Lind­sey Hilsum

The New York Review of Books - - Contents - edited by Madawi Al-Rasheed by Manal al-Sharif

Sal­man’s Legacy: The Dilem­mas of a New Era in Saudi Ara­bia

Dar­ing to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awak­en­ing

it isn’t from the racists, the big­ots. It’s from the black com­mu­nity. It’s from your old al­lies. It’s from peo­ple who have spent the last sixty years de­fend­ing you. Your face ap­pears in what out­siders must think is a gri­mace. But it’s a smile that comes from some­where deep and an­cient, and you say, “This is glory.” Again. You mat­ter. If this is a rough ap­prox­i­ma­tion of where Brown’s mind is, he’s de­luded, and if it’s Zirin’s ven­tril­o­quism act, it rings false. It’s as if Zirin’s prose popped a Vi­a­gra and ran into the wall. Brown’s great­ness as an ath­lete and ac­tivist will mat­ter in the vic­tory hall of pos­ter­ity, but not here, not now—not in this night­mare bur­lesque melo­drama we’re all trapped in. Michael Cohen mat­ters. Paul Manafort mat­ters. Robert Mueller pre­em­i­nently mat­ters. Jim Brown is a mi­nor sideshow, an in­ci­den­tal noise-gen­er­a­tor, in this high­stakes cha­rade. To truly mat­ter in the ex­is­ten­tial present, he’d need to re­pu­di­ate Don­ald Trump and own up on the women he’s hurt, and no one’s wait­ing around for that fairy tale to hap­pen. But with Trump re­new­ing his cas­ti­ga­tion of kneel­ing NFL play­ers even as I type, imag­ine the im­pact if Brown told him to back off and let these grown men ex­er­cise their free­dom of ex­pres­sion. A state­ment of sol­i­dar­ity from Jim Brown would defy Trump’s rhino charge and earn Brown back some of the re­spect he’s lost in the last year. It wouldn’t make up for ev­ery­thing, but par­tial re­demp­tion is bet­ter than none.

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