This is a child who ate "salad we found in the woods" in his first years, a child who was sent home from school---in the rural South---for "insufficient clothes" (i.e., potato sacks). This is a teenager who was nearly electrocuted by a pair of white men who whimsically invited him to touch a car battery they were fooling with. This is a man who, during his incarceration in the 1980s, long after he'd drowned his nightmare of "insufficient clothes" in velvet and fur and leather and jeweled cuff links, was found to be hiding tens of thousands of dollars in cash in his prison cell, an expression of a certainty that society was merely a thin fiction covering a harsh jungle of desolation and violence, and if James Brown wasn't looking out for James Brown, no one was.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Santa Claus, Go Straight to the Ghetto … Tell ’Em James Brown Sent You
From a recent profile by Jonathan Lethem in Rolling Stone: