By Michael Szalay
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Additional resources for Hip figures : a literary history of the Democratic Party
At the start of the sixties, the popularity of the Catholic, Irish American Kennedy signaled a new relation between minorities and the administrative apparatus of industry and state. Jews in particular were to prove densely emblematic to a new elite eager to stress its difference from WASP America, not least because Jews, neither black nor white, seemed crucial to mediating symbolically between black and white on behalf of industry and the state. This mediation displaced in complex fashion what is, for Ehrenreich, the PMC’s mediation between capital and labor.
But work it does. A New Class of Hipsters Bernard Wolfe noted something like Ricoeur’s hypothetical double structure at work in black jazz musicians who played for white audiences. In essays later important to Frantz Fanon, Wolfe described how these musicians performed expected stereotypical roles—which we might call “literal” roles, not because they represented what was intrinsic to the performers but because they represented the racist meanings that white listeners ascribed to black performers.
The South was solid for the simple reason that the prospect of African American independence united otherwise diverse interests and constituencies. The agricultural policies of the New Deal and the rapid emergence of a war economy had unsettled long-established social relations. To be sure, workingclass whites and blacks, increasingly freed from the debt peonage structures of tenant farming, possessed new affinities. 4 Key thought that, ultimately, the Democratic Party would profit from this fact.