Ta-Nehisi Coates Rules, The Thread

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On Bacevich and Bill Withers:

http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/11/ok_now_im_totally_reaching.php

TOMBOT, Thursday, 27 November 2008 07:04 (eleven years ago) link

I mean if you go on his blog right now and just keep reading you don't really run into anything that sucks. I fuckin' love this guy.

TOMBOT, Thursday, 27 November 2008 07:09 (eleven years ago) link

otm great dude & ive noticed that he tends to really know what hes talking about when hes posting assertive and be pretty modest when he's on uncertain terrain vs. cocky overconfidence of say a andrew sullivan

deej, Thursday, 27 November 2008 08:28 (eleven years ago) link

yeah he's definitely not from britain

TOMBOT, Thursday, 27 November 2008 08:33 (eleven years ago) link

His great article about playing WoW at 30.
http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1577502,00.html

Mordy, Thursday, 27 November 2008 08:38 (eleven years ago) link

Adding to all that, and a lot of his commenters are sharp folks as well (and yeah I've commented there but I wasn't meaning me, dammit).

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 27 November 2008 13:35 (eleven years ago) link

dig this guy

BIG HOOS is those british white steens (BIG HOOS aka the steendriver), Thursday, 27 November 2008 14:21 (eleven years ago) link

http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2008/12/barack_obama_crush_puny_malik_shabazz.php

If you are writing columns on the president-elect of the greatest power in world history, who happens to be black and you can't even bother to crack his memoir, than you are more than Leeroy Jenkins. You do not simply fail in epic manner, but more like Palin, Couric and "all of them," like M.C. Hammer hounded by creditors. You are Plaxico at the bar, shooting yourself with your own gun. And in so doing, you ascend to the 37th chamber--the chamber of intergalactic fail. All bow before the master.

complete and absolute five-point stuck-landing DORK KLANG on all levels

TOMBOT, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 07:34 (eleven years ago) link

I think tom has a cruuuuush

:) Mrs Edward Cullen XD (max), Tuesday, 2 December 2008 13:01 (eleven years ago) link

Btw coates is great--he used to do a lot of stuff for the voice and I remember keeping an eye out for his name

:) Mrs Edward Cullen XD (max), Tuesday, 2 December 2008 13:02 (eleven years ago) link

ive seen an older article chronicling crouch-related lols by him as well.

deej, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 13:13 (eleven years ago) link

major loss of points for making me read mcardle today, jesus christ how in the world does she still rate a job writing about anything

El Tomboto, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 21:56 (eleven years ago) link

yeah i love this dude even if he is a cowboys fan.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 2 December 2008 22:09 (eleven years ago) link

three years pass...

http://i.imgur.com/OVBos.png

lol dude get over yrself

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 18:58 (seven years ago) link

Needs more context, I presume.

Aimless, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:07 (seven years ago) link

lol you

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:08 (seven years ago) link

Enh, dude's just giving himself a spacer before dumping on the dead.

Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:08 (seven years ago) link

well if you read him, and i am a fan, he just will not stop w/these calls for thoughtfulness which is really something thats better demonstrated than talked about

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:10 (seven years ago) link

i mean if you want to take some time to think abt something theres absolutely no need to tweet abt it, except that maybe you think youre making some sort of statement

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:12 (seven years ago) link

He's calling for circumspection which is fine, especially in light of the character of the defunct

I mean, it's not like he's _not_ going to unload on the stiff at some point.

Presumably.

