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.


17 thoughts on “Coates and Williamson”

  1. Wow, 13,000+ words of a group-therapy sensitivity session that belongs in the medical charts of a nuthouse? (I actually read it all, because I’m a retired psychiatrist with a lot of free time on my hands.)

    Ta-Nehisi Coates is saying that the idiot Kevin Williamson shouldn’t be fired for defending in 2018 his 2014 madman’s view that women who have abortions should be hanged? And his reasoning is because today’s mainstream Republicans actually believe that, and Williamson was only being honest enough to say it out loud?

    I’d have more sympathy for a “severely traumatized” individual like Coates if he weren’t passing that crippling sense-of-helplessness pathology on to his son (See his previous articles), and spreading it so widely in a “centrist” magazine like The Atlantic.

    Being a”really, really good” writer doesn’t mean that your well-written words aren’t nonsense.


      1. Yeah, I considered that viewpoint. But the characterization applies to both of them equally.

        Goldberg appears a bit anxious as well — like a concerned progressive who has to sell a so-called “centrist” magazine.


      2. Williamson’s mother wanted to abort him. He’s stuck on abortion because of that. He explained it himself long before this debacle. The comments he was fired for were a fantasy about him taking revenge on the evil mommy. Hanging has a completely psychoanalytic meaning here.

        I have no idea why people freak out like this. The whole story is a complete non-issue.


        1. I don’t know much about Williamson, do we know that she wanted to abort him or is it just his obsession that he could have? The little I’ve read doesn’t even suggest he knows who she was or has ever tried to find her.
          The adoption apparently wasn’t happy so there’s probably a lot of anger towards his birth mother about that (seeing his adoption as a pseudo-abortion?)


          1. The worst trauma is the pre-birth one because nobody treats it and everybody thinks you are completely bonkers from bringing it up. People don’t “believe” there can be trauma before you have memory and definitely not before you are born. This is completely nuts because it’s the other way around.

            There are people who have worked successfully with trauma during the process of birth. But gestational trauma is very hard.

            Of course, all gestational traumas can be compensated in the first 3 years of life. But here it was obvious they weren’t. The number of adoptions that don’t turn out well is enormous. Because it’s invariably an extremely traumatized child, and adopting parents often have no idea that this is the case.



            1. As for Williamson, I’m glad that Coates, at least, is professional enough to see a difference between the content and the form.

              I was upset by Almudena Grandes’ recent novel yesterday. I find her views on the Holocaust to be appalling. But I’d never deny that she’s extremely talented and the last thing I want is to prevent her from writing.

              It would be much better if the Williamson debacle prompted a discussion of how, for the human psyche, mommy and daddy are so foundational that messing with that in any way produces enormous damage.


              1. And the exact same goes for Coates. You can disagree with him completely and think he’s wrong about everything. But you can’t deny he’s a very talented writer. You just can’t because it’s obvious. Even in this transcript, I want to read everything he said and I just skip everything the other people said because they just mumble. And there’s no talent there.


            2. Gestational traumas? What is this? I heard on TV that nervous and depressed pregnant women give birth to more nervous children than otherwise as the result of stress chemicals influencing the fetus. So, are all women who give children to be adopted depressed and stressed?


              1. The children who are given away are extremely unwanted. And that’s worse than any sort of stress or nerviness. Plus, there’s no bonding before and after birth. And bonding is crucial for a healthy psyche.


            3. In addition to adopting parents not understanding that their child will be traumatized no matter how young they are, caseworkers, adoption agencies, therapists, and the population at large doesn’t understand. Support for the family drops dramatically after the adoption, because it’s considered the end of the process and everyone involved tells themselves a happy story about a loving family healing all wounds. When adoptive families experience crises, the adoptive parents are regarded with suspicion, because surely, if they loved their child enough, there would be no emotional scars left? This attitude can also pit the parents against the child, because if every other adoption has a happy ending, why is this child so defective that they still have emotional and behavioral issues?


              1. Absolutely. And this is a big problem. People need to understand that the hardest part begins after adoption. And there’s nothing shameful in looking for help and support because it is extremely hard and nobody is supposed to just magically get it right.


  2. I was happily ignorant about Williamson before all of this blew up, but I’ll pass on this, from a far left podcast I was listening to…
    Williamson was supposedly hired to expose readers to ‘new ideas’ but hanging women who get abortion is the only ‘new idea’ he’s ever expressed in public, all the rest is boilerplate conservative party line. He got fired for actually trying to do what he was hired to do.
    They also read something he’d written about his psychological trauma (he’s unhealthily obsessed with the idea that his biological mother might have aborted him had that been an option) Instead he was put up for adoption and he apparently hates, hates HATES his adoptive family.
    Anway, none of that made him seem like a very good writer, it read like something from a high school almost honors student….


  3. \ Plus, there’s no bonding before and after birth.

    No bonding BEFORE birth? It sounds like science fiction. What is it?


    1. Bonding begins early in pregnancy and gets more and more intense as the pregnancy progresses. The process has been studied a lot from all points of view, including the hormonal/ chemical.

      Ask a pregnant friend how she bonds with the baby. Everybody does it except for women who either don’t want a kid or are damaged to the point where they can’t bond.


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