Quotes from “The Sellout” by Paul Beatty

okum: An Anthology of Afri
‘I’m so fucking tired of black women always being described by their skin tones! Honey-colored this! Dark-chocolate that! My paternal grandmother was mocha-tinged, café-au-lait, graham-fucking-cracker brown! How come they never describe the white characters in relation to foodstuffs and hot liquids? Why aren’t there any yogurt-colored, egg-shell-toned, string-cheese-skinned, low-fat-milk white protagonists
But if you really think about it, the only thing you absolutely never see in car commercials isn’t Jewish people, homosexuals, or urban Negroes, it’s traffic.
picking through the used-film bins at Amoeba Records on Sunset, hold up a copy of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front , and say, “Hey, they’re digitally remastering our movie,” then dry-hump in the Hong Kong movie section. But Kafka was our genius. We’d take turns reading Amerika and Parables out loud. Sometimes we’d read the books in incomprehensible German and do free-association translations. Sometimes we’d set the text to music and break-dance to the The Metamorphosis , slow-dance to Letters to Milena .
Between the bus and rides, the back of the pickup, the trips on horseback to the Baldwin Theater, it’s crazy how much of our relationship was spent in motion. Marpessa put her feet on the steering wheel and covered her face in a tattered copy of Kafka’s The Trial . Though I can’t say for sure, I’d like to think she was hiding a smile. Most couples have songs they call their own. We had books. Authors. Artists. Silent movies. On weekends we used to lie naked in the hayloft, flicking chicken feathers off one another’s back and leafing through L.A. Weekly . There’d be a retrospective of Gerhard Richter, David Hammons, Elizabeth Murray, or Basquiat at LACMA, and we’d tap the ad and say, “Hey, they’re exhibiting our oil on canvas.” We’d spend hours
When I was young, the municipal bus system was called the RTD. Officially, the acronym stood for Rapid Transit District, but to Angelenos who lived in hellholes like Watts, La Puente, and South Central, too young or too poor to drive, it stood for Rough Tough and Dangerous. My first scientific paper, written at age seven, was “Passenger Seating Tendencies by Race and Gender: Controlling for Class, Age, Crowdedness, and Body Odor.” The conclusion was readily obvious. If forced to sit next to someone, people violated the personal space of women first and black people last. If you were a black male, then no one, including other black males, sat next to you unless they absolutely had to.
Like children, dogs, dice, and overpromising politicians, and apparently prostitutes, slaves don’t do what you tell them to do.
I understand now that the only time black people don’t feel guilty is when we’ve actually done something wrong, because that relieves us of the cognitive dissonance of being black and innocent, and in a way the prospect of going to jail becomes a relief. In the way that cooning is a relief, voting Republican is a relief, marrying white is a relief—albeit a temporary one.
In neighborhoods like the one I grew up in, places that are poor in praxis but rich in rhetoric, the homies have a saying—I’d rather be judged by twelve than carried by six.
Silence can be either protest or consent, but most times it’s fear.
All Vices and Bad Habits Referred to as “Phases”
chambers of the Supreme Court of the United States of America

палат Верховного Суда Соединенных Штатов Америки

yet somehow crestfallen
If New York is the City That Never Sleeps, then Los Angeles is the City That’s Always Passed Out on the Couch.
That’s the problem with history, we like to think it’s a book—that we can turn the page and move the fuck on. But history isn’t the paper it’s printed on. It’s memory, and memory is time, emotions, and song. History is the things that stay with you.
The head zombie looks exhausted from being raised from the dead every time someone wants to make a point about what black people should and shouldn’t do, can and cannot have.
Ever been to Reno, Nevada? It’s the Shittiest Little City in the World, and if Disneyland was indeed the Happiest Place on Earth, you’d either keep it a secret or the price of admission would be free and not equivalent to the yearly per capita income of a small sub-Saharan African nation like Detroit.
When people feel the need to adorn a building or a compound with an “Arbeit Macht Frei,” a “Biggest Little City in the World,” or “The Happiest Place on Earth,” it’s a sign of insecurity, a contrived excuse for taking up our finite space and time.
Yours truly,
Foy “Did you know Gandhi beat his wife?” Cheshire
But in the modern age, where your average town is too busy trying to balance budgets and keep the infrastructure from crumbling, most cities have a hard time finding a soul mate, so they turn to Sister City Global, an international matchmaking organization that finds love partners for lonely municipalities
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