Against Politics

Below is a good conversation about Malcolm X. Regrettably, no less than half the thread is filled with, frankly, boring debates about whether Malcolm X was a socialist or not, whether Barack Obama is "curious" or not, and so forth. One of the good things about this blog is it attracts a lot of smart people looking for a good discussion. 


But in pursuit of that discussion, what we've gotten a lot of lately is kind of parsing that intentionally avoids the forest for the trees. So a comparison between Malcolm X and Barack Obama is worthless if some futuristic Malcolm can be conjured to disagree with the War on Terror. Moreover, the parsing really offers only a thin cover for whatever political points the poster wants to score. This is that rare case, where the malady afflicts both liberal and conservative posters here. It makes for incredibly dogmatic, plodding and uninteresting reading. It's like being back in a freshman dorm--but with no one passing any blunts.

I am a liberal. But I can not spend every single thread using whatever I'm reading as evidence for the evils of the Tea Party, or the shortcomings of Barack Obama. It just so predictable and easy. There will be more Malcolm threads this week. The lens to apply is literary, not policy. If you're only here to gather evidence for a facebook fight with your conservative or liberal relatives, do yourself a favor and have a beer while reading a Rasmussen poll.

I'll be deleting more tomorrow. We're not doing this again.

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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