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Friday, February 10, 2012

Jamaal's Status Updates

My buddy and Warren Wilson classmate, the poet Jamaal May, writes some of my favorite Facebook status updates. They're are almost always funny and thoughtful, and often challenging. If Facebook status updates are a viable and distinct genre (and I believe they are), Jamaal is a master. Here are a few recent examples:

"What percentage of people who describe themselves as "blunt" and "outspoken" are just tactless assholes who are too lazy to work on that shit. Gotta be up in the 90s right?"

"My compulsion to multitask has resulted in me failing at making tea not once but twice this morning. Once when the boiled water sat alone until it was no longer boiled, and once when the smoke alarm informed me that all my water was now steam. Might as well do away with the pretext and just have this shot of whiskey straight."

"I'm surprised how many strong fiction writers don't seem to know 'black man' or 'arab woman' is not a complete description of a person's look to anyone who dosen't think all non-white people look the same. When I read 'Asian boy,' I can't make out a face. I don't even know what stereotype I'm supposed to be seeing, because if he's from Japan he's not even going to look remotely like a Bangladeshi boy, for example. It's not just an identity politics, race relation, or whatever the BS panel buzz word is this week, issue. Never mind me taking offense, (especially since that's written off as being 'too sensitive' these days) it takes me out of the story. It's at the very least a basic craft issue and I find it bizarre people aren't learning this in their creative writing programs. Could you imagine workshopping a story with a white narrator who describes ever secondary character he encounters as 'the white bank teller,' 'the cute white guy down the hall,' 'the white mechanic...' Umm... actually, I kind of want to read that story."

Jamaal

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