Spleen of Hearts (kingfish), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:14 (seven years ago) link

if you want to call for circumspection that one thing, a fairly substance free presumptuous thing, but what he was doing is passing off his judgment of the situation as some sort of personal journey, im just gonna go think man, here is me tweeting abt thinking deeply

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:15 (seven years ago) link

I read this guy and sometimes he has good things to say, but ice cr?m otm

iatee, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:15 (seven years ago) link

i love ta-nehisi coates, but twitter is not for everyone

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:16 (seven years ago) link

tbf he takes this stance constantly on his blog

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:17 (seven years ago) link

which i think is v good except for this thing that is irritating and lame

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:18 (seven years ago) link

but i guess isn't the thing that TNC has a bunch of followers who are expecting him to be posting about Breitbart, so he's kind of saying 'yes i know about this but i need to think it through before i write AS SHOULD YOU btw', like, there's an element of i-am-on-top-of-this-news but also i-am-representing-well-reasoned-thought

inspector george gentlyfallingblood (c sharp major), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:19 (seven years ago) link

I think he's whistling at his readers that he knows Brietbart's dead and the reason he hasn't written anything about it yet is 'cause he hasn't gotten the smile off of his face yet.

i am representing well reasoned thought w/o actually demonstrating it is the problem

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:20 (seven years ago) link

How much was the retainer?

i mean i know he didnt actually choose the cover image or the tagline but lol dude

http://i.imgur.com/M4Qwi.jpg

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:21 (seven years ago) link

but i guess isn't the thing that TNC has a bunch of followers who are expecting him to be posting about Breitbart,

A strange expectation: yet one more liberal writing yet another scabrous obit?

Exile in lolville (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:22 (seven years ago) link

Even granting that it is a pose he likes to strike, most writers in his position, needing to churn out copy at a fantastic rate to appease his readers, fall into characteristic tropes and poses. It is part of being a pundit. Not such a big lol in the scheme of things, but, yeah, it shows a tendency to furrow his brow a bit too obviously.

Aimless, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:22 (seven years ago) link

He is pretty cool. I can cut him some slack for a clunky thing here and there. He hasn't gone full Greenwald just yet.

polyphonic, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:23 (seven years ago) link

i think his self-seriousness is inseparable from what's good about his writing when it's good.

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:24 (seven years ago) link

naw he is v capable of greater self awareness and is much better in that mode

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:25 (seven years ago) link

TNC will end up writing about the lack of ethics in modern poltical propaganda or epistemic closure or how the interwebs have empowered pit-bull journalism or something, but I doubt he will linger much over Brietbart himself all that much.

oh man, maybe it's TNC that is the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Sincerity

goole, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:29 (seven years ago) link

i think his self-seriousness is inseparable from what's good about his writing when it's good.

― horseshoe, Thursday, March 1, 2012 2:24 PM (2 minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

actually forgive me for not thinking abt this deeper, i do think whats good abt his writing is maybe p closely related to his ponderousness, he does a thing thats p endearing where you can feel him thinking, he s lets you in, which is not easy, but he tends to go off the rails w/it which is maybe not surprising considering what a delicate operation it is

also id like to say that his blog is ime much better than his long form writing but why

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:30 (seven years ago) link

eh his problem isn't that he's too sincere, paul krugman is sincere too, his problem is that he spends too much time thinking outloud and being nice

iatee, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:30 (seven years ago) link

(xp)

iatee, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:31 (seven years ago) link

he spends too much time thinking outloud

― iatee, Thursday, March 1, 2012 2:30 PM (4 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is his problem, yes. twitter is bad for him, i really think, although now i sound like a crazy person who thinks ta-nehisi coates is her friend. which lol is how i actually think of him tbh. i'm fine with him being nice.

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:32 (seven years ago) link

i don't really disagree with anything jho has said, though. i originally typed "ponderousness" instead of "self-seriousness." dude has a lot to say.

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:32 (seven years ago) link

i'm making sure i'm putting that waxpapery ring thing on the seat before i take shit in this toilet. #breitbartpocalypse #thoughtfulguy

that's totally unacceptable denim (Hunt3r), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:32 (seven years ago) link

and he says it slowly. i always am jealous of people who can write like that; i do the opposite.

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:33 (seven years ago) link

I am glad I only sporadically read his stuff as I've never come across anything exhibiting the problems/issues you guys are describing (which I half suspect are a pattern that emerges via exposure).

