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National Book Award Given to Genius T. Coates
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From the NYT:

Ta-Nehisi Coates Wins National Book Award
By ALEXANDRA ALTER NOV. 18, 2015

Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.

“Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,” Mr. Coates said in an emotional acceptance speech. “Over and over and over again. And it keeps happening.” …

Mr. Coates, a correspondent for The Atlantic, dedicated the award to Prince Jones, a college friend of his who was shot to death by a police officer who mistook him for a criminal. “I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer; ‘Between the World and Me’ comes out of that place,” Mr. Coates said. “I can’t secure the safety of my son. I just don’t have that power. But what I do have the power to do is say, ‘You won’t enroll me in this lie. You won’t make me part of it.’ ”

Uh, the cop was black.

“Between the World and Me,” which was published by Spiegel & Grau, was one of the most celebrated and widely discussed books of the year. The novelist Toni Morrison compared Mr. Coates to James Baldwin.

Here’s my review of his National Book Award-winning book.

And here’s my review of his article “The Black Family in the Age of Mass Incarceration.”

In other news, in the hometown of America’s Foremost Public Intellectual:

Baltimore’s Homicide Rate Hits New Per Capita High
Updated November 18, 201512:35 PM ET
BILL CHAPPELL

With six weeks left in 2015, the homicide rate in Baltimore has set a new high for the city, surpassing the previous record set in 1993. The city saw its 300th killing of the year over the weekend; since then, gun violence has killed five more people. …

After years of declining homicide rates, Baltimore and many other large U.S. cities, such as Milwaukee and Houston, have seen a dramatic rise in 2015. …

In Baltimore, the homicide rise has come as the city copes with the aftermath of riots and unrest following Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.

 
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  1. These awards to Genius T. Coates have an eerie parallel to Obama being given the Nobel Peace Prize for being black and elected to the Presidency – the awards are simply symbols used by those who grant the awards to socially signal about their own high levels of racial enlightenment.

    Potemkin Villages.

    • Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson
    @TangoMan

    Potemkin villages had decrepit structures behind the facades. Aha Ta Neesi Coates would have to raise his game to rise to the level of decrepitude.

    The upside is that Coates reinforces the counter-narrative to all but the Kool-Aid drinkers.

    , @Ed
    @TangoMan

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling. Today you have university presidents quivering & cowering before a handful of irate & ironically affluent black college students.

    Instead of tossing out students disrupting a campus library for yelling racist invective Dartmouth apologized to them.

    Foisting unearned awards on Coates is probably the least pathetic appearing thing of late from white liberals in academia.

    Replies: @fish, @rod1963

  2. “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV. I wonder if it’s ever occurred to TNC that what he sees on TV bears little relation to what he experiences on the street; I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all. Of course, it could be that he goes out into the world regularly and it’s just as bad as his purple prose makes it out to be. Wonder why that never makes it into the writing. Oh right, the great Sam Crone of the department store escalator incident.

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    @Dennis Dale


    I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all.
     
    That would cut into his comic-book time.
    , @Mr. Anon
    @Dennis Dale

    "Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV."

    That's a good point (perhaps Percy Gryce's surmise is the reason). Coates is hardly like George Orwell - living down-and-out in Paris and London or volunteering with an anarchist regiment in the Spanish Civil War in order to observe the seemy underbelly of the world and then report on it. Coate's expeditions in guerilla journalism seem to be limited to experiencing the seemy underbelly of shopping-mall escalators and customer-service call-centers.

    Certainly, award winning stuff.

    , @Gunnar von Cowtown
    @Dennis Dale


    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV.
     
    Now this has the makings of a sci-fi/satire book I'd love to read.

    Here's the plot: Hunter S. Thompson circa 1969 time travels to 2015 and reacts to the current generation of campus radicals, award winning journalists and jihadist refugees. Imagine all the hilarious things he'd have to say interspersed with him gettin' loaded and trying to track down drugs that don't really exist any more. It would be sort of like a cyber-punk (funhouse) mirror image of "A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court".

    We know how the book ends. Thompson gets so frustrated with pussfied modern America that the draws a swastika with his own feces in a Mizzou dorm before traveling back to the 1930s to kill all everyone associated with the Frankfurt School.

    Damn. I'd read that.
    , @Anonymous Nephew
    @Dennis Dale

    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    There must be thousands of hours of video "of violence being directed by black people" in news cameras and on the Web, but that isn't what gets picked for the 6pm news or the "in-depth" report at 11. Anyone whose world-view was formed by TV, cinema or radio in the UK or US would assume for example that the main issue with racial violence was white racists harming innocent black people - i.e. the inverse of the truth. That's probably what got that poor drunk English student killed a few months back - she didn't think that the gentle giant who picked her up could possibly mean her harm.

  3. The reasoning seems to be that we can’t wait for infinity, so let’s just give the award to whoever’s punching the keys now: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Infinite_monkey_theorem

  4. @TangoMan
    These awards to Genius T. Coates have an eerie parallel to Obama being given the Nobel Peace Prize for being black and elected to the Presidency - the awards are simply symbols used by those who grant the awards to socially signal about their own high levels of racial enlightenment.

    Potemkin Villages.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Ed

    Potemkin villages had decrepit structures behind the facades. Aha Ta Neesi Coates would have to raise his game to rise to the level of decrepitude.

    The upside is that Coates reinforces the counter-narrative to all but the Kool-Aid drinkers.

  5. iSteveFan says:

    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,”

    Somebody needs to call BS on this guy. Though we can all have our opinions, the one thing we can’t argue is this. In 2015 we essentially have open borders. And every day people are voting with their feet to come to the USA. And that includes an awful lot of Africans.

    Additionally African Americans are free to leave the USA for safer pastures. And given the unprecedented size of the black middle class they certainly have the financial means to do so. Yet I don’t see this happening. Not only are blacks not leaving the USA, but they seem to be moving to its whitest parts once they have the means. That doesn’t sound like people who are in fear. Unless of course you take into account their fear of living in black areas.

    So whatever Coates says it is certainly not backed up by facts on the ground. If the USA were really that bad for black folk, you’d see it through people voting with their feet. Sort of like we have seen the Mexicans telling us for the past three decades that Mexico isn’t so great.

  6. “I’m a black man in America. I can’t punish that officer; … “I can’t secure the safety of my son. I just don’t have that power.

    Actually he can, and has, secured the safety of his son by moving him away from other black men.

    In a typical year police kill about 150 black men, quite often with justification. By contrast, black men murder other black men at a rate of about 4500 a year.

  7. We have a big to do here in Chhicago,Steve’s OSG (old stomping ground),with a ten yr old black having been shot for revenge against his father.Spike has been here,but no sign of Taneesi.

