By Stanley Crouch

As a cultural and political commentator, Stanley Crouch in unapologetically contentious and delightfully iconoclastic. no matter if he's writing at the area of expertise of the yank South, the loss of life of Tupak Shakur, the O.J. Simpson verdict, or the wear performed via the Oklahoma urban bombing, Crouch's high-velocity trade with American tradition is carried out with scrupulous allegiance to the reality, even if it hurts--and it always does. And with reference to jazz--from Sidney Bechet to Billy Strayhorn, Duke Ellington to Miles Davis--there is not any yet one more articulate, impassioned, and encyclopedic in his wisdom than Stanley Crouch.

Crouch ways every little thing in his course with head-on power, stressed intelligence, and a clean religion within the collective test that's America--and he does so in a virtuosic prose sort that's by no means lower than exciting.

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Additional resources for Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives

Example text

In the state itself. 34 I. MAPPING But then, this is what maps do, affirm the existence of the things on them. “This is here,” maps say, “and that is there,” as they do so simultaneously affirming the precedent existence of whatever is in question (the this, the state) and its location (the there, its borders). Such affirmations constitute powerful existence claims. When asserted about the Front Range of the Rockies or the range of the pin oak tree, such claims may seem unproblematic, but their overtly political and therefore problematic character can hardly be overlooked when they establish nation-states, electoral districts, and school attendance zones, in which cases maps in no way report but baldly propose states of affairs (which we’ll later see is also true for the Front Range of the Rockies and the range of the pin oak).

Mapmaking took such strong root in France during the 16th century that by 1663 Louis XIV and his chief minister, Colbert, could envision using maps for military and naval purposes, for making political and judicial decisions (especially about jurisdictions, an obvious use today), for economic and financial planning (mines, canals, fiscal divisions), and for establishing the boundaries of ecclesiastical dioceses. 56 Similar accounts—which in Europe can be repeated for the Spain and Austria of the Hapsburgs, the United Provinces of Maurice of Nassau, the Sweden of Gustav Adolph, and the Poland and Lithuania of Mikołaj Krzysztof Radziwiłł57—can also be given for emergent states elsewhere in the world.

The articulation of similar notation systems in so many of these societies strongly supports the notion that map discourse functions of this character inevitably emerge in societies whose increasing size and complication call for them (the specialization required for making maps demands a population of at least the size maps permit to function), of which, again, the best example is China. But the sporadic nature of this articulation no less strongly suggests that at the size and degree of complication reached by most ancient civilizations, the map discourse function as it has come to evolve could be satisfied by other, better-established discourse functions (generally scripted and/or numeric), so that the map discourse function failed to establish itself no matter how many times it was seeded.

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Always in Pursuit: Fresh American Perspectives by Stanley Crouch
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