Jamaican Me Uncomfortable

Tonight, I attended a lecture by Jamaica Kincaid. Tickets were five dollars at the door, but free if you stole them. Yeah, I stole tickets to a lecture, but it was out of principle: I feel that everyone should be entitled to a free education. And cable. And music downloads. Hey, at least I’m not one of those douches stealing food from Walmart in New Orleans.

Kincaid was a wreck: she fell at the podium, couldn’t complete a thought, and complained about hearing herself echo over the sound system nearly every two minutes. Everyone in the audience was uncomfortable because she was clearly bombing on stage; a couple of times I legitimately winced at the awkwardness. I’m glad I didn’t pay for the ticket; I think the only people who must willingly do so are the same people who go to NASCAR races for the crashes. But we already knew that Jamaica Kincaid and NASCAR appeal to the same audience.

Damn, is she a great writer though; writers are rarely verbally articulate – or at least that’s what I try to tell myself when I tend to foul up everything I say. During the Q&A session, people threw her pity softballs. “Do you have children?” for example, is not typically what you’d ask of an intellectual if given the opportunity, unless you’re senile. When asked how her life experiences influence her writing, she said she had nothing to say on the subject. Jigga? I wonder what she thought she was brought to speak about. That’s a rhetorical question (actually, a rhetorical sentence, as that clause ends with a period,) because I found out after the last question was asked. “You like gardening: can you describe how that relates to your dead mother and colonial imperialism?” The question was out of left field and I snickered wondering how she’d handle that one, but to my surprise, she was finally in her comfort zone and able to string sentences together, and proceeded to, for twenty minutes, describe her favorite plants and their relationships with colonial settlements. She did leave her dead mother out of it, though, much to the disappointment of Jeff Gordon fans everywhere.

No comments: