Tag Archives: afrofuturism
For Vibe the unusual and compelling fact about John Lee is that he gained entry and attained high status in the predominantly white world of hackers. For Slatella and Quittner, for Wired, and perhaps even for Lee’s friends in MOD, the compelling fact about John Lee is that he is black, and not just black but a particular kind of black which vicariously confers status, hipness and the aura of street danger on an essentially middle-to-upper-class white past-time—hacking.
The best postmodern explorations are well grounded in theory and in history, even as they attempt to demonstrate the inevitable failure of the metanarrative and to replace it with a succession of reflective surfaces and simulacrae. But Nakamura’s Cybertypes regards theory and method as a set of interchangeable parts that can be put to her purpose without regard to the original context in which they evolved—a strategy that can fairly be regarded as the theoretical equivalent to the “identity tourism” that Nakamura critiques.
The god Ifa writes the texts, and the god Esu translates them, and it is exactly this translator-god who has metamorphosed into the Trickster figure of contemporary African-American culture. That the Trickster inhabits the Net is undeniable—he is, in fact, the essence of the Net. Gates’ Trickster/Signifying Monkey (and it’s no accident that African-Americans were using “signify” as a verb long before the postmodernists picked it up) embodies various black rhetorical tropes, including “marking, loud-talking, testifying, calling out (of one’s name), sounding, rapping, playing the dozens, and so on.”