Free of Illusions

To properly view these works, Invisible Man & The Invisibles, the first entry in this BookTalk asked an essential question:

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.

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“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)

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The Invisible Kingdom is free of illusions.

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Black Friday in the Dark with Sambo

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.

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Dog Eat Dog

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.”

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Display of Unity

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