  8. And in related news, National Public Radio (NPR) reports:
    “With six weeks left in 2015, the homicide rate in Baltimore has set a new high for the city, surpassing the previous record set in 1993. … The previous high was 48.77 homicides for every 100,000 residents, the newspaper adds. That was in 1993, when the city saw 353 killings. The new record is partially a result of the city’s smaller population in 2015.”

  9. Give the guy a break. He’s a black man trying to make a living at the Atlantic. Can’t be easy. So he’s not a Jonathan Swift (who is?) but at least he shows up every day and pretends to do his job. What more do you want of this man? No, he’s not super intelligent and yes, the ladies in the English department fawn over this guy like he’s the second coming of christ. But so what? I knew Ally McGraw–an actress who couldn’t act for the life of her–and I knew Chuck Knoblauch, a second baseman who couldn’t throw a strike to first if his life depended on it. But it didn’t matter. Some black fella tryin his best to be an intellectual isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s the best. And stop noticing will ya?

  10. “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,” Mr. Coates said in an emotional acceptance speech.”

    Everyday, in fact every hour of the day there is a Black person somewhere in this country inflicting some kind of violence on another Black person.

    If in the future TNC ends up getting mugged at gunpoint by another Black body and the incident gets leaked out on the internet, I am going to be LMAO.

    • Replies: @Percy Gryce
    @Jefferson


    If in the future TNC ends up getting mugged at gunpoint by another Black body and the incident gets leaked out on the internet, I am going to be LMAO.
     
    Why do you think he has decamped to Paris? What you describe would be bad for his business model.
  11. We have a big to do here in Chhicago,Steve’s OSG (old stomping ground),with a ten yr old black having been shot for revenge against his father.Spike has been here,but no sign of Taneesi.

    You realize that TNC is doing his James Baldwin-Dexter Gordon thang, riffing from the diversity Mecca of Paris this year? Courtesy of the MacArthur Foundation, he is a newly minted one percenter, so can easily afford it for him and his family.

  12. TNC is objectively speaking a Republican.

    While he thinks he’s helping his radical left causes by his endless stream of vituperation against “people who think they are white,” the real effect of this, and BLM activism generally, is to drive whites away from Democrats, the official Black Party, and toward the GOP, which may want to drive their wages into the ground and possibly send them to die in the Middle East, but at least does not accuse them of being the genetically evil descendants of evil white parents and evil white ancestors responsible for all that is bad with the world.

    The most BLM-friendly politician in America, Bill DeBlasio, is not doing to well lately either. (I’ve shortened and reordered the article a bit.)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/18/nyregion/mayor-de-blasio-has-lost-support-of-white-new-yorkers-poll-finds.html?_r=0

    In the 2013 mayoral race, whites made up 45 percent of the electorate, with 54 percent supporting Mr. de Blasio.

    Just 28 percent of white New Yorkers approve of the Democratic mayor’s performance, and 59 percent now disapprove, up sharply from the start of his term, according to a citywide poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College. Nearly half say that the city is a worse place to live under his watch — only 9 percent say it is better — and 51 percent say New York is now less safe, even as crime statistics reach historic lows.

    Mr. de Blasio’s support among white residents has descended to a level so dismal that it has challenged a core assumption of his political strategy: that in a diversifying city, moderate white voters had lost much of their electoral influence, and that the mayor’s path to re-election runs through nonwhite communities.

    Alan Goldsmith, 62, a Democrat who lives in Flushing, Queens, said he felt safer before Mr. de Blasio took office.

    “The only topics I hear him talk about are universal pre-K, racial profiling and actions against the police,” said Mr. Goldsmith, the director of a nonprofit group. “I think he’s either dealing with the very poor on the socioeconomic level or the very wealthy; I don’t see him worrying about the needs of middle-class people like myself.”

    Steve Zagor, 65, a teacher and consultant on the Upper East Side, said he voted for Mr. de Blasio in 2013 but would not do so again.

    “He shows up at meetings late; he contests the charter schools; he is against stop-and-frisk,” said Mr. Zagor, a Democrat, who then invoked former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, a Republican. “As Giuliani used to say, it’s the little things that aggravate. It’s the little things that de Blasio does that irritate.”

  13. Remember when TNC wanted to name one of his articles “The Myth Of Black Criminality”. I wonder why he changed the name of the article? Was he afraid too many people would mistake it for an Onion article? Did he think it was bad timing to name it “The Myth Of Black Criminality” when his Chocolate hometown of Baltimore has seen a huge increase in it’s homicide rate? I wish he would reveal why he scrapped that title.

    • Replies: @Lot
    @Jefferson


    I wonder why he changed the name of the article?
     
    Opinion writers don't get to name their articles. It is kind of strange, but rooted in the time when there were limits on typefaces and headline writing was considered a completely separate skill-set.

    You still see this now in syndicated columns, where the same op-ed will appear in 50 newspapers with 50 different titles.

    Replies: @g Pinfold

  14. Once upon a time, America had Black men that people all around the world revered and tried to emulate, in their greatness: Louis Armstrong, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and of course, the great Duke Ellington.

    These were Black men who actually ACCOMPLISHED something. No one gave them prizes for being Black. They did difficult and impressive things: creating music both beautiful and energetic, and Black Achievement, real achievement, did not stop there either. Black men and women created songs in the Motown era still used ad nauseum by Hollywood and advertising today to evoke a mood and stimulate emotions: the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, etc.

    Coates ought to be embarrassed but he is not.

    I think all of this is Obama trying one more time to rally his troops, particularly the liberal Whites, around the Black Flag (and not the cool one with Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins).

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    @Whiskey

    Excellent point. Innate talent doesn't just go away, either. There's no lack of musical genius still in black America. But now it's all absorbed by the ghetto sensibility. Steve was on to something when he pointed out James Brown was the first black artist to not care about what white people thought. Perhaps once that set in it was only a matter of time before we got to where we are now, hip hop as black musical genius' decadent dead end. Art isn't necessarily well served by being free of all societal restraints. Indeed, every artist worth his salt imposes on himself a rigid set of rules.

    Or, black people, who, to my mind, lack a certain capacity for objective self-awareness--ironically evidenced by their art's implosion into black group self-obsession--just weren't ever going to get any farther than the joyful highs of Motown, funk, jazz, etc. It's just sad, either way.

    Replies: @Kylie

  15. @TangoMan
    These awards to Genius T. Coates have an eerie parallel to Obama being given the Nobel Peace Prize for being black and elected to the Presidency - the awards are simply symbols used by those who grant the awards to socially signal about their own high levels of racial enlightenment.

    Potemkin Villages.

    Replies: @Charles Erwin Wilson, @Ed

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling. Today you have university presidents quivering & cowering before a handful of irate & ironically affluent black college students.

    Instead of tossing out students disrupting a campus library for yelling racist invective Dartmouth apologized to them.

