Saturday, February 20, 2016
Harper Lee died yesterday. That is the story of the week. The death of a woman who said what she had to say long before anyone else had the balls to say it and then stopped (forget that money grab of as "sequel" that sent so many people into apoplexy).
To remember Harper Lee as one of the more courageous white Americans ever is not stretching it. Hey watch this and not feel moved. Yeah yeah it's a movie, but Harper Lee was the one who wrote this in 1960. 1960. Before everyone suddenly got nutsacks and went south and wrecked that wretched system the Ted Cruz's of the world look back at fondly.
Written before the little girls were murdered in the 16th Street Baptist Church, before the Bull Connor police riots , before Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman were buried in a dam, before Selma, before John Lewis was beaten to a pulp, before the Freedom Riders bus was burned, before Medgar Evers was gunned down by another Dixie coward, before Jimmie Lee Jackson was murdered sheltering his mother from racist cops, before Viola Liuzzo was murdered by KKK chickenshits, before Oneal Moore, a police officer, was murdered by white men who refused to respect him and before the Reverend James Reeb was beaten to death for being a white minister devoted to the cause of equality. Harper Lee wrote about all of this before it even happened. And for this reason, this woman should be the one lying in state in Washington DC alongside a man who would have dismantled all she helped change. Ya know, again, fuck that guy.
I know its all hip to say To Kill A Mockingbird is the best book you ever read. That it changed your life. That it is the most important book of the 20th century. But, dammit, sometimes the overblown hype and windy bullshit you have to endure is worth it. I know one helluva lot of people are full of crap when it comes to this book. But others are not. And those are the ones that make the eye rolling on the rest of them necessary. This IS the book of the 20th century. Because again, Harper Lee wasn't some Johnny Come Lately to an issue America at one time seemed so ashamed of, but now wants to embrace it as nostalgia and the good old days, she had foresight the majority refused to see. But like Rosa Parks, she deserves to be remembered.
When people like Harper Lee, or MLK, or Malcolm X, or Rosa Parks, or Thurgood Marshall die, their lives need to be honored.
What a man does for others, not what they do for him, gives him immortality...Daniel Webster
Yeah Harper Lee, what he said.