The Hobgoblin of History

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/03/the-hobgoblin-of-history/72185/