July 18, 2007

Am I black enough for you?

Tomorrow, I'll be a guest on News & Notes (aka, the NPR show that black folks listen to) discussing "the marketing of faith" alongside two other panelists. It's live at 1:00 in the afternoon here in New York, and will be online after that.

To my surprise, my publisher was not thrilled about this. They're worried about me giving away the milk before anyone can buy the cow. They want the topic to feel fresh when the book comes out. So this will probably be my last media appearance until next Spring. After tomorrow, nobody mention Jesus. Thank you.

Update. Listen to the show here. I enjoyed doing it, partly because I got to talk about an aspect of the Christian culture industry that I address only briefly in the book: its overwhelming whiteness. Given the vitality of the black church in America, and the starring role that black artists and entertainers play in mainstream pop culture, it's interesting that Christian pop culture is so pale.

On the other hand, it was hard to develop this theme much, or any other, because the three panelists were all coming from completely different worlds with completely different areas of knowledge. It was hard to get a conversation going, though host Farai Chideya tried heroically.

The best part of the segment came when I had to inform Chideya that she gave the wrong title for my book. At the start, she announced it as Rapture Ready! Adventures in the Strange Pop Culture of the Religious Right, which was a working title that didn't work, and that I really don't want out there (the book is not about the religious right, at least not exclusively). I let it slide, but then she started to say it again. As a result, she asked me to say the actual subtitle twice — Adventures in the Parallel Universe of Christian Pop Culture — which means that I got the name of my book on the air two times more than I would have otherwise. Now let's hope the people who excitedly jotted it down keep that napkin in their pockets for the next eight months.

Chideya jokingly blamed by publisher for getting them the old title, but as you know, my publisher had nothing to do with it. So where did they get it from? A little Googling tells me it was probably... Wikipedia!. The most trusted name in news!

Posted by Daniel Radosh


I'll be sure to tune into the online broadcast.

Hey, if you're really interested in reaching African-American audiences, let me know -- I'll be glad to help you produce a short segment for BET's "Hot Ghetto Mess."

If Michael Richards can be Jewish, you can be black, as long as you 'think of' yourself as black. In fact, I'll give you five dollars if you'll make exactly that point on the program.

I won't do it for less than ten.

Oh, damn. I guess I'm still Jewish...

Carla Goldstein was very boring. I skipped her parts. She's a nutter.

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