The book I’ve been reading to start the New Year opens in this way:
“The genius of apartheid was convincing people who were the overwhelming majority to turn on each other. Apart hate, is what it was. You separate people into groups and make them hate one another so you can run them all.”
Today’s first line comes from comedian and The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, whose autobiography, Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood, begins with this observation.
I was drawn to Noah’s book for its opening line, as it seems a timely reflection of what’s happening here in the United States. Ever since a certain orange-faced fascist was “elected” by a minority of the people, Americans have been turning on one another, committing hate crimes and expressing themselves with violence. Sadly, even the majority of us (who did not vote for the Cheeto in question) have been turning against one another for petty reasons, arguing over whether or not safety pins or safe spaces are appropriate reactions, trying to place blame on certain groups for the Cheeto’s “victory,” and generally playing right into this Russian puppet’s tiny little palms.
If it appears that I’ve been posting a lot of explicitly political books for my First Lines Friday series, you’d be correct. We are living in a time of great upheaval, and literature can be both a balm and an encouragement to continue to rise up, resist, and reclaim that power from those who seek to oppress us. So, yes, I will continue to post books that address bigger issues, and hope that you’ll continue to join me on my quest to read 52 books this year.
More First Lines
Here are the books previously mentioned in the First Lines Friday series:
What’s YOUR favorite first line?
Leave a comment below and your favorite first line could be featured in an upcoming Friday post!