Here's a Donnell Alexander essay
where he discusses Zane, the boom in African-American literature and his own meager book sales. Here's another of his essays
, just for kicks. I've mentioned Alexander here before
Also, keep an eye out for the Ego Trip/VH1 venture Race-O-Rama
. If it's anything like the cable channel and now-defunct hip-hop magazine's earlier 'TV's Illest Minority Moments,' it will be very funny, occasionally offensive and filled with clips you won't see anywhere else. The first Race-O-Rama episode premieres next Monday. And, unlike most VH1 programs, it probably won't be aired over and over ad infinitum.
And, lastly, I've been hearing a lot of promos lately for NPR's 'Living on Earth
,' where, not long ago, William Powers
, aid-worker-turned-author, spoke about his experiences in Liberia. He calls it a fourth-world country. Coming from an aid worker, I had to pause to consider the disillusionment and negativity carried in that designation. It was only moments, though, before I was jolted out of my man's-inhumanity-to-man revery. This exchange appears in the promos: NPR: We're all familiar with the term "third world" countries, but you write about the "fourth world." What do you mean?
AUTHOR: That's right, yeah, the fourth worlds. That's a term that I coined for the countries that are not just poor, but the ones that are completely unstable, environmentally devastated. You know, the ones where Pandora's box has been opened and just can't be closed. I'm talking about the frontiers of anarchy, countries like Myanmar, like Sierra Leone, Liberia, Sudan, and maybe even now Iraq.
Coined? Coined? Maybe you can get away with that stuff on the frontiers of anarchy, bub, but back in the first world, some of us expect authors to do a little research. Here's a usage of 'the fourth world' from 1974
, twenty-five years before Powers went to Liberia. Clearly this shouldn't bother me as much as it does.