Did you see that Zora Neale Hurston was the logo image on Google earlier this week?
I love Zora Neale Hurston. I found Their Eyes Were Watching God in the used bookstore in a nearby college town as a teenager and continued reading Hurston’s short stories through college, feeling as I read as though my life as a writer and human being was quickening.
But how staid Zora looks in Google’s rendering. How unlike the spark of Zora I’ve come to know in her prose and photographs. In images, Zora is open-mouthed, laughing. She wears furred collars, beads, embellished sweaters. Chic, chic hats.
All of this — this energy — must have been so key to the charisma that allowed her to walk into people’s lives and collect their stories. So key to the balance between she struck between anthropologist-folklorist and Harlemite.
Again and again in the accounts of her contemporaries and biographers, she is described as bold, dazzling.
But in Google’s Doodle she looks subdued and matronly, nearly dour in her serious smile. This boundary-defying artist captured in the cages of three ornate borders. How did Google so completely miss her spark?