Some things don’t change.Today was one of my recurring internet storms, this time about Ta-Nehisi Coates and how liking him a lot is not liking him enough. Like every other internet storm I’ve been in, people want to believe that this is the big one — that this is the one that will really matter, that this is the one that will really get to me. They said that about the ones in 2008, and in 2009, and in 2010, and in 2011, and in 2012, and in 2013, and in 2014. Some things don’t change. They didn’t like me then; they don’t like me now. Then I was just a guy with a Blogger account; today I’m just a guy with a WordPress account. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a Snapchat channel, who knows. I do listen. I’ve always listened.
I did say, in 2008, that Coates might not have been ready to move up to the Atlantic. To be honest with you, I had forgotten. For context, that was when I really had very few people reading me, and it certainly wasn’t predicated on the idea that I was a big deal — I wasn’t and I’m not. But it was a shitty, childish thing to say and it clearly has been proven totally wrong. I wish I hadn’t written it. I was 26. Not much of an excuse, but best I got. The rest, well. I told the truth. And I said I thought he was good. Best I can do for you.
Somebody told me today I’ll never get professional writing work again. Maybe they’re right. I appreciate the work I get, and if I stop getting it, I’ll move on. Someone said that this will hurt me on the academic job market. This all already hurts me on the job market. Some people say that they’re all making fun of me. But they always were. Some things don’t change. They used to say I was leftier-than-thou, that I always wanted to be left-of-left. Now they say I’m anti-left. I guess that changed. But I didn’t change.
I still like Ta-Nehisi Coates. I just reread his case for reparations. It’s still really good, like I said at the time, like I’ll say again. Some things don’t change.