In bad news, I got called a moralistic, over-wrought navel-gazer. In good news, blog stats are up and visits have quadrupled in the past few days. I’ll take it! Welcome new readers, hope you remembered to bring your bongs.
I decided not to weigh in over there since I felt trying to defend myself or challenge interpretations of what I’d written wouldn’t add anything productive to a conversation that was about much more than my post, and which was moving along fine without me. I do want to add something about what was seen as an overly-dramatic use of the word “trauma.” I don’t have a problem being called dramatic. (I am, after all, a gay, and we take pride in our dramatics, even if, on occassion, as Danny Noriega would say, “Some people weren’t liking it.”) But I did want to say that in my use of that word, I’m drawing from a body of literature that might be of interest — in addition to Cho’s work, I’m thinking of David Eng and David Kazanjian’s Loss, Saidiya Hartman’s Lose Your Mother and E. Ann Kaplan’s Trauma Culture. Some of these and other recent works on race and trauma draw from psychoanalytic theorists Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok, and their notion of “transgenerational haunting,” as well as sociologist Avery Gordon’s Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination.
And, in related news, the mayor of Los Alamitos, a small city in Orange County, CA, sent an email postcard to a colleague that featured the White House lawn as a field of watermelons, with the note “No Easter Egg hunt this year.” When the recipient, an African American woman who volunteers with the city, objected, the Mayor explained he was unaware of any racialized content in the image. He stated, “Bottom line is, we laugh at things and I didn’t see this in the same light that she did. I’m sorry. It wasn’t sent to offend her personally – or anyone – from the standpoint of the African-American race.”