Vaseline MEN AMAZING JOURNEY (DJP), Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:33 (seven years ago) link

'i think' the thinking out loud part is just the clumsy failed aspect of what he does well when he does it well which then leads to people thinking hes their friend which is a p good trick

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:34 (seven years ago) link

to be clear i really like him which is whats lead me to develop this critique of him

lag∞n, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:35 (seven years ago) link

instead of tweeting ta-nehisi should just call me up and vent. we are on a first name basis like that.

horseshoe, Thursday, 1 March 2012 19:35 (seven years ago) link

it is an interesting discussion, though i did reach a tl;dr point fairly early in. the implication i get most from coates is that he belongs to a media founded notionally on the basis of "civil discourse", and he's wondering what the limits are on this. having concluded (and i concur) that the republican party is essentially a party of violent white supremacy, what are the limits and the possibilities of discourse?

for instance, white liberals fall all over themselves to praise "the case for reparations". none of them, that i can see, advocate for reparations themselves. i think that's a fairly significant limit to discourse.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 14:20 (one year ago) link

That's really well phrased

Frederik B, Saturday, 5 May 2018 14:27 (one year ago) link

I am confused about the reparation thing. I know of white people who voluntarily give money directly to black non-profits, people, patreons specifically for reparations. Or maybe I am misreading the above.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 15:02 (one year ago) link

hmmm. is being a white patron of black institutions, regardless of the patron's intent, "reparations"? or is it something else?

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 15:21 (one year ago) link

You should follow kinfolk kollective on fb or patreon. They put out a specific call for reparations a lot and white people definitely pay directly.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 15:26 (one year ago) link

I think the concept embodied in the word "reparations" strongly implies it is an act sanctioned by society and backed by the force of law. I'm all for it. The big questions would still be the most basic ones: how to distribute it correctly and what form should it take? Individual charitable donations to institutions in the black community may be a great thing, but don't qualify as reparations to my mind.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 5 May 2018 16:02 (one year ago) link

the essential element to me is reparations is that it needs to be restorative, not just on an individual level, but on a societal level. i think how it's done is definitely important as well, because if it's done wrong it has the potential to further entrench systemic inequities.

i do think there are some local trials of the concept going on now, right? i think that's good. i don't want to sound like a technocrat pragmatist but i do think measurable outcomes are kind of essential.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 16:18 (one year ago) link

I did misread your first post? I couldn't tell if you were saying white people who advocated for reparations on a systemic, organized level didn't themselves individually want to contribute towards reparations? I see now you were differentiating between praising and outright advocating for it.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 16:24 (one year ago) link

And when I talk about reparations, I am discussing cash and land ownership, this seems to be the aim of most advocates.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 16:26 (one year ago) link

i think we have to be really careful when talking about land redistribution. i guess we can see what happens in south africa, but it did _not_ work out in zimbabwe.

what i'm wondering is - since americans live in a country that has adopted a plethora of effectively racist policies that lack explicit reference to race, can america adopt anti-racist policies such as "reparation" using the same fig leaf? should we? i think there's a good possible argument to be made.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 17:01 (one year ago) link

We already did reparations without specific reference to race. It was called the New Deal.

Embalming is a flirty business (DJP), Saturday, 5 May 2018 17:22 (one year ago) link

Except for the parts of the New Deal that specifically excluded African-Americans at the behest of southern democrats.

I think most people who favor reparations know that they would be a much easier political sale to close if they are enclosed in an envelope of broader help-the-poor programs. But the social and economic damage done to African-Americans has been very targeted at them as a group, so 'making them whole' is a well-founded legal concept.

It's somewhat paradoxical that the very fact that the injustices done to them were so prolonged, so widespread and so clearly socially-sanctioned is also what makes it so difficult to address politically now. First, the debt is too enormous to repay properly, and second, structural racism is so embedded in society that it is viewed as simply "how it is", like capitalism or automobile dependence.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 5 May 2018 18:11 (one year ago) link

I think your first sentence is specifically what DJP is referring to.

sciatica, Saturday, 5 May 2018 18:22 (one year ago) link

Sorry. It always confuses me when people say the exact opposite of what they hope to convey.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 5 May 2018 18:32 (one year ago) link

Rush, the US government wouldn't have to "redistribute" land. They could buy land and buy or build houses for Black Americans. The US government could help build the wealth of Black Americans and invest in Black communities.

