Toni Morrison on Divorce, Viagra and Reality Television

Toni Morrison bucks accepted wisdom when it comes to calling divorce an irreparable tragedy and likens reality television to a previous public's fascination with lynching black people. 

What's the Latest Development?


At 81, Toni Morrison, born Chloe Wofford, has experienced much of what life has to offer: the beauty, the falls, the endless getting back up. Her experiences, and her commitment to communicating them faithfully, lead her to buck trends in popular culture, such as the idea of finding "closure" after the death of a loved one. Once her son died of pancreatic cancer, she considered such well-wishes more akin to insults. She also rejects the notion that divorce is an irreparable tragedy in life. "It’s a big thing, I guess, but it’s not that big," she says. Morrison believes the things we normally consider to be failures are better thought of as useful information.

What's the Big Idea?

Morrison is deeply disappointed in what she sees as the erosion of a nurturing American culture. Interviewed by the English newspaper the Daily Telegraph, she admits to watching only BBC America for news and current events. "At least they can tell you what’s going on outside of the United States," she says, and that there are no advertisements for drugs. She even compares reality television to the lynchings of black men. "The pop stuffit’sit’s so low. People used to stand around and watch lynchings. And clap and laugh and have picnics. And they used to watch hangings. We don’t do that anymore. But we do watch these other car crashes. Crashes. Like those Housewives."

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

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