(THIS ARTICLE IS MACHINE TRANSLATED by Google from Norwegian)
There are some kind of brazen people who, the first time you see each other, hit you on the shoulder and talk to you like you should have been intimate friends throughout your life. This is exactly the kind you will never know.
At the American Negro author James Baldwin is the phenomenon typical of white America. In the novel "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow", Baldwin portrays a Negro singer who, after a long stay in Europe, returns to the American Fatherland. What strikes the singer most strongly about the reunion is the Americans' lack of measuredness in meeting strangers. But he soon discovers that the immediate shower mentality is not an expression of openness. It is, on the contrary, a wall, designed to cut off any interpersonal relationship from developing beyond the completely banal stage. It is a defense against the disturbing and often painful of truly living with other people. It is possible – perhaps very likely – that false joviality is a more pronounced feature in the United States than in Europe. But then just as another indication that the United States has reached farther than Europe in many areas. If we continue to follow in the wake of the Americans, we will probably follow. The imagined openness is not unknown in Europe.
We usually do not need to go further than for example. nearest colonial trade to face falsehood in its most unveiled form. The customer is fully aware that the dishwasher's jovial smile and empty talk about the weather is committed to cover him, and the man behind the counter is fully aware of it. Because when the trade is done and the next customer is dispatched, the play repeats itself. The man behind the counter will play this clown role, it's his job to be equally kind to everyone. The man behind the counter knows everyone – and nobody.
We are wise to note that the falsity of immediate joviality is most evident in trading conditions. Then we approach its historical roots. Does it have anything to do with transition from feudalism to capitalism? With the transition from life trait to the so-called free, economic dependence between slave and lord? With the rise of a tradable bourgeoisie and a working class that sells its labor to the capitalist? And today, as service professionals are picking up the bulk of the workforce in highly industrialized countries, isn't the trade relationship between people even more pronounced and widespread?
This should not lead anyone to believe that false joviality belongs to us exclusively as professionals. It has crept into, and today also dominates our private lives. We treat each other as objects, which can be bought and sold. We prefer it, rather than the problematic one: to experience each other as human beings. Prostitution is the most consistent expression of our attitude. The whorehouse has been abolished in many countries. But the thousand homes are good enough.
Few have spoken with greater intensity about human relations than James Baldwin. It has its natural explanation that he is an American Negro, and that he is particularly concerned about the relationship between whites and blacks in the United States. There, the barrier is recognized as a public problem. For Baldwin, this cannot be solved by eliminating formal inequalities. Baldwin provides shocking insights that the Negro problem is a misleading term – created by a white upper class, the problem is just as much for whites and whites.
Why do whites get excited at the sight of Negroes? Because those in the Negro see what they have closed their eyes on and will not see – their own miserable history and a world that was once lost. In the Negro, they hammer loose on their hated self. And the liberal – time and time again he is revealed by Baldwin as the twist image of the race fanatic. His friendly joviality is committed to escaping the problematic in his relationship with the Negro. It is the humanism of selfishness. Underneath the race fanatic is on the run, ready as soon as the negro should not behave as expected. In this situation, the negro is also constantly pressed into the performance. If he does not deny himself and his hatred – does not play the submissive role he is intended, the handshake is replaced with a fist. It's boiling and boiling like in hell in Baldwin's depictions of what lives beneath the clean-cut American surface.
There is no shortage of heat under our own facade either. In politics, the liberal acts as the liberal, accepting your opinions as long as you do not enter into his life and his opinions. He is the one who takes the middle of the tree and is neither for the oppressor nor the oppressed. But if you tell him that he thus provides the best defense for the oppression – often because he himself suppresses, then the jovial smile gives way to the aggressive wrinkles. It smells under the idyll of daily life too: the make-up lady spitting the long-haired boy in the face. The formed gentleman who walks a berserker with an ax against a work of art he cannot stand. Historically: fascism, which arose when the depression tore the firm ground off people's feet, and a sufficient number of people reacted at the same time as the previous ones.
The attempt to maintain security also gives less primitive results. One is especially developed with more artistic skill in more cultured, academic circles. It is about explaining and putting in booths. If they are able to explain the deviant or the deviant by setting him or her up as a case of a rule – then the familiar notions are saved. There are people who have developed this tactic into the most impenetrable shield. Once they've used up all the traditional booth terms, their last indulgent words are – and they can be used on anything: "It's so wonderfully absurd." In this way every meaning is made meaningless, and that is also the innermost meaning of the rule thinking.
In the science fiction literature, a hell of a future is often made. In Bradburys Fahrenheit 451 reading and owning books is prohibited. But isn't our own time a much worse hell? It is not forbidden to read revolutionary James Baldwin in the United States. On the contrary, he is praised as the great Negro writer. Playboy – the most streamlined expression of hypocritical liberality and double standards in America – reproduces one excellent interview with Baldwin, the next with Fidel Castro himself. By celebrating them, making them the compulsory curriculum for the American Playboy intellectual who will be at the height, every drop of power out of these two is revolutionized in their own way. Baldwin is thus pissed off after the back of the ones he most skin-braiding has revealed. He himself becomes a victim of joviality, in its sweetest and most refined edition. Isn't our time – when this is happening – a much worse hell than any imagined future?
James Baldwin is currently with the film
I Am Not Your Negro, which still goes to cinema select locations in the country.