The way a couple posters are using "pragmatism" is driving me crazy. iirc, technocracy is a meritocratic idea that people with technological and scientific expertise should have power and make decisions. In philosophy, pragmatism is an idea that m/l says people make meaning together, that knowledge and truth aren't accessible outside of this activity of people trying to accomplish their goals. It's an anti-technocratic idea and it's not a synonym for some kind of utilitarianism.

(In linguistics, it's the study of what people mean in a social, interpersonal context, and colloquially obviously it means something like "what's practical, functional, and workable.")

bamcquern, Saturday, 5 May 2018 18:46 (one year ago) link

sure, but in a political context, it's bismarck, no? it's the idea that what one _can_ do is more important to political decision-making than what _should_ do, that the law is whatever you can get away with.

i think i may have been unclear when i proposed "reparations" as a concept "without specific reference to race". i was proposing that they presented disingenuously, that proposals which disproportionately benefit people of color should be presented as ideas that promote the general welfare - turning the history of "color-blind" politics on its head. the expectation is not that white people are so stupid they will not know they are being lied to, but that many of them will prefer the lie and find it more palatable.

Arch Bacon (rushomancy), Saturday, 5 May 2018 19:01 (one year ago) link

People of color is different than black people. When I think of reparations in the US, I think of black people and giving them cash and land to figure out how to use as they want (through whichever all black entity to decide). Sure we can also give them 0% mortgages but really, cash and land.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 20:15 (one year ago) link

Why are indigenous people generally not referenced when talking about reparations?

Louis Jägermeister (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 5 May 2018 20:18 (one year ago) link

Especially if you're talking about giving land to people

Louis Jägermeister (jim in vancouver), Saturday, 5 May 2018 20:19 (one year ago) link

I think that would need to be a different conversation with different quantitations to get to cash and land value but sure.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 20:20 (one year ago) link

Quickly googling, at least native americans seem ahead in the reparation game, meaning they have gotten something actually material/tangible.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 20:21 (one year ago) link

The native americans often have a treaty basis upon which to sue the US government, while African-Americans have no way to sue for damages, even though they are just as tangible harms.

A is for (Aimless), Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:05 (one year ago) link

At this point, I think white men should not be allowed to hold public office for at least 40 years (that threshold I would gladly increase).

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:34 (one year ago) link

jesus christ

.b derf (darraghmac), Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:49 (one year ago) link

He is not white so he would be ok to run if he can manage to get himself resurrected.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:53 (one year ago) link

my zombie president is a jewish carpenter

The Desus & Mero Chain (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:56 (one year ago) link

Next netflix Making a Murderer/American Vandal parody.

Yerac, Saturday, 5 May 2018 21:58 (one year ago) link

It's posted on the Kanye West thread, but it deserves to be here as well: https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/05/im-not-black-im-kanye/559763/

The personal stuff makes me a bit queasy, but hope that he's okay.

Frederik B, Monday, 7 May 2018 13:47 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

leaving the atlantic

mookieproof, Friday, 20 July 2018 19:46 (one year ago) link

good for him

21st savagery fox (m bison), Friday, 20 July 2018 19:56 (one year ago) link

seven months pass...

Thanks for that!

Andrew Farrell, Monday, 18 March 2019 07:57 (eight months ago) link

what a read

recriminations from the nitpicking woke (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 18 March 2019 19:18 (eight months ago) link

eight months pass...

https://www.bookforum.com/print/2604/inhuman-bondage-23753

j., Monday, 2 December 2019 15:42 (one week ago) link

Ouch. Has the novel gotten other negative reviews like that? Haven’t read it yet myself, or much about it.

curmudgeon, Monday, 2 December 2019 16:50 (one week ago) link

I've read at least one other negative review. The most depressing part of that write-up, though, is the byline. The idea that someone who writes that poorly is an editor at Simon & Schuster, with other people's manuscripts in their custody, is terrifying.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:57 (one week ago) link

yeah I just figured I wasn’t smart enough to understand that review

L'assie (Euler), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:58 (one week ago) link

https://www.vox.com/culture/2019/9/24/20879736/water-dancer-review-ta-nehisi-coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates is not quite there yet. He doesn’t have the kind of command over the novel as a medium that will let him meld disparate genres together; he doesn’t seem to care about his characters as people rather than as devices he can use to convey ideas; he doesn’t really understand how to keep a plot moving.