    Foisting unearned awards on Coates is probably the least pathetic appearing thing of late from white liberals in academia.

    • Replies: @fish
    @Ed


    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling.
     


    Ah.....the "Howler Monkey" strategy! Powerful Kung Fu there!
    , @rod1963
    @Ed

    Let them capitulate and choke on the garbage they created.

    What did the white intellectuals think was going to happen filling all those little black minds with "whites are evil" meme for decades and socially promoting them into positions they are unfit for? Evidently not what is happening now. But was is happening has been absolutely predictable as 2 + 2 = 4. The whitey Left empowered the blacks and gave them carte blanch and now they are pulling down the entire rotting edifice.

    We can't stop it short of a race war but that's okay the blacks are doing the heavy lifting in that department with BLM and campus protests - which will morph into really overt lets hate whitey, lets kill whitey in time.

  16. Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday night for “Between the World and Me,” a visceral, blunt exploration of his experience of being a black man in America, which was published this summer in the middle of a national dialogue about race relations and inequality.

    “Blunt.” Ha, ha! Blunt! Get it? Blunt!

    We are blessed that Mr. Coates is not too much of a coward to contribute to the “national dialogue” about race relations and inequality we’ve been having since 2009. Now the nation’s schoolteachers can finally replace the unjustly coherent and grammatical writings of dead white males with Coates’ mesmerizing prose, and tell any parents who complain to take their assaults on black bodies to the National Book Award judges.[1]

    [1] “Who Are the Judges? Each year, the Foundation selects a total of twenty Judges, including five in each of the four Award categories: Fiction, Nonfiction, Poetry, and Young People’s Literature. Historically, Judges are published writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field, and in some cases, are past NBA Finalists or Winners. As of 2013, judging panels will no longer be limited to writers, but now may also include other experts in the field such as literary critics, librarians, and booksellers [emphasis added].

  17. Yeah, and Michael Slager rots in jail for doing his job and defending himself.

  18. @Jefferson
    Remember when TNC wanted to name one of his articles "The Myth Of Black Criminality". I wonder why he changed the name of the article? Was he afraid too many people would mistake it for an Onion article? Did he think it was bad timing to name it "The Myth Of Black Criminality" when his Chocolate hometown of Baltimore has seen a huge increase in it's homicide rate? I wish he would reveal why he scrapped that title.

    Replies: @Lot

    I wonder why he changed the name of the article?

    Opinion writers don’t get to name their articles. It is kind of strange, but rooted in the time when there were limits on typefaces and headline writing was considered a completely separate skill-set.

    You still see this now in syndicated columns, where the same op-ed will appear in 50 newspapers with 50 different titles.

    • Replies: @g Pinfold
    @Lot

    Steve writes his own headlines. Such are the perquisites of punching up.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

  19. @Lot
    @Jefferson


    I wonder why he changed the name of the article?
     
    Opinion writers don't get to name their articles. It is kind of strange, but rooted in the time when there were limits on typefaces and headline writing was considered a completely separate skill-set.

    You still see this now in syndicated columns, where the same op-ed will appear in 50 newspapers with 50 different titles.

    Replies: @g Pinfold

    Steve writes his own headlines. Such are the perquisites of punching up.

    • Replies: @Steve Sailer
    @g Pinfold

    Not always.

    Good headline writing isn't easy and sometimes I don't come up with a headline myself.

    Replies: @John Derbyshire

  20. @g Pinfold
    @Lot

    Steve writes his own headlines. Such are the perquisites of punching up.

    Replies: @Steve Sailer

    Not always.

    Good headline writing isn’t easy and sometimes I don’t come up with a headline myself.

    • Replies: @John Derbyshire
    @Steve Sailer

    In the old Fleet Street days of British journalism, the "subs" (=subeditors, who wrote headlines and photo captions) were respected as craftsmen on the same level as reporters, if not higher. Those who worked for daily newspapers were a nocturnal tribe, doing their best work around midnight, when the news copy was in and the paper being put to bed.

    Try spending an evening at the pub, staggering back to your desk half pickled at 10:30, and coming up with a headline like "President Johnson Deep In the Art of Taxes" (an actual example, when LBJ was getting up to speed in late 1963).

    Replies: @Rob McX, @C. Van Carter

  21. > since then, gun violence has killed five more people.

    Yes, Gun Violence has been skulking around Charm City’s neighborhoods. Since the weekend, Gun (“Mr. Violence,” if you want to be formal) has killed five people.

    Bernie Sanders knows Gun.

    I come from a state that has virtually no gun control. But the people of my state understand, I think, pretty clearly, that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles. In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they’re used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting at police officers, shooting down innocent people.

    As Bernie noticed, Vermont has something that Chicago, LA, and Baltimore lacks. Something that prevents Gun from bringing out the crazy.

    Magic Dirt.

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @ic1000


    As Bernie noticed, Vermont has something that Chicago, LA, and Baltimore lacks. Something that prevents Gun from bringing out the crazy.

    Magic Dirt.
     
    And whites - even liberals - always keep the Magic Dirt for themselves if they can.
  22. Steve, I used to have fun making sport of Coates, but then I started feeling like I was beating up a retarded kid. It may be impossible for me to punch down, being a racist, xenophobic hate-thinker. Still, mocking someone who is, to be charitable, not very bright, just seems wrong. Coates is an ornament. He decorates the pages of the Atlantic and other publications. I don’t think he is smart enough to know it. Some of these guys do get it, but not Coates.

    A guy who does get the hustle is Howard Bryant, the wife beater/writer for ESPN. Read his stuff and he makes Steve A. Smith sound eloquent. Bryant gets paid to write books no one reads, articles no one reads and look like a black pirate on TV simply so he will not call them racist. He has no skill other than the skins game and he knows it.

    • Agree: Jim Don Bob
  23. @Dennis Dale
    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV. I wonder if it's ever occurred to TNC that what he sees on TV bears little relation to what he experiences on the street; I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all. Of course, it could be that he goes out into the world regularly and it's just as bad as his purple prose makes it out to be. Wonder why that never makes it into the writing. Oh right, the great Sam Crone of the department store escalator incident.

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Gunnar von Cowtown, @Anonymous Nephew

    I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all.

    That would cut into his comic-book time.

  24. @Jefferson
    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people,” Mr. Coates said in an emotional acceptance speech."

    Everyday, in fact every hour of the day there is a Black person somewhere in this country inflicting some kind of violence on another Black person.

    If in the future TNC ends up getting mugged at gunpoint by another Black body and the incident gets leaked out on the internet, I am going to be LMAO.

    Replies: @Percy Gryce

    If in the future TNC ends up getting mugged at gunpoint by another Black body and the incident gets leaked out on the internet, I am going to be LMAO.

