Subscribe to Newsletter
Monthly Newsletter: Join more than 5,000 African literature enthusiasts!
Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our "Guide to African Novels."

Teju Cole. Credit: Sydney Morning Herald.

Days ago on Facebook, Teju Cole made a post about the debate over how The New York Times covers and should cover the US president Donald Trump’s racist statements. The novelist, who is the photography critic at The New York Times Magazine, shared a report on CNN and added his perspective.

His post in full:

“We have to remember we are not advocates for the left. We are not f—ing part of the resistance.”

Says a New York Times staffer. OK.

I’m talking about how we need to push past resistance into outright refusal, and we have cats out here for whom even resistance is too much. OK.

Not that this is a surprise. It’s important to remember what the New York Times is. This is not about the occasional “mistake” but about the paper’s ideological commitment to an impossible neutrality. It it about the paper’s perennial fear of seeming “too left.” It is about treating an emergency as business as usual.

Which is easy to do when you feel the emergency is not an emergency for you.

And so, when I write for the Times, I do so to get away with what I can. I do so to reach my scattered kin across distances. I do so to propose courage to those who might feel they are losing theirs.

(God bless my editors at the NY Times Magazine, who have generally gone against the grain of the larger institution: they have been respectful of my writing, and have not toned down my critique of the paper.)

The Times is a big enough space that people are going to be able to come in there in an insurgent way and query its fundamental attitudes. The Times knows that no matter what the insurgents do, the Times will still be the Times.

Let’s say you’re one of those insurgents. Thing is, you might get to do something for a while. Maybe somewhere prominent or powerful. Maybe for a good long stretch, maybe not for so long. Just be sure to remember: what they are is what they are, and where you at is not where you from.

https://edition.cnn.com/…/new-york-times-critici…/index.html

Receipts:

(1) When the Camera Was a Weapon of Imperialism, and When It Still Is

https://www.nytimes.com/…/when-the-camera-was-a-weapon-of-i…

(2) Against Neutrality

https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/magazine/against-neutrality.html

(3) A Time for Refusal

https://www.nytimes.com/…/…/magazine/a-time-for-refusal.html

(4) Resist, Refuse

https://www.nytimes.com/…/teju-cole-resistance-op-ed-resist…

A day later Cole shared a new Spotify playlist on Facebook. Titled “Call Me When You Get There,” it features 19 songs.

Tags: , , ,

About Otosirieze Obi-Young

View all posts by Otosirieze Obi-Young
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, journalist, & Deputy Editor of Brittle Paper. The recipient of the inaugural The Future Awards Prize for Literature in 2019, he sits on the judging panels of The Miles Morland Writing Scholarships and of The Gerald Kraak Prize. He is Nonfiction Editor at 14, Nigeria’s first queer art collective, which has published volumes including We Are Flowers (2017) and The Inward Gaze (2018). He is Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies of writing and visual art focusing on different aspects of Nigerianness, including Enter Naija: The Book of Places (2016), which explores cities, and Work Naija: The Book of Vocations (2017), which explores professions. His work in queer equality advocacy in literature has been profiled in Literary Hub. His fiction has appeared in The Threepenny Review and Transition. He has completed a collection of short stories, You Sing of a Longing, is working on a novel, and is represented by David Godwin Associates literary agency. He has an M.A. in African Studies and a combined honours B.A. in History & International Studies/English & Literary Studies, both from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He taught English in a private Nigerian university. Find him at otosirieze.com, where he accepts writing and editing offers, or on Instagram or Twitter: @otosirieze. When bored, he Googles Rihanna.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Welcome to Brittle Paper, your go-to site for African writing and literary culture. We bring you all the latest news and juicy updates on publications, authors, events, prizes, and lifestyle. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@brittlepaper) and sign up for our "I love African Literature" newsletter.

Monthly Newsletter!

Subscribe for African literature news, and receive a free copy of our
"Guide to African Novels."

Archives

Itiola Jones Joins 20.35 Africa Poetry Collective as an Editor

itiola jones - graph

The American Nigerian poet Itiola Jones has joined the 20.25 Africa: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry collective as an editor. […]

After One Comes Ten | Golden Anurika Ahuachaogu | Poetry

marco-bianchetti-KFzvvFitypM-unsplash

Somewhere in the north, above red earth and foils of prayers, the smell of wet henna fights to outlive the […]

Sumbua | Gloria Mari | Fiction

zakaria-zayane-Xaeo-OpD39M-unsplash

BEATRICE WATCHES THE parking lot, her ornamental beads jingling. “Is Sumbua coming?” she asks her mother standing beside her. Her […]

Americanah TV Series: Chinonye Chukwu to Direct First Two Episodes, Corey Hawkins Joins Cast as Blaine

chinonye chukwu and corey hawkins for Americanah

Chinonye Chukwu, the Igbo-born director of last year’s Sundance award-winning film Clemency, will be directing the first two episodes of […]

Photos | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Is the Inaugural Recipient of the ILFU Festival’s Belle van Zuylen ring

Chimamanda - Belle van Zuylen ring 1 (6)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been honoured with the inaugural Belle van Zuylen ring, an award by the ILFU International Literature […]

The 2000s-10s Generation of Nigerian Writers Has Failed Politically | Michael Chiedoziem Chukwudera

nigeria map graph

1. At the Ake Arts and Books Festival in Lagos last October, the novelist Helon Habila said something about identifying […]

Thanks for signing up!

Never miss out on new posts. Subscribe to a digest, too:

No thanks, I only want the monthly newsletter.