Daily corona round-up

Calling James Baldwin

I want to talk about James Baldwin, and not because it’s Black History Month, though it is indeed that. I want to talk about Baldwin because he was part of the canon I studied when I began writing seriously: the power of his language, the directness, the exactness. Baldwin taught me what it meant to cut open a vein and let the words bleed onto the page, which where all the best writing comes from.

I caught a snippet of Baldwin on film in Paris today — I will drop it here if I can find it — and I have been thinking about it ever since.

Thirty years later, I’m still absorbing new truths in his words.

Take a moment, please, and read this 1968 Esquire interview to understand what I mean.

I don’t want to talk about the news. And I practically shrieked when I saw the numbers today, but it’s not as bad as all that.

The numbers

  • The state reports 12,079 new cases today, which is absolutely outrageous. But wait! A note explains that 7,912 of them were December 2020 and January 2021 totals from FastMed Urgent Care, which delayed reporting. So really, it was just 4,167 today, which is still a lot more than yesterday. 776,307 total, 9,578 deaths (+169, largest one-day total yet).
    • 14.0 positive test rate, skewed no doubt by those lazy bastards at FastMed.
  • It’s hard for me to understand why things are so bad in Guilford County, where I live: 661 new cases today, a lot, 34,408 total.Fifteen new deaths for 406.
  • Forsyth added 500 today, also regrettable, for 28,501. 283 deaths (+2).

A diversion

Here’s Baldwin in 1965 debating William F. Buckley at Cambridge University: “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” Worth your time.

Program notes

  • How about a van Gogh? Here’s “First Steps, after Millet,” which he painted 21 times while at the asylum. He used a photo from his brother as a reference for this one. Thanks to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s public-domain collection.
  • If you’d like to help Triad City Beat, please consider becoming a supporter. You could also give us a like on Facebook and share our stories on Twitter.

Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.

We believe that reporting can save the world.

The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.

All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.

🗲 Join The Society 🗲