Emmett Till: Repetition As Liturgy
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From a New York Times theater review:

‘Carolyn Bryant’ Review: Reliving a Lie That Never Goes Away

This stylized, two-character play finds the woman whose false accusation led to the lynching of Emmett Till bound to him, and to racist myths, forever.

By Laura Collins-Hughes
Oct. 13, 2020

The Carolyn Bryant Project NYT Critic’s Pick

It’s a question loaded with pain, but Emmett speaks it quietly, like a person so soul-weary that he’s partially numb.

“Do you know how many come after me?” he asks.

Emmett is Emmett Till, the Black boy barbarically murdered by a pair of white Southern thugs the summer he was 14, down from Chicago to visit family in small-town Mississippi.

“Do you know how many come after me?” he asks again.

In Nataki Garrett and Andrea LeBlanc’s wound-lancing theater piece “The Carolyn Bryant Project,” repetition is a means of outlining an ugly pattern — unfounded white aggression, needless Black death, the public tarnishing of the victim.

Repetition is an important element of the liturgical urge.

Now, to me, it seems funny that many people don’t get the joke about the endless repetitions of the 65-year-old Emmett Till Story in the New York Times (ET has been mentioned six times so far in October in the NYT). But to a lot of people, the infinite redundancy isn’t funny, it’s sacred. Would the Good People have wasted all that time recounting over and over and over an increasingly ancient and irrelevant story if it weren’t of crucial importance to helping us understand America in 2020? Of course not.

[Comment at Unz.com]
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