Look Everybody I'm A Silly Microphone Crumb...

Paul Shirley offers his reasons for not donating to Haiti:

My wariness has much to do with the fact that the sympathy deployed to Haiti has been done so unconditionally. Very few have said, written, or even intimated the slightest admonishment of Haiti, the country, for putting itself into a position where so many would be killed by an earthquake.

Read the rest. The argument isn't worth much. But you should read it, in the way you'd watch an episode of Real Housewives Of Atlanta. The show works by assembling a cast of people who think they're monied elite, and then allowing them to exhibit all the reasons why they are neither monied nor elite. It's funny to watch some idiot run up a 25k credit card bill--on camera--and then stare at you as though you should be impressed.

Ditto for Paul Shirley. He thinks he's saying something profound and contrarian, when really his column is pedestrian and callow.  Like Real Housewives, it's his self-delusion that's intoxicating; his impressive brew, not just of ignorance, not just of ignorance of one's own ignorance, but of mistaking his ignorance for a kind of savvy.

If you're angry at Shirley, you're doing it all wrong. If you're calling for Shirley to never write for ESPN again, you're doing it all wrong. You should be laughing. Paul Shirley doesn't deserve your rage--better men than him have worked harder and longer to earn your rage. He deserves your mockery.


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Ta-Nehisi Coates is a national correspondent at The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of the memoir The Beautiful Struggle.

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