Thursday, June 9, 2011

I was (possibly) wrong about Ta-Nehisi Coates in the New York Times

Remember when I said Ta-Nehisi Coates writing a column for the New York Times would be a really bad idea? "If the pressures of the format and platform didn't push him into becoming stridently ideological, the danger is that he might end up like David Brooks--following his muse into places better addressed somewhere other than the New York Times op-ed pages."

Well, one column does not a body of work make. But Coates is doing a guest-stint columnizing for the Times, starting today, and his first piece is typical of him: Thought-provoking and humane. The last few paragraphs nearly made me weep this morning.
My son is 10 and a romantic, as all 10-year-olds surely have the right to be. How then do I speak to him of this world’s masterminds who render you a supporting actor in your own story? How do I speak of the Sentinels whose eyes melt history, until the world forgets that in 1962, the quintessential mutants of America were black?

Who do you think has the coolest power, Daddy?

His great caramel eyes were an amusement park.

You do, son.
Beautiful. So I sincerely hope that the confines and deadline pressures of the column don't push Ta-Nehisi Coates into not being Ta-Nehisi Coates. I'd be happy to be proven wrong.

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