Friday, March 5, 2010

A Remakable Life- Oscar Micheaux

The corner stone of The Great American Mythology is that of The Self Made Man- the American everyman (usually an immigrant) who starts from scratch and with much hard work, luck, and more often than not, a willingness not to let the niceties of ethics and humanity get in the way, pulls himself up by his bootstaps and rises to the top of the heap. Whatever the heap may be that he wishes to heap himself upon. 

The very last thing those people want to hear is that there are those who struggled against even greater odds that they never had to encounter, never had to endure, never had to overcome. It makes their story just that much smaller- second rate really. No one wants to hear that someone else had to overcome everything you did... including some crazy ass X factor that has leveled many a better man low- racism.

And nothing infuriates a bigot more than deflating the very basis surrounding the delusional myth of their great American work ethos manhood.

I thought about this when listening to this NPR pesentation on Oscar Micheaux. Driven, conflicted, in triumph or defeat. His legacy endures; unfortunately, so do many of the obstacles he traversed, though ever shifting, ever morphing, and thus far ever present.

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