I have a hard time calling Ta-Nahisi Coates a journalist. (He does something more) Though it’s clear he does journalism, he’s a bit more than that. I’m not going to call him a thought leader or any garbage like that. I’m not going to call him an advocate, which I guess, some people use as a smear for journalists on the left and the right.
Public intellectual kind of fits.
While I don’t always agree with Coates, I’m infinitely jealous of his prodigious talents, particularly his ability to make a reader pause and think.
Today, we find out that he’s been given a “Macarthur Genius Grant.”
It’s a pretty big deal, if you don’t know about them.
Coates clearly deserves this.
What makes him so good? I’ve always assumed it was something simple. That was confirmed in a write-up by Yoni Appelbaum in “The Atlantic.”
Every day, The Southpaw finds a sentence that makes him think or laugh. It can come from a song, a poem, a book, a newspaper article. It’s a daily celebration of our odd – and yet beautiful – language.
“He’s never stopped asking questions.”
That is the backbone of a journalist, a public intellectual, a teacher and a patriot.
Congrats, Mr. Coates.