From a newsletter.
(From "E.H. Gombrich: "Once Upon A Time"" by Melanie Gustafson, u. of Vermont in the Bulletin of The Center of Holocaust Studies)
The other topic I would like to mention today is directed to Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Samuel L. Jackson, Martin Lawrence, Will Smith, and virtually every major Black actor in Hollywood. I know, I'm revealing who some of my celebrity readership is, but I feel that this transcends my readers' privacy. I heard Dave Chapelle recently put forth a conspiracy theory that white Hollywood execs have been working to put every male Black actor in a cross-dressing scene to emasculate them. While I won't debate the merits of such a theory, nor the questions of heterosexism both on the part of Chapelle and on the part of white execs, I have what I believe is a more pressing matter to discuss.
Dear Black actors of Hollywood, please, for the love of Marcus Garvey and all that is Black and Beautiful, STOP PLAYING LAW ENFORCEMENT. Every single one plays law enforcement, and often that is their most common role, typecast, or otherwise. Even worse, most have played Black law enforcement or private detectives who were focused on saving WHITE CHILDREN! What the fuck is going on in Hollywood? This is a phenomenon I have noticed for a good number of years, and it hasn't peaked yet. These are stars, who I assume have something of their pick of roles, so please stop playing law enforcement.
Whatever is written in a book is right — such is still the mentality of culturally backward Chinese peasants. Strangely enough, within the Communist Party there are also people who always say in a discussion, "Show me where it's written in the book." When we say that a directive of a higher organ of leadership is correct, that is not just because it comes from "a higher organ of leadership" but because its contents conform with both the objective and subjective circumstances of the struggle and meet its requirements. It is quite wrong to take a formalistic attitude and blindly carry out directives without discussing and examining them in the light of actual conditions simply because they come from a higher organ. It is the mischief done by this formalism which explains why the line and tactics of the Party do not take deeper root among the masses. To carry out a directive of a higher organ blindly, and seemingly without any disagreement, is not really to carry it out but is the most artful way of opposing or sabotaging it.
The method of studying the social sciences exclusively from the book is likewise extremely dangerous and may even lead one onto the road of counter-revolution. Clear proof of this is provided by the fact that whole batches of Chinese Communists who confined themselves to books in their study of the social sciences have turned into counter-revolutionaries. When we say Marxism is correct, it is certainly not because Marx was a "prophet" but because his theory has been proved correct in our practice and in our struggle. We need Marxism in our struggle. In our acceptance of his theory no such formalisation of mystical notion as that of "prophecy" ever enters our minds. Many who have read Marxist books have become renegades from the revolution, whereas illiterate workers often grasp Marxism very well. Of course we should study Marxist books, but this study must be integrated with our country's actual conditions. We need books, but we must overcome book worship, which is divorced from the actual situation.
How can we overcome book worship? The only way is to investigate the actual situation.