that it was the only time that i had a second thought about donating the e-reader that i won back to the library. i’ve divided the passages that i’ve pulled into the categories of political and (the forthcoming) personal.

“The romance of treason never occurred to us for the brutally simple reason that you can’t betray a country you don’t have. (Think about it). Treason draws its energy from the conscious, deliberate betrayal of a trust-as we were not trusted, we could not betray. And we did not wish to be traitors. We wished to be citizens.” (xv)

and, as if he looked into the future and directed his gaze right into canada’s (scattered) eyes:

“Everybody was here suddenly in the melting pot, as we like to say, but without any intention of being melted.” (231)

how’s that for full circle?


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