Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Hannah Lilith Assadi

The country never tires of plot or character. Not the way I am sometimes tired. The way sometimes I cannot push a story past the first sentence or cannot work backwards from the last sentence. Perhaps my desire is not ignited by character or plot, but by the dance, the music, that harnesses the beginning to the end. The beginning, like a virgin bride, girdled up and trembling, prepares for a ceremony that has little meaning other than that it delivers her to the conjugal bed, in which she is revealed, or as it were, fulfilled. All that’s in between are wedding guests: transitory, drunken, flailing about in the limping tent of my narrative.

This is never the case in the news. Admittedly, the news tells better stories than I. Certainly better tragedies. In the news, there is always a protagonist and her antagonist. There is a setting. There is exposition. There is the barren desert land in which the two have met. There is the sound of gun shots which will (temporarily) rival the (permanently) muted sound of bombs exploding in that other barren desert land, once the womb of Eden.

Then there is the back story. The elusive parents of the antagonist, who raged to neighbors about the trash. There is the ever intoxicating provision of detail, more detail! we scream: a shrine in the yard of skull and blackened oranges. There is a kindly foil, a freak classmate with magenta hair. The more they give us, the more we want. We do not want to understand the tragedy. We want to understand our antagonist. We want to understand him so much that the congresswoman lying nearly brain dead in the hospital pales in comparison to this effort. She is not the protagonist. We are the protagonist. It is Jared Lee Loughner vs. US.

We are addicted to Jared, this college dropout beefhead Mein Kampf toting loser turned murderer from Tucson, Arizona. We want to read his journal, we want to know his old friends, we want to know his every intimate excursion the way we want to know a lover who has thwarted us. A murderer of six has become the hateful beloved of every news channel. I wonder this evening of the girl or guy in their bedroom who stole his virginity, if it ever was stolen. He or she should be interviewed next.

They are printing stickers. The stickers say stand with Arizona. Arizona United. I should say I am from Arizona. I should say I drove through Tucson with my parents (and stopped) to get gas around half past 11 Saturday morning. We did not hear any sirens. My father bitched in the backseat that we were getting too close to the border. That they would stop us for looking Mexican. My mother wanted to drive on to see an old mining town turned artist’s colony named Bisbee. I looked out over Tucson from the window, its dull pastels, the endless flat sky, the low buildings, and thought, as I’ve always thought of Tucson (my apologies to its natives) that it was the ideal setting for suicide.

We arrived in Bisbee and they shut the gallery doors on us. Quietly. My father cried racism. We turned on the radio. A woman was shot. Her name was Gabrielle. A 9 year old was shot. A suspect was arrested. We did not hear any sirens. The trip had gained new purpose. There was a story. There was news. And this might be the intractable problem at the root of it all, of storytelling, of the news.

Jared, in his tiny jail cell, has had his victory. I should say this nauseates me. I should say that it is still true. Now everyone is listening to Jared’s ‘conscious dreaming’, his fucked up fairy tale that after 22 pathetic years in dull pastel and barren desert, put him on the news. Everyone is ravenous with listening.

Hannah Lillith Assadi lives in Brooklyn, New York but was raised in Arizona. She is working on her first novel and is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at the Columbia University School of the Arts.

1 comment:

  1. once upon a time they were our heroes. faces from the TV screen, almost gods.
    now no more heroes there. we all know power of news. but again one guy from nowhere became hero after he almost kill for his stupid needs. and this is news, one killed by the other one, and real news is that hunger for death has a bunch to stay famous among them..
    but we yet call this a murder... i don't know...
    thanks for a paying attention on real things.