The Hobgoblin of History

Via Vulture, a few words on two friends of the room:


Scribe Michael Chabon and his wife, author Ayelet Waldman, have set up an offbeat drama project at HBO that revolves around a motley group of conmen and magicians who use their skills at deception to battle Hitler and his forces during WWII.

This is excellent news for the Nazis...

More seriously, one of the cool things about Kav and Clay (which I'll finish directly after this Austen binge) was how the book seems to not succumb to the great and impending, historical tragedy. The Holocaust is there, present and a fact. But it doesn't mean that there aren't Jewish prostitutes or Jewish magicians or Jewish people laughing. In other words, there's this great power in watching the magic of life proceed amidst incoming and unknowable horror.

I've spent some time thinking about that, and my own attempts to plumb the depths of American history. My least favorite black books are not tragic, so much as they submit to tragedy. (Native Son is exhibit A for me.) It's one of the reasons I loved The Intuitionist so much. So for sure, the geek in me was really into the elevators dynamic. But more than that, I just thought it was completely different way of looking at the recent African-American past. 

Anyway, these are all lessons I'm taking as I develop my own taste and aesthetics. For anyone taking notes the basics seem as follows---Awesome sentences, good. Didactic treatises on the Communist Party, bad.
Presented by

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.

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it. They are repulsed by it."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

The Horrors of Rat Hole Mining

"The river was our source of water. Now, the people won't touch it."

Video

What's Your Favorite Slang Word?

From "swag" to "on fleek," tweens choose.

Video

Cryotherapy's Dubious Appeal

James Hamblin tries a questionable medical treatment.

Video

Confessions of Moms Around the World

In Europe, mothers get maternity leave, discounted daycare, and flexible working hours.

Video

How Do Trees Know When It's Spring?

The science behind beautiful seasonal blooming

More in Entertainment

From This Author

Just In