The Artificial White Man: Essays on Authenticity by Stanley Crouch Basic Civitas, Books, October, 2004 $24., ISBN 0-465-01515-8
The mere mention of Stanley Crouch's name can raise the hairs on the back of your neck, particularly on those of race men and women. A dozen or so pages into his latest collection, Crouch sticks it to black nationalists with his charge that Dr. Frances Cress Welsing is "an intellectual buffoon of the first order." Now, if that isn't enough to infuriate true believers, the acerbic critic has more put-downs for black athletic "knot-heads" and "imbecilic" Farrakanians and Sharptonites.
Those able to endure Crouch's ideological insults will find one of the nation's finest wordsmiths at work, though reading him of Ion is like eating a tasty, scrumptious meal only to end up with heartburn and indigestion. His takes on the films of Quentin Tarantino, and on the literary legacies of Faulkner, Hemingway and Saul Bellow are masterfully wrought. Like Ralph Ellison, one of his acknowledged mentors, Crouch knows his way around file blues, and how to give verbal explanation to tonal expressions.
One of the most...