    Why do you think he has decamped to Paris? What you describe would be bad for his business model.

  25. @ic1000
    > since then, gun violence has killed five more people.

    Yes, Gun Violence has been skulking around Charm City's neighborhoods. Since the weekend, Gun ("Mr. Violence," if you want to be formal) has killed five people.

    Bernie Sanders knows Gun.

    I come from a state that has virtually no gun control. But the people of my state understand, I think, pretty clearly, that guns in Vermont are not the same thing as guns in Chicago or guns in Los Angeles. In our state, guns are used for hunting. In Chicago, they're used for kids in gangs killing other kids or people shooting at police officers, shooting down innocent people.
     
    As Bernie noticed, Vermont has something that Chicago, LA, and Baltimore lacks. Something that prevents Gun from bringing out the crazy.

    Magic Dirt.

    Replies: @Rob McX

    As Bernie noticed, Vermont has something that Chicago, LA, and Baltimore lacks. Something that prevents Gun from bringing out the crazy.

    Magic Dirt.

    And whites – even liberals – always keep the Magic Dirt for themselves if they can.

  26. @Ed
    @TangoMan

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling. Today you have university presidents quivering & cowering before a handful of irate & ironically affluent black college students.

    Instead of tossing out students disrupting a campus library for yelling racist invective Dartmouth apologized to them.

    Foisting unearned awards on Coates is probably the least pathetic appearing thing of late from white liberals in academia.

    Replies: @fish, @rod1963

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling.

    Ah…..the “Howler Monkey” strategy! Powerful Kung Fu there!

  27. WhatEvvs [AKA "Internet Addict"] says:

    I looked up who the winner of the Nat’l Book Award was in 1955. Date chosen at random. I fully expected the winner to be some now-obscure mediocrity, and my point was going to be, “this shlub is forgotten, chill, worry about more important things.”

    It was William Faulkner.

    Point taken, Mr. Sailer. We really have sunk to the depths.

    The runners-up were also top-flight:

    http://www.nationalbook.org/nba1955.html#.Vk3cZzZdFjo

    • Replies: @C. Van Carter
    @WhatEvvs

    Wallace Stevens won the poetry award that year. About 2015's poetry winner the National Book Foundation breathlessly tells us:


    Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art..."Voyage" is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? ... this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.
     
    Or even longer.

    Replies: @WhatEvvs

  28. @Dennis Dale
    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV. I wonder if it's ever occurred to TNC that what he sees on TV bears little relation to what he experiences on the street; I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all. Of course, it could be that he goes out into the world regularly and it's just as bad as his purple prose makes it out to be. Wonder why that never makes it into the writing. Oh right, the great Sam Crone of the department store escalator incident.

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Gunnar von Cowtown, @Anonymous Nephew

    “Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV.”

    That’s a good point (perhaps Percy Gryce’s surmise is the reason). Coates is hardly like George Orwell – living down-and-out in Paris and London or volunteering with an anarchist regiment in the Spanish Civil War in order to observe the seemy underbelly of the world and then report on it. Coate’s expeditions in guerilla journalism seem to be limited to experiencing the seemy underbelly of shopping-mall escalators and customer-service call-centers.

    Certainly, award winning stuff.

  29. @Steve Sailer
    @g Pinfold

    Not always.

    Good headline writing isn't easy and sometimes I don't come up with a headline myself.

    Replies: @John Derbyshire

    In the old Fleet Street days of British journalism, the “subs” (=subeditors, who wrote headlines and photo captions) were respected as craftsmen on the same level as reporters, if not higher. Those who worked for daily newspapers were a nocturnal tribe, doing their best work around midnight, when the news copy was in and the paper being put to bed.

    Try spending an evening at the pub, staggering back to your desk half pickled at 10:30, and coming up with a headline like “President Johnson Deep In the Art of Taxes” (an actual example, when LBJ was getting up to speed in late 1963).

    • Replies: @Rob McX
    @John Derbyshire

    Tabloids had the best headlines. Ask any Englishman to name a famous one, and there's a 90 per cent chance it'll be "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster". Another unforgettable one - American, I think - was "Headless Man Found In Topless Bar".

    Replies: @Anonymous Nephew

    , @C. Van Carter
    @John Derbyshire

    I imagine booze facilitated the creation of this tremendous headline.

  30. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    He got it for being black and pushing the sympathy button in whites. The ‘feel sorry for me, I’m black’ routine works wonders with all these gullible whites. Sort of like the black panhandlers thronging the downtown streets here selling pity except that he’s just got better game.
    I guess most white liberal types intuitively don’t expect much from blacks so when one actually seems to be a cut above the dreary average they get real excited. Perhaps they like reading books about what it’s like to be black just like kids years ago read books about pirates; exciting stuff but too risky to actually go there.

  31. @Dennis Dale
    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV. I wonder if it's ever occurred to TNC that what he sees on TV bears little relation to what he experiences on the street; I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all. Of course, it could be that he goes out into the world regularly and it's just as bad as his purple prose makes it out to be. Wonder why that never makes it into the writing. Oh right, the great Sam Crone of the department store escalator incident.

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Gunnar von Cowtown, @Anonymous Nephew

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV.

    Now this has the makings of a sci-fi/satire book I’d love to read.

    Here’s the plot: Hunter S. Thompson circa 1969 time travels to 2015 and reacts to the current generation of campus radicals, award winning journalists and jihadist refugees. Imagine all the hilarious things he’d have to say interspersed with him gettin’ loaded and trying to track down drugs that don’t really exist any more. It would be sort of like a cyber-punk (funhouse) mirror image of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”.

    We know how the book ends. Thompson gets so frustrated with pussfied modern America that the draws a swastika with his own feces in a Mizzou dorm before traveling back to the 1930s to kill all everyone associated with the Frankfurt School.

    Damn. I’d read that.

  32. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Looks like Coates won the ‘debate’… by standards of how debates are own today.

    There is a bit of preemption by white Libs here.

    They fear black rage while revering the myth behind it—righteous blacks enraged with ‘racism’.

    By profusely rewarding a bleek—black geek—who professes to speak on behalf of angry blacks, they got themselves a non-threatening token who, in gratitude to white Libs who showered him with money and prizes, will go easy on them and direct all his official anger at ‘racist conservatives’.

    Clever way of Jews and white Libs of preempting black rage before it lashes out at them.
    Their message is “yes, we are part of the problem, but we UNDERSTAND, so we shower you all these prizes, so please don’t hate us, hate those Trump supporters.”

    • Replies: @rod1963
    @Anon

    Clever way of Jews and white Libs of preempting black rage before it lashes out at them.
    Their message is “yes, we are part of the problem, but we UNDERSTAND, so we shower you all these prizes, so please don’t hate us, hate those Trump supporters.”


