Monthly Archives: December 2018

“Shiny Happy People” released by R.E.M.

Shiny happy people laughing
Meet me in the crowd, people, people
Throw your love around, love me, love me
Take it into town, happy, happy
Put it in the ground where the flowers grow
Gold and silver shine
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Everyone around, love them, love them
Put it in your hands, take it, take it
There’s no time to cry, happy, happy
Put it in your heart where tomorrow shines
Gold and silver shine
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Whoa, here we go
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people holding hands
Shiny happy people laughing
Shiny happy people holding hands (people, happy people)
Shiny happy people holding hands (people, happy people)
Shiny happy people holding hands (people, happy people)

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Filed under Lyrics

Classics Illustrated – Gulliver’s Travels ~~Captive~~

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28 December 2018 · 9:47 am

Excerpt from “Black Boy” by Richard Wright ~~Optician~~

The climax came at noon one summer day. Pease called me to his workbench; to get to him I had to go between two narrow benches and stand with my back against a wall.
“Richard, I want to ask you something,” Pease began pleasantly, not looking up from his work.
“Yes, sir.”
Reynolds came over and stood blocking the narrow passage between the benches; he folded his arms and stared at me solemnly. I looked from one to the other, sensing trouble. Pease looked up and spoke slowly, so there would be no possibility of my not understanding.
“Richard, Reynolds here tells me that you called me Pease,” he said.
I stiffened. A void opened up in me. I knew that this was the showdown.
He meant that I had failed to call him Mr. Pease. I looked at Reynolds; he was gripping a steel bar in his hand. I opened my mouth to speak, to protest, to assure Pease that I had never called him simply Pease, and that I had never had any intention of doing so, when Reynolds grabbed me by the collar, ramming my head against a wall.
“Now, be careful, nigger,” snarled Reynolds, baring his teeth. “I heard you call ’im Pease. And if you say you didn’t, you’re calling me a liar, see?” He waved the steel bar threateningly.
If I had said: No, sir, Mr. Pease, I never called you Pease, I would by inference have been calling Reynolds a liar; and if I had said: Yes, sir, Mr. Pease, I called you Pease, I would have been pleading guilty to the worst insult that a Negro can offer to a southern white man. I stood trying to think of a neutral course that would resolve this quickly risen nightmare, but my tongue would not move.
“Richard, I asked you a question!” Pease said. Anger was creeping into his voice.
“I don’t remember calling you Pease, Mr. Pease,” I said cautiously. “And if I did, I sure didn’t mean . . .”
“You black sonofabitch! You called me Pease, then!” he spat, rising and slapping me till I bent sideways over a bench.
Reynolds was up on top of me demanding:
“Didn’t you call him Pease? If you say you didn’t, I’ll rip your gut string loose with this f–k–g bar, you black granny dodger! You can’t call a white man a liar and get away with it!”
I wilted. I begged them not to hit me. I knew what they wanted. They wanted me to leave the job.
“I’ll leave,” I promised. “I’ll leave right now!”
They gave me a minute to get out of the factory, and warned me not to show up again or tell the boss. Reynolds loosened his hand on my collar and I ducked out of the room. I did not see Mr. Crane or the stenographer in the office. Pease and Reynolds had so timed it that Mr. Crane and the stenographer would be out when they turned on the terror. I went to the street and waited for the boss to return. I saw Griggs wiping glass shelves in the jewellery store and I beckoned to him. He came out and I told him what had happened.
“Then what are you standing there like a fool for?” he demanded.
“Won’t you ever learn? Get home! They might come down!”
I walked down Capitol Street feeling that the sidewalk was unreal, that I was unreal, that the people were unreal, yet expecting somebody to demand to know what right I had to be on the streets.
My wound went deep; I felt that I had been slapped out of the human race. When I reached home, I did not tell the family what had happened; I merely told them that I had quit, that I was not making enough money, that I was seeking another job.
That night Griggs came to my house; we went for a walk.
“You got a goddamn tough break,” he said.
“Can you say it was my fault?” I asked.
He shook his head.
“Well, what about your goddamn philosophy of meekness?” I asked him bitterly.
“These things just happen,” he said, shrugging.
“They owe me money,” I said.
“That’s what I came about,” he said. “Mr. Crane wants you to come in at ten in the morning. Ten sharp, now, mind you, because he’ll be there and those guys won’t gang up on you again.”
The next morning, at ten I crept up the stairs and peered into the office of the optical shop to make sure that Mr. Crane was in.
He was at his desk. Pease and Reynolds were at their machines in the rear.
“Come in, Richard,” Mr. Crane said.
I pulled off my hat and walked into the office; I stood before him.
“Sit down,” he said.
I sat. He stared at me and shook his head.
“Tell me, what happened?”
An impulse to speak rose in me and died with the realization that I was facing a wall that I would never breech. I tried to speak several times and could make no sounds. I grew tense and tears burnt my cheeks.
“Now, just keep control of yourself,” Mr. Crane said.
I clenched my fists and managed to talk.
“I tried to do my best here,” I said.
“I believe you,” he said. “But I want to know what happened. Which one bothered you?”
“Both of ‘em,” I said.
Reynolds came running to the door and I rose. Mr. Crane jumped to his feet.
“Get back in there,” he told Reynolds.
“That nigger’s lying!” Reynolds said. “I’ll kill ‘im if he lies on me!”
“Get back in there or get out,” Mr. Crane said.
Reynolds backed away, keeping his eyes on me.
“Go ahead,” Mr. Crane said. “Tell me what happened.”
Then again I could not speak. What could I accomplish by telling him? I was black; I lived in the South. I would never learn to operate those machines as long as those two white men in there stood by them. Anger and fear welled in me as I felt what I had missed; I leaned forward and clapped my hands to my face.
“No, no, now,” Mr. Crane said. “Keep control of yourself. No matter what happens, keep control . . .”
“I know,” I said in a voice not my own. “There’s no use of my saying anything.”
“Do you want to work here?” he asked me.
I looked at the white faces of Pease and Reynolds; I imagined their waylaying me, killing me. I was remembering what had happened to Ned’s brother.
“No, sir,” I breathed.
“Why?”
I’m scared,” I said. “They would kill me.”
Mr. Crane turned and called Pease and Reynolds into the office.
“Now, tell me which one bothered you. Don’t be afraid. Nobody’s going to hurt you,” Mr. Crane said.
I stared ahead of me and did not answer. He waved the men inside. The white stenographer looked at me with wide eyes and I felt drenched in shame, naked to my soul. The whole of my being felt violated, and I knew that my own fear had helped to violate it. I was breathing hard and struggling to master my feelings.
“Can I get my money, sir?” I asked at last.
“Just sit a minute and take hold of yourself,” he said.
I waited and my roused senses grew slowly calm.
“I’m awfully sorry about this,” he said.
“I had hoped for a lot from this job,” I said. “I^ wanted to go to school, to college . . .”
“I know,” he said. “But what are you going to do now?”
My eyes travelled over the office, but I was not seeing.
“I’m going away,” I said.
“What do you mean?”
“I’m going to get out of the South,” I breathed.
“Maybe that’s best,” he said. “I’m from Illinois. Even for me, it’s hard here. I can do just so much.”
He handed me my money, more than I had earned for the week.
I thanked him and rose to leave. He rose. I went into the hallway and he followed me. He reached out his hand.
“It’s tough for you down here,” he said.
I barely touched his hand. I walked swiftly down the hall, fighting against crying again. I ran down the steps, then paused and looked back up. He was standing at the head of the stairs, shaking his head. I went into the sunshine and walked home like a blind man.

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Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction