Friday, July 6, 2012

Diary of a Blue-Eyed Devil

Autobiography of a Blue-Eyed Devil: My Life and Times in a Racist, Imperialist Society
Inga Muscio
Weight: 1 lb
Method of Disposal: Putting in a Better World Books Bin

I have finally finished the last Inga Muscio book I own.  After Cunt impressed me so much when I was around 16, I kept feeling like I needed to read her other work and kept collecting them as they came out, even though I had come to the realization that Cunt was much less mind blowing than I thought and a little more offensive.  If you have read my past blog, you know I was not enthralled with Rose.  I decided to read this one on the heels of that one so I could go ahead and just get rid of them.  It took me all month.

I will say that this one was much much better than Rose and even had snippets where I could get into her voice and what she was saying all over again.  I believe it is important for Americans to face the rampant racism and imperialism of our country.  I appreciate that she put so many provocative truths forward, but she continued to let me down.  For someone who thinks so much about discrimination, reclaiming and the power of words, and various isms she really seems to be lacking an understanding or a willingness to understand (dis)ability.  How are we still using “retard” three books in?  How is it that this book is the first one I remember seeing ability looked at in its own right, and each time it was brought up it was in a superficial or blase way, if not thrown out as an insult.  It would be so easy to fix!  

I am sure no one will be shocked, given that I work at an animal shelter in the South and see cruelty/neglect on a daily basis, that I was not all that thrilled with her tangent about companion animals and spay/neuter.  That is not to say that I think animals exist to be our pets and that I do not, also, have a problem with how we breed, abuse, dominate, and mistreat them.  I do not think, in an ideal world, we would have so many animals in homes and contained.  I do not think that if breeding were controlled and animals were treated with true humaness that we would have to spay/neuter them.  I can understand and empathize with the resistance to spay/neuter, but the benefits to the animals far outweigh the negative.  I think of the thousands of pit bulls on chains, euthanized, abused every day and cringe at the thought of making more that will suffer the same way their peers did.  I would rather spay one pit bull than watch their offspring starve to death, live in crowded shelter conditions waiting for death, get hit by cars, so on and so forth.  And this goes for all pets, but I use pit bulls because I love them so and they are the least adopted, most mistreated companion animal of all time.  Also, Inga Muscio has a friend who use to have to sleep with a gun and a PIT BULL every night because of living amongst gangs.

I like how she describes her love for America, as well as her dislike.  I appreciate that she took the time to lead the reader to see the beauty of this racist, imperialist country even while exposing gross injustice.
I do not like the stories about her blowing up on random strangers, like the woman on the plane who asked her what she was eating.   Inga is sure it was because the woman was white and the food did not fit into her worldview of normal.  I am not so sure.  Sometimes, I question her reason and her anger management.  A woman asking about some noodles got blown way out of proportion.  And, even if that was what was going on, couldn’t you find a better example of everyday racism?  Or educate the woman instead of confuse her? This book was way too long and contained way to many disconnected snippets.  I read the first 200 pages quickly and suffered through the redundancy and negativity of the last 300.

She has a good idea.  She says important things.  But it is always face value, and intentionally over-the-top-shock-value material.  She never achieves a tangible, well thought out, connected piece of work.  This is the last Inga book I will read, no matter how many more she writes.  I am sorry about that.  We have so much in common and so many interesting/useful differences, but I am done.  It has become overwhelming and reading is supposed to be fun/educational/helpful/inspirational/enraging/meaningful/something else.  I mean, I am supposed to feel something other than irritation, I think.

Side note:  I do not quite understand the idea of her choosing not to swim in the ocean, which she loves so much, because the ocean is so mistreated.  It talked to her and told her.  People do massive damage to the ocean and the planet, and we should be angry, but really, what does not swimming in the ocean do to help the situation really?  You will have to read the section for yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment