Looks like we are not quite finished. Jon Tobias reminds me I did not post his second entry, either. Any more of you out there? Please, let me know. We will have a total of five finalists–details on their selection and prompt to follow soon. In the meantime, I would like to begin telling you the thoughts of the man behind the curtain in the land of Oz. (that would be moi ).
by Thornton Sully
My conspicuous aversion to commenting on the entries to the Drinking Fountain has been intentional. Firstly, I did not want my own personality to dominate or even intrude on the interplay among participants. (This required remarkable self-constraint, by the way). Secondly, I am a straight, privileged white male, meaning I never had to wrestle with my sexual identity, never had my race or gender as an impediment to life, liberty, or getting a job or getting laid, never had to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous bigotry. Among my privileges was passivity without consequence. Among my rights was indifference without castigation. Comments, I reasoned, should therefore be reserved for those on the front lines, whose credibility based on their experiences exceeds my own.
I intended that this contest be a lectern for the bludgeoned, those who day in and day out navigate our treacherous, racist landscape, and could tell us something about what that was/is like. Of equal importance, I wanted this contest to be a forum for those who, like myself, ate their way out of the cocoon of their youth to discover in flight the racism in metastatic bloom from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream Waters, and to tell us about that awakening.
All this, in the service of healing, understanding, and catharsis.
The next installment of this editorial will be my thoughts about how we did.