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Our America

Those Boys in the Hoods

- By Jim Hicks

(photo: Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

If you’re reading this blog, one of two things can be assumed: either that you made a point of seeing the new Spike Lee film this past weekend, during the first anniversary of the march on Charlottesville, or that you’ve read at least a review or two, and so already suspect that we may be talking about a masterpiece here. We are. Let’s skip the plot summary, then, so we can move on to what matters more—to this country, and therefore the world, and, I suspect, even to Spike himself.

I don’t need to remind you all that the title of the filmmaker’s breakthrough movie was a call to action, written...

Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part One

- By Jim Hicks

Part One: This I believe

These dark days in the land of Weinsteins and white nats demand action, in many forms, on many fronts. Even us old straight white guys, I’m guessing, have a role to play, above and beyond our most obvious and essential obligation—to listen up. As the editor of a literary magazine, I am—in some minor fashion, in a country that places little to no value on literacy—a gatekeeper. No way around that. A British-Italian artist once told me, back in the eighties, about another artist who was then plastering London with stickers that said, simply, “Not Art”. For the next couple of days, as I recall, the two of us went around Paris pointing out places where such stickers were sorely needed—and also recognizing a...

Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part Two

- By Jim Hicks

This is Part Two of a three-part series. Read Part One here.

Part Two: de gustibus non disputandum est

The history of the Massachusetts Review offers, as I’ve just suggested, certain lessons about the contingent and variable nature of taste—and about the difficulties encountered trying to change it. That history can’t, of course, explain why, of all the lessons one might learn from a magazine like ours, this is what matters most to me. Surely, some of what I’ve learned about this subject I was taught in grad school, during those years where your cultural tool kit gets opened up, tossed out on the...

Our America

Our America: Confessions of a Race Traitor, Part Three

- By Jim Hicks

This is Part Three of a three-part series. Read Part One here, and Part Two here.

Part Three: In Defense of Cultural Appropriation

Yes, I know. After spewing forth more than sufficient verbiage for a pair of blog posts, I still haven’t earned fully the title of this series. Nothing necessarily, either in my brief and partial history of the Massachusetts Review or in my reminiscences from grad school, more than hints how my interests/values/tastes (in what I don’t know already) make me a race traitor. Perhaps there is no necessary connection, but that’s how it worked out in my case. These...

Our America

Our America: : What is Nakba Day?

- By Michel Moushabeck

This speech was given by Michel Moushabeck on May 15, 2018, at a rally organized by Jewish Voice for Peace in front of the Town Hall in Northampton, MA. The event was organized to commemorate the 70th anniversary of al-Nakba and show solidarity with the protesters in Gaza.

The Pioneer Valley has been my second home for the past twenty-six years. I am very grateful to be part of this wonderful community. But I say the Valley is my second home, because my first home is Jerusalem and my homeland is Palestine. In 1948, my family was expelled from its home in West Jerusalem during the Nakba at the hands of the invading Zionist forces. They were forced to abandon everything, while still carrying the key to our house. My family is now scattered all over the...

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