Thanks to Tim Yelvington, whose insights abound. Here’s an excerpt:
In her book Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, feminist scholar Anne McClintock examines colonial explorers’ use of fetish objects — spears, rifles, helmets, leather — to assert their domination over the unfamiliar landscape they fear will engulf them. In entrance to a colonial pageant in which we all begin to intricate, it’s too late, we are already engulged. Johannes presents many of the familiar symbols and images of colonialism and nation-building — there are horses, a colonel, “innocent” children — but presents them corrupted, perverse, refusing to function in service to any sort of narratively or ideologically coherent agenda. In Johannes’s sentences, all language, like all nations, is always already forged, contaminated.
For me, this book is now a go-to resource, an open idea file of images and sentences that are simultaneously hilarious, delightful and discomfiting. It is a book I will continually return to, that has already influenced my own writing and thinking and will continue to do so.