The Elephant In The Room

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I've gotten a few e-mails about this, so I'll note  that I don't have much to say about Wieseltier's piece on my band-mate. I tried to read it, and thought he had a few interesting things to say (the third section about ethnic groups and humanistic values may be something) but I found it really, really difficult to read. At least as far as I got, I found it overwrought and gleefully mean, and that made me distrust the pieces central tenet--that there's "something darker" at work in Sullivan's Israel critique.

In fairness, I'll add that I was already skeptical. For obvious reasons, I've found Andrew to be, at times, infuriating. But I don't think that has to do with a particular animus, as much as it has to do with an attraction to what he believes to be going unsaid. The more it strikes him as something that people won't say, the more he's attracted. For the better and the worse. I'm not saying that his critique of Israel is literally the same as investigating race and IQ. But I suspect that the stridency of his rhetoric comes from a similar place. (Ditto with Palin and Trig, btw.)

All of that said, I never got the sense that Wieseltier actually proved that "something darker" was at work. It just felt like he was saying it out of anger. Maybe he pulled it out at the end. My experience says that almost never happens. So I stopped reading. I'm willing to bet some of you made it through and can offer some more thorough opinions.

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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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