I’m talking about this image in Haiti that feels like one of these entities that is associated with satire, named Ghede, sometimes Gede, who’s — in my Yoruba studies I’ve found, was derived from a character named Iku in Nigerian mythology, Iku becomes Gede in Haiti.1 Now, because the Haitians in Miami, you’ve got this figure there, and now in Brooklyn, I understand that they have a Gede, but he’s sort of like associated with satire and he’s the one who shows institutions and individuals they’re devil. And when people become possessed by Gede, they can go up and insult the President.
This is like a safety valve. And that’s what I tried to do with Reckless Eyeballing and so many other books, is that you take the most extreme position like in the case of the feminist movement, that Emmett Till, for whistling at this woman, is just as guilty as the people who murdered him. And I felt like — I just took that and made it part of the storyline where these people dig up the skeleton of this character in trying to get — also this idea of Reckless Eyeballing, which is sort of like a bizarre — and one of these racist fantasies, where this guy named Ingram was — there was a sharecropper looking at this white woman at a 70 feet distance.2 He got charged for reckless eyeballing and got put in jail, and tried and destroyed. His livelihood was destroyed.
So, you take the absurdities of the — if you live in a racist society, you’re going to have absurdities in its extremes, and so I try to work with some of that in my work. I mean the idea that — I mean here we are — they’re saying all woman are victims, and so I put up Eva Braun as a martyr, and how — as a matter of fact, there was a feminist movement in Nazi, Germany. And there were Jewish women who aligned themselves with it. But when the government went right wing, the Aryan feminists dropped them, and they went to the camps with the men. So, I look at history for that source. So, I mean in the new novel, I question what western civilization is since some of the thinkers of the Catholic Church were inspired by Muslim leaders. I mean without the Muslims they wouldn’t have Aristotle, the Muslims who rescued these books, that were considered pagan by Christians. So, I mean I’ve tried to show that even this idea of western civilization is a fraud.