America is a place where black people are chased and gunned down, and it is a place where black people dance and sing to distract—themselves, maybe, but also the country at large—from that carnage. America is a room in which violence and celebration happen together, and the question of which one draws the eye is one of framing, and of what the viewer wants to see.

…on the rooftops of the apartment buildings, there were fields of satellite dishes gazing up to the sky like sunflowers. It didn’t make sense. Inside their homes people were watching cnn, bbc, hbo, and mtv, while out on the street they were supposed to be wary of stooges.

Rock the Junta, from Mother Jones July 2006, by Scott Carrier