Malcolm X is still America’s most moral hero, unfortunately less lucky than his South African counterpart Nelson Mandela. He was nipped by a buddy before Islam could build its power in America. Consider the stuttering Christianity which was his (super) natural competition.
That brilliant self-made Okie, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (NY, Dem), had used his brilliant Harvard education to write the most important American document since the Constitution: the demoralization of the American Negro family. Literally millions of blacks were incarcerated for minor drug offenses for which the second President Bush got not a minute in jail.
As I took a first look at Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles, the inspiring catalogue the Philadelphia Museum sent after four ignored requests with $13.75 postage and my spending four hours tracking down Customs at Erfurt Airport, the state capital of Thuringia, where I have been writing a book on Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus he had founded in 1919, I was drawn in.
In 1999 Weimar became the Cultural Capital of Europe, Helmut Kohl’s maneuver to seal the heals of East and West Germanies. Chase-Riboud explores the new moral world of potential liberation. Raised Catholics, my first wife and I were totally ignorant of this innovative behavior.
Plate 1 is called “The Bed” in which two women are resting from “soixante-neuf” sex, the numbers 6 and 9, illustrating that the lovers were mouthing each other’s vulvas. A newly liberated world. I was divorced in Juarez at 43 before I experienced this avant-garde maneuver. At best, superbly evocative. Ordinarily, mediocre messiness. Malcolm surely was better at it than I ever was. But it was one of his many “X”’s that were opening his innovative, revolutionary life.
Her Steles imitate and innovate the great remembrancers of the two civilizations that generated our most generous virtues. Without honorable memories, we humans slither snakishly. America, born on the Puritan lie that God saved the Americas to bless Christians colonizing its expanses.
Exceptionalism the sociologists dubbed it. Exceptional Self-Delusion is a more accurate description of its falseness. The splendid “Steles” she has populated the world with are our last chance to purge us of that self-destruction habit. Exceptionally stupid as OUR GREAT LIE has made USA. She could be our last chance. At the very least, she is a grand conversion potential. We have until January 20, 2014 to save ourselves from self-extinction.