We have always had much more than our simple notions of who we are and what this world has made us. For Americans, Baldwin pushes us towards the “hard to bear.”
Joshua Aiken is a poet, researcher, and J.D./Ph.D. student in History and African American Studies at Yale University.
Posts by Joshua Aiken
The real Elvis is American, remember, and America is a consumer society. The desires we project, the stuff we buy—that is what feels real to us. It lets us have any Elvis we want. He left plenty of kitsch in his wake, plenty of pseudo-religion, plenty of Elvis jokes—but he was not, is not, a joke. He lived our contradictions, released our inhibitions, and lost himself in the process.