A Death Notice

JIMMY JACKSON, #316558 (Black), 65, was serving a five year sentence for cocaine distribution in Lincoln Parish. Jackson was terminally ill when he arrived at Angola in early March, just two weeks prior to his death. Because of his medical condition, which did not allow for a “knowing and intelligent decision,” he was unable to enter the hospice program as required by policy, but was attended to just the same by volunteer caregivers and medical staff. Jimmy Jackson died at the R.E. Barrow Treatment Center on March 23, 2007. Burial arrangements were made by his family members.” —The Angolite 32:2 (March/April 2007): 11.

Two weeks from death and still sent up; so ill that he was not coherent enough to discover and apply to the hospice program. Ce n’est pas bon.

I am particularly irritated at this issue of the Angolite (yes, it is from last year, but they are behind on their publication schedule), formerly an excellent publication and still containing good journalism but now also a propaganda organ for Burl Cain, because an article on Christian spring breakers who spent time there implies that the reform of the situation there was effected through religion (and the current warden) and not the strike, the tendon-cutting, and the consent decree.

I note for instance, how terribly smug, superior, judgmental and in sum, not at all Christlike the students appear to be – or to have been upon arrival at Angola.  For instance, they say they expected the prisoners to be “tough guys in need of ministry,” and to be able to deliver that in a week.

Axé, Jimmy.


12 thoughts on “A Death Notice

  1. -I want to clarify that I think Christians should be criticized when they deserve criticism. (My opposition is to assuming that all Christians are worthy of criticism before judging their individual cases.) It sounds like these Xians need criticism.

    -Although it is not the responsibility of the prisoners to teach them, let us hope that the students learned something, or at least that some of them did?

    -Did you see in the NYT today that 1% of adults living in the U.S. today are incarcerated? In the article, it was mentioned that incarceration in LA is especially cheap, costing only $13k annually per inmate. How can this stuff be printed with a straight face?

  2. What does some small amount of time suffering here on Earth compare with the rewards of Heaven? It’s all about getting things into perspective. So what if life is hard, and sometimes abusive, and things just don’t run as smoothly as they should? Life is temporal; heaven is eternal. Whatever happens, happens as it should have.

    Or, to speak once more in terms of that play within TBI, Nature is a woman who gives birth naturally, and so we cannot understand it. Once can at best facilitate the giving of birth to whatsoever requires it by remaining passive and allowing Nature to take its course. God’s will is thus done.

  3. S – I didn’t see the NYT article, but yes. It would be cheaper to send the prisoners to college. And the statistic for Black men incarcerated is something like 1 in 10 (or maybe that is incarcerated now plus ex-convicts).

    Christians, I know. I’ve got no problem criticizing them because there are also plenty of them that I don’t. Those really good Sunday schools, where they do serious Bible study, create better literature students than the high schools do sometimes.

    However today I am irritated at the sillier style of Christian because in one of my classes they rejected Romanticism on the grounds that the poets are too “sick” – they need Jesus and therapy so they will not have such extreme visions. Also, it is unfair to call the sufferings of Job sufferings, because he was rewarded in the end. The poet who made this reference is spiritually stunted.

    J – yes, passive and judgmental at the same time, this is the problem I have with some of that crowd. And faux “humility.”

  4. I just went through The Black Insider again.

    I didn’t really get the reference before, but the paratroops falling on the bomb demolished “Arts Faculty” — the face blackened insects — are actually Christians. And they are demolishing civilisation through demolishing the house of the intellect. The outcome of this demolishment emphasises the protagonist’s Jezebel-like (in terms of an earlier reference in the book) palm of the hand [– the Bible said that only the palms of her hands remained intact, the rest of her (presumably of a different skin colour) was eaten by dogs. ] This is a reference to the racialistic aspects of the Bible’s teachings. Helen of Troy’s face — the face that launched a thousand ships — is also demolished. Does that mean the end of civilisation or the end of war?

    And then, I realise that this book was written in 1978, but somehow (shamanist premonition?) the military destruction of the Arts Faculty, in order to get rid of Mugabe’s supporters, really resonates with the never used backup plan of the colonial powers to restore their own power, called “Operation Quartz“. It is dated 1980.

  5. Very interesting. This Marechera is smart. And my comment on the effects of “Christianity” on the intellect for today is that they put perfectly intelligent minds through such strange contortions to get them fitting into just the right straitjacket. It is *so much* like Reeducation … which should not surprise me, of course, but it does still startle me.

  6. Is there a “natural” mind, though? I would agree that Christianity is contorted, but I don’t think it is more contorted than other options for human interface with an unfathomable universe.

  7. Servetus: You have been neglecting your Nietzsche — who is the prophet for modern mankind today, and whom I’ve been reading through and through and is my hero…nay, deity.

  8. I confess that despite several reads of the most important texts, and two seminars in grad school, I find basic aspects of Nietzsche not especially convincing.

    I just read an article about attempts by felons to regain voting rights unfairly denied to them. The schemer in me is wondering whether there is some way to turn the fact that more than 10% of the adult male black population are in prison into a sort of voting rights discrimination suit.

  9. Voting rights discrimination suit – I think there *are* grounds for that. There’s a lot of commentary on this as a conscious plan to disenfranchise voters … actually, I wonder why such a suit has not been filed yet … ?

    Contortions and Christianity, well I find that the fundamentalists are particularly contorted, as are the Al-Anon denizens and … maybe a few others … I would say the S/M is liberation crowd, and also the we-do-not-need feminism crowd. Watching people try so hard to fit themselves into small boxes, as it were cutting off their toes to fit their feet into glass slippers, is something I have seen especially in these groups.

  10. I confess that despite several reads of the most important texts, and two seminars in grad school, I find basic aspects of Nietzsche not especially convincing.

    You must have discovered he is not a deity then. In which case, perhaps neither was Hegel? Having made such advances in discovery, we may need to expect that others around us also have?

  11. Well, he’s not my deity…but that doesn’t need to mean anything for you, living as you do outside of the panopticon (friendly grin)

  12. I don’t live entirely outside of it — but like my other hero and deity-figure, Marechera, I have learned that social conformity does not serve my interests. Had I not been labelled a pariah, I may never have learned so much.

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