Just when you think the folks at Harriet have finally disappeared down the rabbit-hole of Con Writing and its several intersecting tunnels (look just under the sod: they don’t dig deep), in walks Linh Dinh to shake things up. (Martin Earl also shakes things up, but in a sly-patrician way; Linh tracks in mud—city mud infused with distinctively urban pain—and talks about books and writers that would get you kicked off the Ph.D assembly line: Nelson Algren instead of Wittgenstein, for example.) Here are Linh’s three most recent Harriet posts: each a breath of … I was going to say “fresh air,” but no—they offer a breath of reality, which only seems fresh because of our ignorance of the past. It is quite ancient. Eduardo Galeano gives us the Peruvian version in Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone:
ORIGIN OF SOCIAL CLASSES
In the earliest of times, times of hunger, the first woman was scratching at the earth when the sun’s rays penetrated her from behind. In an instant, a baby was born.
The god Pachacamac was not at all pleased with the sun’s good deed, and he tore the newborn to pieces. From the dead infant sprouted the first plants. The teeth became grains of corn, the bones became yucca, the flesh became potato, yam, squash….
The sun’s fury was swift. His rays blasted the coast of Peru and left it forever dry. As the ultimate revenge he cracked three eggs on the soil.
From the golden egg emerged the lords.
From the silver egg, the ladies of the lords.
And from the copper egg, those who work.
Linh has no interest in the golden-egg or the silver-egg people, except as their ravenous behavior works to increase the suffering of the copper-egg people. Which is why it’s so refreshing to find him once again blogging at Harriet.