Coates and Williamson

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Kevin Williamson:

I, again, I’m from a place where I can take my lessons from people and not agree with a damn thing they’re saying. You know, that’s just me. You know, reporting is one thing; that’s important. But the writing is actually really, really important for me. And I thought, when he was on, he’s really, really good actually. Like, the writing is really, really good.

That’s exactly it. He’s very very good, and I was so hoping to see both of them in the pages of my favorite magazine. But people are too self-absorbed to see that a severely traumatized individual who has been very honest about his trauma might verbalize the trauma in all kinds of crazy ways. And getting upset about it is even more crazy.

Also, if you read the whole thing, which I don’t know why you would, you’ll see that Coates is very aware that “A Case for Reparations” was his best writing and that he’s done nothing even close since then. But I’m sure he still will.

And I guess — you know what I learned from this? You know, when I went out and said, I think he’s a kick-ass writer. I don’t [inaudible], but I think he’s a kick-ass writer. Like, I actually can’t say things like that anymore. Even if it’s what I think.

Welcome to the club, buddy. There are so many things many of us can’t say anymore.


Faith in capitalism is plummeting. Only 42 percent of millennials embrace capitalism, according to a Harvard University poll, while 51 percent reject it.

Well, it’s not like they have any idea what it is. I should know. I ask all the time. People just say whatever is fashionable without having the slightest idea of what it means.

It will be a happy day in my life when I ask in class about what capitalism is and get anything beyond “well, it’s when, you know, like, you know, it’s yeah.” And I’m sure I’ve asked more people throughout the years that the quoted study has. It’s news to most that the US is a capitalist country. It’s news to about 99% that the UK or Spain are. So it’s like, yeah.

College Fund

I just discovered that students who get ACT scores of over 30 get free tuition at U of Alabama. Which is a great U.

This is the first time I have ever heard the expression “ACT scores” in my life, so I have no idea what any of this means. But it gives me hope. We currently have $3,000 in our college fund, so it’s good to know this college thing isn’t totally hopeless.

Almudena Grandes and the Glorification of Nazism

I’m reading the most recent installment in Almudena Grandes’s Spanish Civil War series titled Dr. Garcia’s Patients, and, God, am I angry or am I very angry. The series consists of extremely long volumes that are soppy and neoliberal like there is no tomorrow. But I’ve gotten used to that, so it’s OK. Kind of. What slaughtered me about this novel is that the author decided to get into the subject of the Holocaust and did it in a way that grates on my sensibilities enormously.

Grandes spends 200 pages telling us about a young Spanish fellow who is kind of dumb and kind of pathetic but you get used to him over the time she dedicates to talking about him and kind of even like him.

And then he goes to war and slaughters hundreds of Jews in a concentration camp in Estonia.

After which the author spends 200 pages more humanizing him even further. Yes, he murdered Jews. But, but, but! He is a great friend! And he falls deeply and beautifully in love with a girl! Surely, somebody who is capable of such profound feelings can’t be all bad, right? I mean, Jews, Schmews, but those concentration camp Jews are all kind of weird and kind of maybe even deserve being killed. Because everybody else resists, everybody else goes down fighting. Russians, Ukrainians, Spanish Republicans, Nazi Germans. They all fight even in the most hopeless of situations. But the Jews? They just march stupidly and patiently towards their death and don’t resist. I mean, are they even human?

I’m not inventing this shit, folks. Please understand that I couldn’t invent it if I tried. I’m retelling, very closely to the text, the line of argument advanced in it. Yes, it’s advanced by a Spanish soldier fighting on the Nazi side but there is never any sort of an opposing sort of view.

I understand that the discussion of the “human side” of Nazis can exist. But fuck this shit, does it really have to? The Holocaust didn’t happen 500 years ago. It’s in living memory, and with neo-Nazism on the rise, do we really need to delve into the depths of the Nazi mentality in a way that pretty much excuses it?

Almudena Grandes, fuck you, lady. I have read pretty much every word that you ever wrote, you wordy old bat. And this is what you go and do. You should have just stuck to writing the S&M porn that made you famous.

I’m only half-way through the book (it’s almost 800 pages), but I needed to get this off my chest because it’s poisoning me from the inside.

What’s Happening with the Nobel?

I don’t get this article on why the Nobel Prize might not be awarded this year. One of the judge’s husband turned out to be a prick. OK, fuck him. But what does anybody’s husband have to do with the prize? Why are they all leaving?

The only part of this rambling piece I liked is the one that puts journalists next to prostitutes. This is the worst kind of reporting because the journalist hasn’t even tried to find out what is actually happening.

Newspaper Apps

Turns out that NYTimes has an app. I have no idea why it never occurred to me to check. I read the paper version on Sundays and in theory I’m supposed to be reading the online version during the week. But I hate the website so I never go. The app is great, I’m loving it. There was a great long piece on pharmaceutical companies that aggressively push fentanyl even after the opioid scandals of recent years.

Washington Post also has an app but it’s horrible. Stories shake and jump out at you, and that hurts the eyes.