    The Romans tried it with the Goths and other barbarian tribes, it didn't work out well for them. The French in Haiti gave power to blacks and they were exterminated for their efforts. The same happened all over colonial Africa, whites who stayed to help were murdered. Rhodesians tried being nice to blacks and they got murdered and eventually driven out of their own country. We turned Detroit over to the blacks and they turned it into a Mad Max place.

    What the white lefties don't get is this. This appeasement only works with people that are similar in terms of cultures, values and capability. All they did with blacks is energize them into becoming even more aggressive and eventually violent. Because they projected abject weakness to them, which is the worst thing possible for a people with a predatory mindset.

  33. @John Derbyshire
    @Steve Sailer

    In the old Fleet Street days of British journalism, the "subs" (=subeditors, who wrote headlines and photo captions) were respected as craftsmen on the same level as reporters, if not higher. Those who worked for daily newspapers were a nocturnal tribe, doing their best work around midnight, when the news copy was in and the paper being put to bed.

    Try spending an evening at the pub, staggering back to your desk half pickled at 10:30, and coming up with a headline like "President Johnson Deep In the Art of Taxes" (an actual example, when LBJ was getting up to speed in late 1963).

    Replies: @Rob McX, @C. Van Carter

    Tabloids had the best headlines. Ask any Englishman to name a famous one, and there’s a 90 per cent chance it’ll be “Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster”. Another unforgettable one – American, I think – was “Headless Man Found In Topless Bar”.

    • Replies: @Anonymous Nephew
    @Rob McX

    http://www.classicheadlines.co.uk

    The Sun newspaper provides a lot of these. I think "Elton Takes David Up The Aisle" has to get the double-entendre prize.

    Does anyone think TNC is doing the "black artist in Paris" bit that's been going on since at least the 20s (with Josephine Baker)?

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-still-haven-black-americans-180955082/

  34. I wonder what are the demographics of the people who buy Coates’s books. Very few blacks among them, I’d say.

  35. I distinctly recall when this man and his book suddenly became famous, that he had already decided that he would soon move himself and his family to France.

    Why has this not happened? (Or did it and I didn’t notice?)

    Another question: If he felt no sadness for “all those white people” who were murdered in NYC on 9/11 how does he feel about “all those white people” recently slaughtered in Paris?

  36. I would bet (a modest amount of) real money that not all of the National Book Awards 2015 Nonfiction Judges actually read all the way through Coates’ masterpiece. Below is the list of judges. Note that Diane Ackerman and Adrienne Mayor are serious writers who must have recognized the pathetic quality of Coates’ work. Patricia Hill Collins is a race hustler who publishes tomes of tedious grievance-studies bafflegab, but she’s a much better writer than Coates. She may have voted for Coates out of racial affinity. John D’Agata is an infamous fabulist who should be on the fiction judges panel, if any. Paul Holdengräber has a remarkable fascination with celebrity; he has devoted his life to getting himself on stage with or seated next to famous people. Coates is currently basking in the adulation of the pc-whipped and the exquisitely-refined mockery of the powerful, so Holdengräber probably wants to pose for photos with him.

    Of course, the judges confronted a very weak list of finalists. Besides the profound wisdom of Mr. Coates, they could choose from a book about octopuses, dull memoirs by an artist and a poet virtually unknown outside New York (merely to recognize their names is to signal one’s peculiar and insular social status), and an apologia for Islam which caters specifically to the anxieties of American leftists eager for dhimmitude.

    2015 Nonfiction Judges

    Diane Ackerman is the author of 24 books of nonfiction and poetry, including the bestsellers A Natural History of the Senses, The Zookeeper’s Wife, and most recently The Human Age: The World Shaped by Us, which received the 2015 PEN Henry David Thoreau Award for Nature Writing. http://www.dianeackerman.com

    Patricia Hill Collins is Distinguished University Professor of Sociology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is the author of eight books, including Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism and On Intellectual Activism. In 2008, she became the 100th President of the American Sociological Association.

    John D’Agata is the author of Halls of Fame, About a Mountain, and The Lifespan of a Fact, and editor of The Next American Essay, The Lost Origins of the Essay, and the forthcoming The Making of the American Essay. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Howard Foundation, and Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches creative writing at the University of Iowa, where he directs the MFA in Nonfiction Writing Program.

    Paul Holdengräber is founder and director of LIVE from The New York Public Library, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary. Over the past decade, Holdengräber has curated, interviewed, and hosted over 600 programs, offering cognitive theater at the Library and other venues, as well as speaking with a wide variety of thinkers and writers, including Salman Rushdie, Patti Smith, and Mike Tyson. He holds a doctorate in comparative literature from Princeton University.

    Adrienne Mayor is a research scholar in classics and the history of science at Stanford University. She has written five books, including The Poison King: The Life and Legend of Mithradates, which was a 2009 National Book Award Finalist and won a 2010 Independent Publisher Book Award for Biography. Her work has been translated into ten languages. She is a regular contributor to the award-winning history of science website Wonders and Marvels.

  37. @Rob McX
    @John Derbyshire

    Tabloids had the best headlines. Ask any Englishman to name a famous one, and there's a 90 per cent chance it'll be "Freddie Starr Ate My Hamster". Another unforgettable one - American, I think - was "Headless Man Found In Topless Bar".

    Replies: @Anonymous Nephew

    http://www.classicheadlines.co.uk

    The Sun newspaper provides a lot of these. I think “Elton Takes David Up The Aisle” has to get the double-entendre prize.

    Does anyone think TNC is doing the “black artist in Paris” bit that’s been going on since at least the 20s (with Josephine Baker)?

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/paris-still-haven-black-americans-180955082/

  38. @WhatEvvs
    I looked up who the winner of the Nat'l Book Award was in 1955. Date chosen at random. I fully expected the winner to be some now-obscure mediocrity, and my point was going to be, "this shlub is forgotten, chill, worry about more important things."

    It was William Faulkner.

    Point taken, Mr. Sailer. We really have sunk to the depths.

    The runners-up were also top-flight:

    http://www.nationalbook.org/nba1955.html#.Vk3cZzZdFjo

    Replies: @C. Van Carter

    Wallace Stevens won the poetry award that year. About 2015’s poetry winner the National Book Foundation breathlessly tells us:

    Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art…”Voyage” is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? … this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.

    Or even longer.

    • Replies: @WhatEvvs
    @C. Van Carter

    Sable venus? LULZ.

    All 3 winners in 1955 were first class. Now look at 1956:

    http://www.nationalbook.org/nba1956.html#.Vk6QojZdFjq

    Look at that list - again, even the runners up are class acts.

