A perfect storm of bigoted lying-liberal idiocy.
Coates’s recent memoir, Between the World and Me, an instant No. 1 bestseller dubbed “immense” by Publishers Weekly and deemed “essential, like water or air,” by A.O. Scott, will not only win every prize in sight, they’ll have to invent some new prizes for it. Perhaps Coates will be tapped to be our first Public Intellectual Laureate. Not only is the book selling by the boatload, but as it is very angry, very left-wing, very topical, and very short, it also seems certain to be ushered into the exclusive club where the real money of publishing is: college and high-school reading syllabi. Between the World and Me stands ready to be a central influence in the way young people are taught to see race in America.
And that is disheartening. Coates’s book is bitter, and it is embittering. It’s angry about things we should be angry about—only the straw man Coates frequently invokes would claim the race problem is solved in America—but it also displays an inchoate generalized contempt for America, especially white America. Coates simply assumes that the country is as poisoned by race obsessions as he is. The book is 176 pages of question-begging.
Here’s a little news flash for Coates and other idiots: the race problem will NEVER be solved, in America or anywhere else. A preference for one’s own peer group is hard-wired into the human psyche; there always has been and always will be a tendency on the part of at least some of us to let that preference slip and slide down the greasy slope of xenophobia and fear into outright antipathy, whether open or not, towards those of a different tribe. Always. And no amount of smarmy lecturing, hectoring, or even legislation is going to change that.
Hey, it’s a mean old world. Deal with it. Or whine incessantly about it, as Coates and nearly every other “liberal” does–IT’S NOT FAIR!!!–and let it rob you of any chance for whatever happiness might be possible for you out there, and then blame everybody else for your self-inflicted misery. Your choice. You’ll no doubt be surprised at how little most of us care about which way you wind up jumping, and how little patience we’ll have for your self-righteous attempts to blame us for what is essentially and by definition your problem.
To Coates, history is a maze in which every path leads back to the dragon in the center, which is slavery. So blame the white racist superstructure even if a black cop working for a black county run by black politicians kills a black suspect—that would be Coates’s college acquaintance Prince Jones, who died when an undercover cop in Prince George’s County, Maryland, mistook the young man for another suspect and Jones responded by ramming his car at the officer, who shot him.
When Coates isn’t ignoring facts, as in the Martin and Brown cases, he shamelessly misrepresents them, as in the case of Jordan Davis, a black Florida youth who was fatally shot by a white man after a dispute over loud music. “The killer was convicted not of the boy’s murder,” Coates writes, “but of firing repeatedly as the boy’s friends tried to retreat. Destroying the black body was permissible—but it would be better to do it efficiently.” This is an outrageously false recounting. In no sense were the actions of Michael Dunn, the shooter, deemed “permissible.” A jury initially deadlocked on the most serious charge, but after a second trial, Dunn was indeed convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life without parole, in addition to a 90-year-sentence for conviction at the first trial of three counts of attempted murder and firing into an occupied vehicle.
The case wrapped up last October, well before Coates’s book went into production. But Coates, purposefully vague, omits names when referring to the case on page 112, even though the details are clearly those of the Davis murder. By specifically mentioning Davis 18 pages later, he shows that this is the incident he was referring to. (Coates has been consistently irresponsible on the matter: He began a February 15, 2014, Atlantic piece, published after the first trial but before the second, “I wish I had something more to say about the fact that Michael Dunn was not convicted for killing a black boy.” The piece was grossly misleading at the time and remains uncorrected on the Atlantic’s website.)
Ordinary journalistic standards don’t apply to Coates. His aggrandizement is the predictable outcome when a self-flagellating elite class, having spent 30 years propagating notions of group rights and group guilt while dismissing individual agency, concludes that victim classes should be encouraged to bear witness to “my truth,” the better to advance an extreme vision. New York magazine detected no irony in titling its recent cover story “The Hard Truths of Ta-Nehisi Coates.” Coates is both an effect and a cause of the cultural leadership’s resistance to the precise and the rigorous, the rational and the logical. The book won’t be questioned by the cultural mandarins—can’t be questioned, can’t be treated as anything less authoritative than holy writ—because they share Coates’s feelings, and that is the only reality that matters.
Coates’s detachment from fact is nothing compared with his moral detachment, however. He says, “my heart was cold” when he watched the Twin Towers burn and collapse. The cops present on September 11 deserved to die because they all shot Prince Jones; firefighters had to go because they are kind of like cops, though if Coates has any examples of firefighters killing black men, he does not supply them. Those office workers guilty of believing themselves to be white obviously had it coming to them. And everyone else who died? Black office workers? Foreigners? Shrug.
This is not a man possessed of hard truths, but rather a hard heart. To praise Coates is to condone mass hatred.
Yeah, well, to be a “liberal” is to be a hater, y’know. Their whole existence is organized around this kind of unreasoning narcissistic hostility–which is basically the hostility of the child towards the parent who won’t allow him to eat nothing but candy and ice cream for every meal. BECAUSE TEH INJUSTICE™!!
Read on for more examples of the kind of juvenile, dull-witted but self-satisfied “thinking” that is running the Western world now, and will in the end be the downfall of it.
Update! I just gotta include this, which amounts to the bottom line: “Does that sound like a man who holds the moral compass of America in the palm of his hand, or someone in urgent need of therapy?” And that reminds me of this great old Seinfeld scene:
Although in Coates’ case, I’m not sure even “a team” would be enough. Wretched neurosis as consuming as his might require a whole new field of study, with its own universities, research labs, and an entire body of literature dedicated to figuring it out and coping with it.
Or, alternatively, we could all shrug our shoulders, say “meh,” and leave him to go right on wallowing in it while we go out and have a beer or something. I can’t speak for all of y’all, but I know which way I’m leaning.