People Say Gullah Geechee Culture is Disappearing. BJ Dennis Says They’re Wrong both moved me and made my mouth water. I wanted to write a thoughtful response about how food is more than just sustenance (I’m glaring at you, Soylent drinkers) and how each bite is filled with history. But language fails me here. Words just pale in comparison to the explosion of flavors — lovingly coaxed out of freshly caught seafood and locally farmed produce — developed by a culture that withstood centuries of pain to pass their history down generations.*
The San Francisco Chronicle published a multimedia essay on 24 hours inside the city’s homelessness crisis as part of the SF Homeless Project and included a detailed Q&A section (covering questions like SF numbers are particularly high, where does all the funding go, etc). It’s easy to complain that the city isn’t doing enough to solve the problem (I’ve definitely been guilty of this when I was living there), but there are bigger issues at play and the city is working on it.
1. How much poison are you willing
to eat for the success of the free
market and global trade? Please
name your preferred poisons.
2. For the sake of goodness, how much
evil are you willing to do?
Fill in the following blanks
with the names of your favorite evils
and acts of hatred.
3. What sacrifices are you prepared
to make for the culture and civilization?
Please list the monuments, shrines,
and works of art you would
most willingly destroy.
4. In the name of patriotism and
the flag, how much of our beloved
land are you willing to desecrate?
List in the following spaces
the mountains, rivers, towns, farms
you could most readily do without.
5. State briefly the ideas, ideals, or hopes,
the energy sources, the kinds of security,
for which you would kill a child.
Name, please, the children whom
you would be willing to kill.
And this one that Stacy-Marie Ishmael included in her latest newsletter (definitely recommend subscribing!):
“Demeter’s Prayer to Hades” by Rita Dove
This alone is what I wish for you: knowledge.
To understand each desire has an edge,
to know we are responsible for the lives
we change. No faith comes without cost,
no one believes without dying.
Now for the first time
I see clearly the trail you planted,
what ground opened to waste,
though you dreamed a wealth
There are no curses — only mirrors
held up to the souls of gods and mortals.
And so I give up this fate, too.
Believe in yourself,
go ahead — see where it gets you.
This truly delightful interview Rob Sheffield did on Harry Styles. Eternal sunshine indeed.
*If you’re in Atlanta and craving Gullah Geechee, I recommend Virgil’s Gullah Kitchen in College Park. Get the Shawk Bites, Shrimp & Crab Gravy Rice, and Chucktown Chewie Sundae.
P.S. Pour yourself a glass of wine and read CJ Hauser’s “The Crane Wife”. It’ll break your heart and put it all back together again.