    Replies: @Brutusale

  39. The reasoning seems to be that we can’t wait for infinity, so let’s just give the award to whoever’s punching the keys now

    Oof.

    the real effect of this, and BLM activism generally, is to drive whites away from Democrats, the official Black Party, and toward the GOP, which may want to drive their wages into the ground and possibly send them to die in the Middle East, but at least does not accuse them of being the genetically evil descendants of evil white parents and evil white ancestors responsible for all that is bad with the world.

    Good comment, but, I don’t see how Republicans plan on getting middle class white Democrats to sign up for the military. Only thing harder is getting American Jews to sign up for the military – our military, I mean.

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling. Today you have university presidents quivering & cowering before a handful of irate & ironically affluent black college students.

    Adding to Lot’s comment above, the white capitulation is what comes just before the white flight. As with neighborhoods, so with political parties?

  40. @John Derbyshire
    @Steve Sailer

    In the old Fleet Street days of British journalism, the "subs" (=subeditors, who wrote headlines and photo captions) were respected as craftsmen on the same level as reporters, if not higher. Those who worked for daily newspapers were a nocturnal tribe, doing their best work around midnight, when the news copy was in and the paper being put to bed.

    Try spending an evening at the pub, staggering back to your desk half pickled at 10:30, and coming up with a headline like "President Johnson Deep In the Art of Taxes" (an actual example, when LBJ was getting up to speed in late 1963).

    Replies: @Rob McX, @C. Van Carter

    I imagine booze facilitated the creation of this tremendous headline.

  41. “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders only appear every second week and only for 8 home matches as they haven’t hosted a play off game in a while.

  42. “Uh, the cop was black.” – he was enforcing the white man’s laws and order.

  43. Ta-Nehisi Coates won the National Book Award for nonfiction Wednesday night for “Between the World and Me,”

    A more highfalutin version of the “plaques for blacks” awarded by the mayor in “Bonfire of the Vanities”

  44. @Ed
    @TangoMan

    White liberals are capitulating all across the spectrum to angry blacks. I think that became apparent last year when blacks won a debate championship by doing nothing more than yelling. Today you have university presidents quivering & cowering before a handful of irate & ironically affluent black college students.

    Instead of tossing out students disrupting a campus library for yelling racist invective Dartmouth apologized to them.

    Foisting unearned awards on Coates is probably the least pathetic appearing thing of late from white liberals in academia.

    Replies: @fish, @rod1963

    Let them capitulate and choke on the garbage they created.

    What did the white intellectuals think was going to happen filling all those little black minds with “whites are evil” meme for decades and socially promoting them into positions they are unfit for? Evidently not what is happening now. But was is happening has been absolutely predictable as 2 + 2 = 4. The whitey Left empowered the blacks and gave them carte blanch and now they are pulling down the entire rotting edifice.

    We can’t stop it short of a race war but that’s okay the blacks are doing the heavy lifting in that department with BLM and campus protests – which will morph into really overt lets hate whitey, lets kill whitey in time.

  45. @Anon
    Looks like Coates won the 'debate'... by standards of how debates are own today.

    There is a bit of preemption by white Libs here.

    They fear black rage while revering the myth behind it---righteous blacks enraged with 'racism'.

    By profusely rewarding a bleek---black geek---who professes to speak on behalf of angry blacks, they got themselves a non-threatening token who, in gratitude to white Libs who showered him with money and prizes, will go easy on them and direct all his official anger at 'racist conservatives'.

    Clever way of Jews and white Libs of preempting black rage before it lashes out at them.
    Their message is "yes, we are part of the problem, but we UNDERSTAND, so we shower you all these prizes, so please don't hate us, hate those Trump supporters."

    Replies: @rod1963

    Clever way of Jews and white Libs of preempting black rage before it lashes out at them.
    Their message is “yes, we are part of the problem, but we UNDERSTAND, so we shower you all these prizes, so please don’t hate us, hate those Trump supporters.”

    The Romans tried it with the Goths and other barbarian tribes, it didn’t work out well for them. The French in Haiti gave power to blacks and they were exterminated for their efforts. The same happened all over colonial Africa, whites who stayed to help were murdered. Rhodesians tried being nice to blacks and they got murdered and eventually driven out of their own country. We turned Detroit over to the blacks and they turned it into a Mad Max place.

    What the white lefties don’t get is this. This appeasement only works with people that are similar in terms of cultures, values and capability. All they did with blacks is energize them into becoming even more aggressive and eventually violent. Because they projected abject weakness to them, which is the worst thing possible for a people with a predatory mindset.

  46. @Dennis Dale
    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    Writers used to seek out experience. Now they turn on the TV. I wonder if it's ever occurred to TNC that what he sees on TV bears little relation to what he experiences on the street; I wonder if he gets out of the house much at all. Of course, it could be that he goes out into the world regularly and it's just as bad as his purple prose makes it out to be. Wonder why that never makes it into the writing. Oh right, the great Sam Crone of the department store escalator incident.

    Replies: @Percy Gryce, @Mr. Anon, @Gunnar von Cowtown, @Anonymous Nephew

    “Every day you turn on the TV and see some kind of violence being directed at black people”

    There must be thousands of hours of video “of violence being directed by black people” in news cameras and on the Web, but that isn’t what gets picked for the 6pm news or the “in-depth” report at 11. Anyone whose world-view was formed by TV, cinema or radio in the UK or US would assume for example that the main issue with racial violence was white racists harming innocent black people – i.e. the inverse of the truth. That’s probably what got that poor drunk English student killed a few months back – she didn’t think that the gentle giant who picked her up could possibly mean her harm.

  47. @Whiskey
    Once upon a time, America had Black men that people all around the world revered and tried to emulate, in their greatness: Louis Armstrong, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonius Monk, and of course, the great Duke Ellington.

    These were Black men who actually ACCOMPLISHED something. No one gave them prizes for being Black. They did difficult and impressive things: creating music both beautiful and energetic, and Black Achievement, real achievement, did not stop there either. Black men and women created songs in the Motown era still used ad nauseum by Hollywood and advertising today to evoke a mood and stimulate emotions: the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson, etc.

    Coates ought to be embarrassed but he is not.

    I think all of this is Obama trying one more time to rally his troops, particularly the liberal Whites, around the Black Flag (and not the cool one with Greg Ginn and Henry Rollins).

    Replies: @Dennis Dale

    Excellent point. Innate talent doesn’t just go away, either. There’s no lack of musical genius still in black America. But now it’s all absorbed by the ghetto sensibility. Steve was on to something when he pointed out James Brown was the first black artist to not care about what white people thought. Perhaps once that set in it was only a matter of time before we got to where we are now, hip hop as black musical genius’ decadent dead end. Art isn’t necessarily well served by being free of all societal restraints. Indeed, every artist worth his salt imposes on himself a rigid set of rules.

