Literature: Mumbo Jumbo
Mumbo Jumbo is a 1972 satirical novel by Ishmael Reed.1920s America has been beset by a mysterious virus known as "Jes Grew", causing anyone who catches it to become obsessed with jazz, dancing, and voodoo. On one hand "The Wallflower Order," an international conspiracy dedicated to monotheism and control, is working to wipe out the virus and re-establish Eurocentrism.
This book contains examples of the following tropes:
- Alternate History
- Ancient Conspiracy
- Angry Black Man: Abdul Sufi, an expy of Black Muslims such as Malcom X later, Woodrow Wilson’s dad.
- Based on a Great Big Lie: Reed’s view of history
- Beard of Evil: Hierphant 1
- Beethoven Was an Alien Spy
- Big Applesauce
- The Big Easy
- Bittersweet Ending: With the destruction of Jes Grew’s text there’s no sign it will ever return, but Von Vinkle and the others are brought to justice at Haiti
- Cool Old Guy: Papa LaBas
- Foreign Queasine: Von Vinkle dines on weeds collected from the grave of a dead infant
- Germanic Efficiency
- Hollywood Voodoo: Averted
- La Résistance: The Mu’tafikah
- Magical Realism
- Mystical Plague: The mysterious Jes Grew
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Being an allegorical novel, several of the characters are based on real people. Often with little to no subterfuge.
- Abdul Sufi is based on the Black Islamic militant preacher Sufi Abdul Hamid.
- The character Black Herman is based on the real life magician and root doctor, Benjamin "Black Herman" Rucker.
- Occult Detective: Papa La Bas
- The Roaring Twenties
- Scrapbook Story
- Shout-Out: Jes Grew is an allusion to Topsy, a slave character from Uncle Tom's Cabin – like her Jes Grew just grew, appearing out of nowhere
- Steam Punk: Some elements
- Token White: Thor