Thursday, May 02, 2013

Nat-ering. . .

A friend phoned me this a.m. and recommended that I read a jazz article in today's Wall Street Journal. It was about jazz musician Houston Person. I asked my buddy who wrote it. "Nat Hentoff," he said. To which I replied, "I would never read a single solitary word written by that idiot. Nor," I added "would I even piss in his ear if his brains were on fire." I then referred my pal to a passage in my year 2000 memoir, Early Plastic.
"In 1995 I saw a labor of love of mine, a history of African-American show business, scheduled for publication by Temple University Press, canceled at the last minute. I learned soon afterward from a 'deep throat' academic reader, UCLA's Dr. Beverly Robinson, what had happened: The press' overwhelmingly white editorial staff had assumed I was black; then, by accident almost at the moment the book scheduled to be printed, they learned otherwise. I neither masqueraded as black, nor hid that I was white in numerous phone conversations with them. They reneged on publication out of fear of reprisal from The Black Athena set at the school. Afrocentrism! And even worse, some cryptofacist nonsense that Afro-centrists have made up, called melaninism, under which lies the sub-theory of essentialism. The basic premise of which is that only blacks are bio-psycho-sociologically equipped to write about The Black Experience. Not since the heyday of phrenology in the 19th century has such a large body of seemingly intelligent individuals fallen for hogwash like this. Thanks to the politics of black payback, I was the victim of white-on-white racism! Only in America! At once, I contacted longtime First Amendment columnist, Nat Hentoff, about the possibility of his writing publicly about my situation. But he was already in enough hot water with gays without taking on the Afrocentric set; he didn't even answer my letter (nor a second one). The Machiavellian Mr. Hentoff and the lovely Margo (Mrs. H) choose their civic crusades wisely and well. What a pair! Since then, they've taken up the causes of Kenneth Starr and and anti-abortion."
If my problem wasn't a first amendment, freedom-of-speech issue, I don't know what is. I guess Hentoff and his wife were still too busy trying to ban the wearing of caftans by gays on Fire Island (true).

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