    Or, black people, who, to my mind, lack a certain capacity for objective self-awareness–ironically evidenced by their art’s implosion into black group self-obsession–just weren’t ever going to get any farther than the joyful highs of Motown, funk, jazz, etc. It’s just sad, either way.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @Dennis Dale

    Name one black musical genius.

    Replies: @Dennis Dale, @The most deplorable one, @Stan D Mute

  48. @Dennis Dale
    @Whiskey

    Excellent point. Innate talent doesn't just go away, either. There's no lack of musical genius still in black America. But now it's all absorbed by the ghetto sensibility. Steve was on to something when he pointed out James Brown was the first black artist to not care about what white people thought. Perhaps once that set in it was only a matter of time before we got to where we are now, hip hop as black musical genius' decadent dead end. Art isn't necessarily well served by being free of all societal restraints. Indeed, every artist worth his salt imposes on himself a rigid set of rules.

    Or, black people, who, to my mind, lack a certain capacity for objective self-awareness--ironically evidenced by their art's implosion into black group self-obsession--just weren't ever going to get any farther than the joyful highs of Motown, funk, jazz, etc. It's just sad, either way.

    Replies: @Kylie

    Name one black musical genius.

    • Replies: @Dennis Dale
    @Kylie

    Okay Kylie. Give no quarter. I get it. But just like Steve likes to say "the truth is more interesting than lies", it's also more difficult and full of contradictions. You don't want to acknowledge there's anything to black cultural success. It's all some sort of mass hokum. Maybe your strategy is right for the fight (and we are in a fight), and Lord knows the other side isn't about to play fair by engaging in a nuanced debate seeking objective truth. But I've never had much stomach for fighting, or lying. Don't worry, our kind will pass from the Earth soon enough, if current trends hold.

    But I view it this way: of course there's something to the notion of black musical genius, but that doesn't negate the fact there's something to the perception of black intellectual inferiority. The two can even go hand-in-hand; when I see BLM protesters working themselves into tears over their absurd, imagined sorrows, I can't help thinking there's a relationship here to all those great bluesmen. Black people do suffering like nobody else; if no actual suffering is at hand, they'll make it up. It's actually dependent in part on a lesser ability or desire for abstract thought. Does this negate for me the value of blues, jazz, rock and roll? No; I'd just rather try and be adult about it, and accept the contradiction.

    Wu Tang Clan's first record is as close to a masterpiece as pop music gets (and, no, it isn't Bach, but must everything be?); at the same time, the members of Wu Tang are despicable, ridiculous, absurd, violent morons. So the success of black pop music may very well one key means of our destruction. It's the soundtrack to our decline. But I can't say it has no musical quality. Maybe we would be better off suppressing it. But I just think we should be honest, always, about what it is we're up to. Like I said, this view is probably not long for this world, if it ever really had much of a hold in it in the first place.

    Maybe we all just need to get over this natural human impulse that says "I enjoy X, therefore X is good for me and good for the world." Not at all. Life's a bitch.

    Replies: @Kylie

    , @The most deplorable one
    @Kylie

    Who cares about musical geniuses. It's not as if they are going to compete with Mozart or Beethoven.

    Where are the black computer geniuses that Hollywood promised us in Terminator II?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6s6YKlTpfw

    , @Stan D Mute
    @Kylie


    Name one black musical genius.
     
    Musical genius is well correlated to mathematical genius, so the likelihood of an African musical genius is exceptionally low. Will any of the Africans' compositions be known two hundred years from now? How many instruments have Africans invented? The African conception of music seems to be banging on hollow logs, chanting repetitively, and jumping up and down. This fits our current zeitgeist of idiocracy, but won't stand the test of time very well. Blues and jazz are areas where Africans have made notable contributions, but to label them "genius" is a perhaps a step too far. And today's (c)rap "music" or "hip-hop" (again with the jumping up and down) isn't even very authentically African. Jews have been deeply involved from the beginning and white "artists" like Robert Ritchie, Marshall Mathers, Michael Atha, Joseph Bruce, Joseph Utsler, and Jews Mike Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz have all reached the top of the charts.

    Like everything else, crediting Africans with this "musical genius" is akin to calling Ta-Neezy C a "literary genius." Because actual examples of African genius are staggeringly rare, we give them affirmative action points for showing up. Meanwhile, incredibly talented musicians around the country have to work two jobs and beg for money to keep the lights on in the symphony.
  49. “Name one black musical genius.”

    Scott Joplin.

  50. @Kylie
    @Dennis Dale

    Name one black musical genius.

    Replies: @Dennis Dale, @The most deplorable one, @Stan D Mute

    Okay Kylie. Give no quarter. I get it. But just like Steve likes to say “the truth is more interesting than lies”, it’s also more difficult and full of contradictions. You don’t want to acknowledge there’s anything to black cultural success. It’s all some sort of mass hokum. Maybe your strategy is right for the fight (and we are in a fight), and Lord knows the other side isn’t about to play fair by engaging in a nuanced debate seeking objective truth. But I’ve never had much stomach for fighting, or lying. Don’t worry, our kind will pass from the Earth soon enough, if current trends hold.

    But I view it this way: of course there’s something to the notion of black musical genius, but that doesn’t negate the fact there’s something to the perception of black intellectual inferiority. The two can even go hand-in-hand; when I see BLM protesters working themselves into tears over their absurd, imagined sorrows, I can’t help thinking there’s a relationship here to all those great bluesmen. Black people do suffering like nobody else; if no actual suffering is at hand, they’ll make it up. It’s actually dependent in part on a lesser ability or desire for abstract thought. Does this negate for me the value of blues, jazz, rock and roll? No; I’d just rather try and be adult about it, and accept the contradiction.

    Wu Tang Clan’s first record is as close to a masterpiece as pop music gets (and, no, it isn’t Bach, but must everything be?); at the same time, the members of Wu Tang are despicable, ridiculous, absurd, violent morons. So the success of black pop music may very well one key means of our destruction. It’s the soundtrack to our decline. But I can’t say it has no musical quality. Maybe we would be better off suppressing it. But I just think we should be honest, always, about what it is we’re up to. Like I said, this view is probably not long for this world, if it ever really had much of a hold in it in the first place.

    Maybe we all just need to get over this natural human impulse that says “I enjoy X, therefore X is good for me and good for the world.” Not at all. Life’s a bitch.

    • Replies: @Kylie
    @Dennis Dale

    Oh. I thought you'd say Art Tatum. Or Beethoven.

    I just asked you to name one black musical genius. I'm not sure how that led you to assert that I "don't want to acknowledge that there's anything to black cultural success". I don't happen to believe you must have genius to have cultural success. Take the UK. An astonishing amount of gorgeous music just pours out of.there yet I'm not sure the Brits have ever produced a musical genius. Purcell? Certainly nothing to compare with the number of musical geniuses the German-speaking countries have produced.

