“We must all fear evil men. But, there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.” – Monseigneur from the film “The Boondock Saints”

My friends, I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but I am not a “glass half full” kind of person. Most days, I border between “glass half empty” and “I’m going to knock this worthless glass onto the floor”. Not to say I don’t enjoy life and its pleasantries, but sometimes being a human being makes me sick to my stomach. For every life-affirming moment I witness or hear of, there are a good 32 things that ruin my faith in the human race. Nuclear war, blood for oil, incompetent leaders, and xenophobia run rampant – and we wonder why the martians haven’t landed yet to say hello.


There is little to nothing I despire more in this world than people and their ignorance. I know I sound totally in the mindset of “I’m always right and have never done wrong”, and I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but when I see a mexican teenage boy comparing being gay to “having sex with your dog”, I think it’s high-fucking-time for a zombie apocalypse. With the war over who can and cannot get married running wild, I see some great parallels between this and A Wreath for Emmett Till, an elegy (and an epic crown of sonnets) dedicated to a young teenage boy killed by the same type of blithering imbeciles who would compare being gay to screwing animals. If you don’t know who Emmett Till is or what happened to him (just as I did not before reading this book), go Wiki him. I’ll wait here.


Perhaps she’s blind because some ignorant waste of skin cut her eyes out as well.

The poems themselves are crafted beautifully. At no point does Marilyn Nelson become full of herself and run away into the regular, difficult-to-decipher zone of hyperbolic metaphors and your generic romantic language. These are your traditional sonnets – iambic pentameter and all – but they feel as though there’s an actual driving force behind them, unlike Shakespeare’s 600 million about either time, beauty, death, or love (supposedly with a man, nice tie-in, eh?). Philippe Lardy’s illustrations literally paint the perfect picture to accompany these sonnets, his images usually resonating with two different sides of the same coin. These are poems I would actually want to go back and read. Fuck the red wheelbarrow, this is poetry, and you can tell my American Lit class I said so.


How is this not included in a regular history curriculum? Out of 4 people in a discussion, only 1 had heard of Emmett in a history class, but it wasn’t even until the college level. How do we just gloss over this? Is this in the same boat as Japanese Americans in 1942 and the jews we turned away while they were fleeing from Germany? At the risk of this blog going on forever, I need to reign it in, but the fact that this kind of behavior can happen in a country where we parade up and down with the flag in one hand and the bible in the other makes me want to puke. White, idiot, racist fools get away with murder, and then ingrates like Lil Wayne (who is praised as a musical genius, for what reason I will never know) write such gem lyrics as “beat the pussy up like Emmett Till”.


I hereby renounce my status as a human being, because if this is the best we’ve got, I want no part in it. I want the world to know I hold being racist against people of any color is in the same boat as denying gay people their rights. Because it is. “Because they are different” is not, and never will be, a good reason to treat someone like less than a person, especially when you barely function as one yourself. Religion doesn’t matter,  color doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, gender does. not. matter. We are human beings, we are humans being, and if you can’t accept that there is more to the world than your little box, feel free to finish the human race a bit quicker.

Fuck this shit, I’m moving to Mars.


  1. lechatdu503 says:

    I loved your post! I feel almost the same way. I loathe racism in all its forms. I hate that it seems most people cannot look past their differences and believe that the white male is the epitome of creation. (Instead of zombies, I’d really love some natural selection. Bring back the velociraptors and we’ll see how everyone fares.)

    I’m not ready to move to Mars yet though. I believe in the goodness of people and that knowledge is power. I have my own battles, such as religion in schools, but I think that ridding ignorance and teaching people to be openminded is possible. That’s part of the reason I want to be a teacher. It’s part of the reason why I want to teach abroad. I want to prove to the world and myself that I am not some bigoted American trying to take away and deny people’s rights because they do not conform to my ideal.

  2. nikkijh24 says:

    I noticed that you are not particularly a “glass half full” kind of guy, but for good reason! I’m the biggest worry wart on planet earth, I swear, which kind of makes me a “glass half empty” kind of person, too. As you said, it’s not that we don’t enjoy life or anything, it’s just that we’re aware of all the shit out there! (AH 1ST CUSS WORD WHILST BLOGGING! Proud, Jeff?)

    This was the first time I had read “A Wreath for Emmett Till”; I was surprised at how many people haven’t read this book or “Out of the Dust”. Both books could easily be taught across the curriculum. The poetry, the history, everything about both books makes them so versatile, which makes them beautiful!

  3. Jeff, please please please promise me you will continue blogging after this course is over because your blog is awesome. I always laugh out loud while reading your posts. Such good stuff…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s