Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Junot Diaz and the "Culture of Respectability"

AWP has started podcasting weekly!  Here's what they have on offer.  You can subscribe via iTunes too.

I found myself laughing outloud at episode 15, Junot Diaz reading at the 2011 conference.  When asked about the use of profanity and rough language in his work, he talked about the "culture of respectability" as a way to silence others.  Censorship becomes "a wonderful way to obscure the vast, violent privilege of the people who have it."  It's the keeping-it-real argument all over again, but I never tire of hearing it, because it's true.  And as for his focus on Dominican-American identity (as well as New Jersey identity), it really is an offshoot of the reading he did as a kid, where he felt he was not represented. 

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