    As for blacks doing suffering like nobody else, I agree. But histrionic weeping and wailing makes for better theater than music.

    The whole concept of "genius" becomes meaningless if the definition is broadened to include the merely excellent rather than reserved for the exceedingly rare. But what do I know? Heck, I was middle-aged before I knew Beethoven was black.

  51. The most deplorable one [AKA "Fourth doorman of the apocalypse"] says:
    @Kylie
    @Dennis Dale

    Name one black musical genius.

    Replies: @Dennis Dale, @The most deplorable one, @Stan D Mute

    Who cares about musical geniuses. It’s not as if they are going to compete with Mozart or Beethoven.

    Where are the black computer geniuses that Hollywood promised us in Terminator II?

  52. WhatEvvs [AKA "Internet Addict"] says:
    @C. Van Carter
    @WhatEvvs

    Wallace Stevens won the poetry award that year. About 2015's poetry winner the National Book Foundation breathlessly tells us:


    Robin Coste Lewis’s electrifying collection is a triptych that begins and ends with lyric poems considering the roles desire and race play in the construction of the self. The central panel is the title poem, “Voyage of the Sable Venus,” a riveting narrative made up entirely of titles of artworks from ancient times to the present—titles that feature or in some way comment on the black female figure in Western art..."Voyage" is a tender and shocking study of the fragmentary mysteries of stereotype, as it juxtaposes our names for things with what we actually see and know. Offering a new understanding of biography and the self, this collection questions just where, historically, do ideas about the black female figure truly begin—five hundred years ago, five thousand, or even longer? ... this poet adores her culture and the beauty to be found within it. Yet she is also a cultural critic alert to the nuances of race and desire and how they define us all, including herself, as she explores her own sometimes painful history. Lewis’s book is a thrilling aesthetic anthem to the complexity of race—a full embrace of its pleasure and horror, in equal parts.
     
    Or even longer.

    Replies: @WhatEvvs

    Sable venus? LULZ.

    All 3 winners in 1955 were first class. Now look at 1956:

    http://www.nationalbook.org/nba1956.html#.Vk6QojZdFjq

    Look at that list – again, even the runners up are class acts.

    • Replies: @Brutusale
    @WhatEvvs

    Can you imagine a conversation between Ta-Neezy and 1956 finalist Murray Kempton, H.L. Mencken's copy boy at the Baltimore Sun and winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize?

    We really do live in a different world.

  53. @Dennis Dale
    @Kylie

    Okay Kylie. Give no quarter. I get it. But just like Steve likes to say "the truth is more interesting than lies", it's also more difficult and full of contradictions. You don't want to acknowledge there's anything to black cultural success. It's all some sort of mass hokum. Maybe your strategy is right for the fight (and we are in a fight), and Lord knows the other side isn't about to play fair by engaging in a nuanced debate seeking objective truth. But I've never had much stomach for fighting, or lying. Don't worry, our kind will pass from the Earth soon enough, if current trends hold.

    But I view it this way: of course there's something to the notion of black musical genius, but that doesn't negate the fact there's something to the perception of black intellectual inferiority. The two can even go hand-in-hand; when I see BLM protesters working themselves into tears over their absurd, imagined sorrows, I can't help thinking there's a relationship here to all those great bluesmen. Black people do suffering like nobody else; if no actual suffering is at hand, they'll make it up. It's actually dependent in part on a lesser ability or desire for abstract thought. Does this negate for me the value of blues, jazz, rock and roll? No; I'd just rather try and be adult about it, and accept the contradiction.

    Wu Tang Clan's first record is as close to a masterpiece as pop music gets (and, no, it isn't Bach, but must everything be?); at the same time, the members of Wu Tang are despicable, ridiculous, absurd, violent morons. So the success of black pop music may very well one key means of our destruction. It's the soundtrack to our decline. But I can't say it has no musical quality. Maybe we would be better off suppressing it. But I just think we should be honest, always, about what it is we're up to. Like I said, this view is probably not long for this world, if it ever really had much of a hold in it in the first place.

    Maybe we all just need to get over this natural human impulse that says "I enjoy X, therefore X is good for me and good for the world." Not at all. Life's a bitch.

    Replies: @Kylie

    Oh. I thought you’d say Art Tatum. Or Beethoven.

    I just asked you to name one black musical genius. I’m not sure how that led you to assert that I “don’t want to acknowledge that there’s anything to black cultural success”. I don’t happen to believe you must have genius to have cultural success. Take the UK. An astonishing amount of gorgeous music just pours out of.there yet I’m not sure the Brits have ever produced a musical genius. Purcell? Certainly nothing to compare with the number of musical geniuses the German-speaking countries have produced.

    As for blacks doing suffering like nobody else, I agree. But histrionic weeping and wailing makes for better theater than music.

    The whole concept of “genius” becomes meaningless if the definition is broadened to include the merely excellent rather than reserved for the exceedingly rare. But what do I know? Heck, I was middle-aged before I knew Beethoven was black.

  54. @Kylie
    @Dennis Dale

    Name one black musical genius.

    Replies: @Dennis Dale, @The most deplorable one, @Stan D Mute

    Name one black musical genius.

    Musical genius is well correlated to mathematical genius, so the likelihood of an African musical genius is exceptionally low. Will any of the Africans’ compositions be known two hundred years from now? How many instruments have Africans invented? The African conception of music seems to be banging on hollow logs, chanting repetitively, and jumping up and down. This fits our current zeitgeist of idiocracy, but won’t stand the test of time very well. Blues and jazz are areas where Africans have made notable contributions, but to label them “genius” is a perhaps a step too far. And today’s (c)rap “music” or “hip-hop” (again with the jumping up and down) isn’t even very authentically African. Jews have been deeply involved from the beginning and white “artists” like Robert Ritchie, Marshall Mathers, Michael Atha, Joseph Bruce, Joseph Utsler, and Jews Mike Diamond, Adam Yauch, and Adam Horovitz have all reached the top of the charts.

    Like everything else, crediting Africans with this “musical genius” is akin to calling Ta-Neezy C a “literary genius.” Because actual examples of African genius are staggeringly rare, we give them affirmative action points for showing up. Meanwhile, incredibly talented musicians around the country have to work two jobs and beg for money to keep the lights on in the symphony.

  55. @WhatEvvs
    @C. Van Carter

    Sable venus? LULZ.

    All 3 winners in 1955 were first class. Now look at 1956:

    http://www.nationalbook.org/nba1956.html#.Vk6QojZdFjq

    Look at that list - again, even the runners up are class acts.

    Replies: @Brutusale

    Can you imagine a conversation between Ta-Neezy and 1956 finalist Murray Kempton, H.L. Mencken’s copy boy at the Baltimore Sun and winner of both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize?

    We really do live in a different world.

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