by Artzy Camacho in the fall of 2012
by Artzy Camacho in the fall of 2012
The narrator concludes that “Even an invisible man has a socially responsible role to play.” This is an important tenet of Ellison’s philosophy, for he believed that art should serve democracy. In what way is Invisible Man a novel that deals specifically with the problems and challenges of democracy?
Part of the answer, after viewing and re-viewing these works, is the philosophy of empiricism and a self-doubt that propels inquiry; it is hard enough to know one’s self, let alone know or direct the collective identity of groups of people en mass — that is to say that our social identity is amplified and even more precarious, fungible, convoluted, and bewildering or ever-progressing (much like a story unfolding, still yet untold). Potential is in the smell of springtime.
“The Police Special spoke its lines and the rhyme was completed. Just look around you. Look at what he made, look inside you and feel his awful power. It was perfectly natural. The blood ran like blood in a comic-book killing, on a comic-book street in a comic-book town on a comic-book day in a comic-book world.” (Page 458)
The Invisible Kingdom is free of illusions.
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) December 28, 2017
Report: 1,129 people were killed by police in the U.S. this year, and the majority of deaths could have been prevented, Mapping Police Violence says: https://t.co/fzmKxFeqnM pic.twitter.com/yZ1MaUdRRL
— APHA (@PublicHealth) December 28, 2017
Throughout this past year, I have read Grant Morrison’s The Invisibles comics series, contained in the +1,500 page Vertigo omnibus; and the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Putting aside the vain attempt to understand either one of these narratives, a reader can discover something new and meaningful by considering the mix of time, visuals, and audio connecting all of these profound ideas. A book from 1952 has much to say about today; and as a literary accomplishment it rivals the best of magical realism.
Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man (Page 238)
“Something had been disconnected. For though I had seldom used my capacities for anger and indignation, I had no doubt that I possessed them; and, like a man who knows that he must fight, whether angry or not, when called a son of a bitch, I tried to imagine myself angry—only to discover a deeper sense of remoteness. I was beyond anger. I was only bewildered. And those above seemed to sense it. There was no avoiding the shock and I rolled with the agitated tide, out into the blackness.”
Guess that makes me a proud bitch!
— Teresa Kaepernick (@B4IleaveU) September 23, 2017
“If It’s Optic White, It’s the Right White”
Mr. Lucius Brockway (page 218)
Invisible Man – Chapter 2-6
The Invisibles – Issues #9-16
Times have changed. Invisible Man was written back in the 1950s and The Invisibles back in the late 1990s, early 2000s; and both stories could have been very different with the technology of today—namely, ubiquitous connectivity, through smart devices and social networks. If the protagonist in Invisible Man had a cellphone, then he could have avoided or at least alleviated some of the trouble had at college. If The Invisibles is about the unseen characters in society throughout time, times have changed in that even these individuals have a forum and a community online now. A globalized panopticon—usually portrayed as dystopian in Literature—has been inverted by the users to unleash powerful computations.
Supercomputers are the most powerful minds. Humans can structure minds and create networked minds as superstructures, all similarly organized down to the individual cellular structures of the brain. Program focus and content and resulting actions are dependent variables, still the processing speed, volume, and power (especially in amplitude) offered by supercomputers make them a priority concern.
Community organizers should fortify the superstructures that support a fond supercomputer as soon as possible. Youth conservation contains an inherent nostalgia that has qualitative value, whether formative or instructive. Broad scientific studies would include longitudinal structures and diverse sample sets.
Invisible Man – Chapter four (page 99)
Here within this quiet greenness I possessed the only identity I had ever known, and I was losing it. In this brief moment of passage I became aware of the connection between these lawns and buildings and my hopes and dreams. I wanted to stop the car and talk with Mr. Norton, to beg his pardon for what he had seen; to plead and show him tears, unashamed tears like those of a child before his parent; to denounce all we’d seen and heard; to assure him that far from being like any of the people we had seen, I hated them, that I believed in the principles of the Founder with all my heart and soul, and that I believed in his own goodness and kindness in extending the hand of his benevolence to helping us poor, ignorant people out of the mire and darkness. I would do his bidding and teach others to rise up as he wished them to, teach them to be thrifty, decent, upright citizens, contributing to the welfare of all, shunning all but the straight and narrow path that he and the Founder had stretched before us. If only he were not angry with me! If only he would give me another chance!
Young American Men Are Choosing Video Games Over Work in Staggering Numbers https://t.co/pvsOSJTCuh
— F. B. Perdomo (@BeardofSteel) July 17, 2017
Dr. Bledsoe, “Old Bucket-head” (page 101)
He had been kind to me from the first…but more than that, he was the example of everything I hoped to be: Influential with wealthy men all over the country; consulted in matters concerning the race; a leader of his people; the possessor of not one, but two Cadillacs, a good salary and a soft, good-looking and creamy-complexioned wife. What was more, while black and bald and everything white folks poked fun at, he had achieved power and authority; had, while black and wrinkle-headed, made himself of more importance in the world than most Southern white men. They could laugh at him but they couldn’t ignore him…”
PTSD among the post WWII veterans returning home was devastating and poorly acknowledged, and Ellison captures a few perspectives of the black experience on a level of literary prowess akin to Heller’s Catch-22. The narrator or protagonist progressing the story overall, moves from seeking the right path, to repenting and asking for forgiveness and ultimately accepting a penance, through the course of chapter 2-6. A spiritual experience that ends with a very real existential rationalization delivered by Dr. Bledsoe in chapter six:
“I know about it. But you’ll get over it; it’s foolish and expensive and a lot of dead weight. You let the white folks worry about pride and dignity—you learn where you are and get yourself power, influence, contacts with powerful and influential people—then stay in the dark and use it!”
Dystopian Lit romanticizes the reader in the genre, the deviant, the utopian escape within the actual dystopia, yet Lit feels less real now. https://t.co/lLIZhiwzDr
— F. B. Perdomo (@BeardofSteel) July 20, 2017
“Her memories have condensed and crystallized into bric-a-brac around her. Sometimes it seems to her that they have set her in them, like a fly in amber.” The Invisibles Omnibus (365)