Muswell Hillbilly Elegy (President Keyes), Monday, 2 December 2019 16:59 (one week ago) link

it sounds like he took too long to write the book and it became muddled. he said he spent ten years writing this. no one is the same writer they were ten years ago, least of all someone who, in that time, became one of the nation's most esteemed public intellectuals

treeship., Monday, 2 December 2019 17:14 (one week ago) link

i assume he knows how to "keep a plot moving" but faltered a bit as he was trying to synthesize several different versions of the book into one narrative.

i didn't read it, just what it sounds like.

treeship., Monday, 2 December 2019 17:16 (one week ago) link

I've read at least one other negative review. The most depressing part of that write-up, though, is the byline. The idea that someone who writes that poorly is an editor at Simon & Schuster, with other people's manuscripts in their custody, is terrifying.

― shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, December 2, 2019 8:57 AM (eighteen minutes ago) bookmarkflaglink

I'm assuming this is a young dude who is like a year or two out of grad school for literature. probably will mellow a bit as he ages.

using "apophatically" and "aporia" in one paragraph tho, bravo lol.

#FBPIRA (jim in vancouver), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:19 (one week ago) link

He is not the worlds best comics writer either. I think it's okay to be fantastic at one style, and merely ok at others.

Frederik B, Monday, 2 December 2019 17:20 (one week ago) link

The worst faux pas to me is that he just quotes Cornel West on 'We Were Eight Years in Power', without it seeming that he himself has read it. That's bad work.

Frederik B, Monday, 2 December 2019 17:20 (one week ago) link

i assume he knows how to "keep a plot moving" but faltered a bit as he was trying to synthesize several different versions of the book into one narrative.

I've been editing novels for a few years now on a freelance basis and all the errors of structure and tone called out in the Vox review are extremely familiar to me. I just finished a manuscript the other week where entire chapters were taken up by literal classroom lectures on the author's pet issues, so it's not at all surprising to me that a political essayist (and, yes, sometime comic book writer) would think his Big Novel needed multiple "slavery is bad, mmmkay?" monologues. Or that his protagonist has a sledgehammer-to-the-forehead metaphorical superpower.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:41 (one week ago) link

i can't fucking believe there's an actual "he's not a great novelist, and that's ok!" in the vox piece

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:58 (one week ago) link

no one should be allowed to write imo

american bradass (BradNelson), Monday, 2 December 2019 17:58 (one week ago) link

Haven't had a chance to read this yet, tbh, but I got a copy when I went to see him get interviewed about it last month. His thought process and the in-depth research he did make it sound like it could really be interesting, but at the same time I could see how it ends up muddled and disappointing.

soaring skrrrtpeggios (jon /via/ chi 2.0), Monday, 2 December 2019 18:02 (one week ago) link

surprised VOX writer didn't say, "Hey, Baldwin's novels were blah too!"

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 2 December 2019 18:25 (one week ago) link

that vox review is just flat out embarrassing

i mean apart from gushing over how "beautiful" the sentences are (not really a good sign in most novels tbh), there's literally a paragraph where the reviewer suggests that the novel would be better if it were MORE LIKE AN AARON SORKIN SHOW

(The Other) J.D. (J.D.), Monday, 2 December 2019 18:27 (one week ago) link

gushing over how "beautiful" the sentences are (not really a good sign in most novels tbh)

Not the greatest example, either; I was already editing that one sentence in my head, and it definitely didn't make me want to read 400 more pages.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 2 December 2019 18:48 (one week ago) link


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