I think it's time I revamp my fanfic, no?
ya'll be the judge
Help. I’m trapped in a steady memoir loop.
(See: recent memoir stan post)
Do ya’ll do this? Where, for a short or long(ish) period of time you’re only interested in reading one type of book; mysteries, poetry, romance novels, YA books, long ass, academic nonfiction?
Currently finishing up Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.
I’m not sure what I thought I was getting into. I’m not necessarily a Trevor Noah fan, but I respect his craft. I don’t watch his show but I catch clips if they show up in my YouTube feed.
I think in cases like these, the cringe of my hipster underbelly creeps out, expecting quite popular titles by actual celebrities to be perfectly formulaic and uninspired. But, I can admit when I’m wrong.
This is harder than I thought.
…Born a Crime is actually…great?
His style is bright and funny. Pacing, bouncy and light though the subject matter isn’t that at all. We’re talking apartheid, classic racism to the nth degree. Like, Noah was literally ‘born a crime.’
A few things I’ve learned so far:
The South African education system is not unlike the American education system.
From the book…
We were taught history the way it’s taught in America. In America, the history of racism is taught like this: “There was slavery and then there was Jim Crow and then there was Martin Luther King Jr. and now it’s done.” It was the same for us. “Apartheid was bad. Nelson Mandela was freed. Let’s move on.” - Trevor Noah, Born a Crime
At one point in apartheid, Chinese people were classified as black. Japanese people were "white.”
Yes, “honorary whites.” Basically, the South African government wanted to be on good terms with Japan to get nice deals on imports. Legit, via Time (Friday, Jan. 19, 1962):
…Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd's racist regime began to have second thoughts about white supremacy as applied to Asians when, a few weeks ago, it contemplated a tempting $250 million industrial contract with Japan.
Hitler is not an unpopular name for black men in South Africa.
Trevor had a black friend named Hitler. A very normal, oddly common, non-starter of a name for the black people of South Africa. I found an excerpt from the book that fleshes out some of the why for this, but yeah, highly recommend reading the whole thing.
I bring up Noah because I got his book at the library. I rent books from the library all the time but usually through that Libby app that lets you read digital copies. Love Libby. She’s a real one.
Thanks to Libby, I rarely check out books inside an actual library.
So I was delightfully amused to see what I saw at the very bottom of my library book receipt. Quick disclaimer; when I’m out in the world I can be entirely distracted. Ya’ll, I don’t be paying attention.
But anyway, I noticed an interesting note; By using the Memphis Public Libraries, you saved: $28.00.
Thanks, Memphis Public Libraries.
Now, perhaps this note has always been a thing? Did I just not notice?
At first glance it’s a benign, useful piece of info. It’s nice to know how much you’re potentially saving. Gives peace of mind. Especially if you’re one of those people who buys books at full price. Not my cheap ass. Thirftbooks.com all the way. But anyway, this note seems a neutral good.
But sometimes, I’m a messy gay. And so, sometimes, I see shade in the benign.
Think about it. They could have said anything else. Or nothing else. There’s only so much space on a little library receipt.
Is their note not shade to the ongoing cultural war against public libraries, that (not even exaggerating) is trying to vilify them?
A clever “fuck ya’ll” to the growing party of anti-intellectual haters? Or a creative commentary on the many benefits and conveniences of local libraries everywhere. Presenting just one of the hundreds of ways they make communities better?
By using the Memphis Public Libraries, you saved: $28.00.
It’s cunt-y. It’s concise. It’s everything I love about the library in one sentence.
I don’t care if I’m reaching. Call it library fan fiction.
Subscribe to JASPER for free bi-weekly posts in your inbox, every other Wednesday.
Thank you all so much for reading. Happy Wednesday and, please, if you may, do something perfectly shady in honor of your local library this holiday season.
P.S.: The title was not clickbait. I’m very tempted to write more fan fiction. Leave subject recs in the comments.