The Artificial White Man:
Essays on Authenticity.
Basic Civitas, 244 pages, $24
Stanley Crouchs essays on race, masculinity, authenticity, and the arts are generally sober and robust. They are also shot through with jarring colloquialisms and demotic imagery. On page one of his collection The Artificial White Man:Essays on Authenticity, we are told that some of Crouchs subjects will be spanked. Of novelists guilty of lazy or platitudinous treatment of race, he says that they are [w]alking beneath a flag of white underwear stained fully yellow by liquefied fear. Crouchs engagement of low, folk, and pop culture is heralded by titles like Baby Boy Blues, Segregated Fiction Blues, and Blues for the Artificial White Man.
That alone will raise the hackles of some readers. And...