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When James Baldwin wrote about the Atlanta child murders (newyorker.com)
74 points by prismatic on May 14, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

I didn't know JB wrote a book about this! His prose is def in my top 5. Groundbreaking for the time. This article mentions him as a "big name" but I'd argue he should have been more famous

Here's the review of the book from 1985:


Baldwin was really a fascinating person. He traveled quite a bit around Europe, too, and wrote some of his most known work in Istanbul, which I always found an interesting juxtaposition to the way he is usually portrayed. I agree with his thought that’s it’s easier to view America from the outside. IIRC Fitzgerald wrote most of Gatsby while in France, which seems to confirm the idea. It’s a shame Baldwin isn’t more well-known.


It has also been my experience that it’s easier to view America from the outside. Though I find this excruciatingly painful to convey to folks that I know who have never lived any where else.

I've found this holds true for me as well. My entire view of America shift after I spent only a semester abroad in Ireland, and it was all from being able to sit back and view it from a distance.

I've also found that this holds true for smaller levels as well. My hometown is fairly rural and in a high poverty county, yet people don't want any better. Since I moved out, I realized that's because it's all they've ever known; they don't really realize there is a difference than living there, doing the same things as adults they did as high schoolers, etc. It's just a vicious cycle, as that mindset gets passed on to their kids as well, and fosters quite a bit of anti-intellectualism in the mix (which I see as a teacher there now, though I don't live there).

Thanks. This explains a lot:

"The city became his on-and-off home throughout much of the 1960s." "Life was safer and easier: unlike in the US, he didn’t have to worry about being harassed by the police or being refused service at restaurants. “"

Same case featured in season 2 of Mindhunters on Netflix.

I was incredibly disappointed they didn't film in Atlanta. Though most of the season takes place in the Atlanta metro, it's very obviously filmed elsewhere. None of the filming locations actually resemble Atlanta. As an Atlanta resident, I found it uncanny and jarring.

It's doubly strange considering Atlanta has generous film subsidies and tax breaks, making it one of the nation's top filming locations. They might have saved money shooting here. Stranger Things and a host of other Netflix shows are based here.

I don't normally nitpick about something like this, but it frequently took me out of the story.

Several people who worked on the show are on the Pennsylvania Film Industry Association Board, and it was filmed in and around Pittsburgh. Maybe that had something to do with it.

That said I believe I read an article suggesting that Netflix plans to not film in Atlanta because of a variety of conservative laws passed in the state of Georgia. That was post the 2018 filming of Mindhunter season 2, but it may affect future shows and films.

All the production companies threatened to leave, which we all thought was paradoxical. Why pull blue votes out of a nearly purple state? Don't concentrate the blue.

Georgia courts overthrew the heartbeat bill, as was predicted. The executive branch is shopping around for a district to pass an abortion law, fight it in court, then elevate it to the supreme court. That should terrify everyone. They think they can win at the highest court.

Before covid-19, there were over 30 big ongoing productions. Netflix, Disney, HBO, and Amazon all have major shows filming here:


> That should terrify everyone

No, some of us on HN are adamantly against abortion. I'm far left on almost every issue except that one.

I don't share your opinion, but thanks for listing it (please do so wherever you can). The left need to remember people like you exist.

People often express that left should remember right, be nice and understanding to them. The opposite expectation is rarely stated.

It is kind of interesting.

Mindhunter not Mindhunters fyi

White Water not White Waters btw

For anyone interested in learning more about Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro is a documentary about him that was nominated for an oscar back in 2017.

One of my favourite quotes from The Evidence of Things Not Seen:

"The dream of safety can reach culmination or climax only in the nightmare orgasm of genocide."

There's a preamble to it, but it's an incredibly powerful idea to me. We live in a radically unsafe universe and our death is inevitable. Safety is a delusion.

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