nigger count: 12

The anti-Semitic slurs in Ulysses are countless, but there seems to be some point to it, a platform to defend Bloom, or to facilitate the characterization of the people Bloom and Dedalus encounter during the day. The latent misogyny,  the insidious tenet that women are morally and intellectually inferior, is palpable and permeates each female character(ization), especially Molly(‘s). Joyce is an Aristotle nut, so I expect it and can process it. But what literally smacks the breath out of me, what gets a visceral reaction, is the gratuitous niggerlips, niggermouth, nigger and its variations, sambo, golliwog, coon, darkie. Surely Joyce, a man of such loquacious detail, can do better. After-all, nigger lips do come in different sizes.

Racism is a late 20th Century concept, I get that. The thought of political correctness circa 1922 actually makes me chuckle, mitigating Joyce’s culpability somewhat. Still, it doesn’t abate my disappointment.

Nigger is the pin that pricked.

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2 responses to “nigger count: 12

  1. Galactus told me today about publishers in the U.S. changing the word ‘nigger’ to ‘slave’ in Mark Twain books because it was so difficult to teach in schools. I understand why they would think that a solution, but when Twain used nigger, he did it to add to the rhetoric about slavery in his country, which is no idle use of the word. My feelings about Twain’s and Joyce’s use of the word remain distinct.

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