3.01.2005

James Brown weighs in on the Lawrence Summers controversy

How often have we taken pride in our "newfangled" controversies, only to find that, once again, all academia is a footnote to James Brown? Pretty damn often, in my opinion. This Harvard kerfluffle is no exception. I'm referring, specifically, to the Godfather of Soul's landmark paper "Licking Stick -- Licking Stick (Part I)." Here he notes:

I don't profess
To be no teacher
But these are my latest outlooks
She got to get herself
Back in the mathematic books.


Indeed. When you contrast this with another image of the female

Sister out in the backyard
Doin' an outtasight dance


You can see that, once again, Brown is calling people of all genders to get on the good foot, academically speaking. Not that Brown is content to leave it at that; he closes, as he opens, with a characteristic call to action:

Mama come here quick
And bring me that licking stick.


Is it a licking stick -- or a counting stick? Is "James Brown" going to use it -- or does he want "Mama" to count for herself? Ever the provocateur, the Minister of the Super-Heavy Funk raises more questions than he answers.

1 comment:

Mr. Word Player said...

"I don't profess
To be no teacher
But these are my latest outlooks"

A few weeks ago I heard "Licking Stick" for the first time in forever, and these lyrics in particular have been looping in my head.

JB was always pushin' us to improvee, wasn't he?