My friend and RedState colleague Dan McLaughlin has written an article for the Federalist on the myriad differences between the Ferguson riots and the Stamp Act protests/ original Boston Tea Party*. It is well-written, historically-aware, perfectly correct… and absolutely useless in terms of its original purpose, which was to try to educate writers like Ta-Nehisi Coates and/or Jamelle Bouie (both named in Dan’s essay). There’s a reason for that.
I see this happen a lot, actually: there’s a definite core goal mismatch between the Right’s writers and the Left’s here. OK, OK, to be fair: some of the Right’s writers and some of the Left’s. There have been a noteworthy number of people pushing back against their own side’s various narratives in the last few weeks. But in this case Dan ended up addressing and countering an ‘argument’ that Mr. Coates and Mr. Bouie don’t actually take seriously at all. You see, both of them are actually producers of what is frankly an extremely narrow and stylized form of political pornography: Coates and Bouie are not trying to really convince anybody of anything. They’re trying to disseminate pay copy that will make their largely white, affluent, and progressive audience feel good. That is not entirely why they have their jobs (both can write coherently in English**), but it is the primary reason that they’re making their mortgage/car payments.
Don’t get me wrong. I understand the need to engage the arguments of the Other Side. It’s just that, under the circumstances, I don’t see much point in doing so here. How do you engage somebody when the primary motivation of that somebody is to fully experience how wonderful their hand is feeling, shoved down there inside their pants?
Moe Lane (crosspost)
PS: I should probably note that I don’t particularly begrudge Ta-Nehisi Coates or JamelleBouie their gigs: I might if they were selling to the same audience as I was, but they’re not. In other words, I look upon their work the same way that I would look upon any other personally distasteful fetish pornography that nonetheless involves consenting adults: it’s all very furtive and sticky, but somebody has to peddle it, apparently. Just don’t expect me to take their work any more seriously in a public policy context than I would a clown porn video.
*Short version: Ha! Not even close. And anybody who tells you otherwise should wear a sign that said “Hi! I flunked all my classes in American history!”
**This particular quality can be surprisingly hard to find in this business. And don’t get me started on the people who think that they can write poetry…