At any given moment in the past thirty years there is some story in the news which, if I permitted myself to think about it for more than a couple of minutes, would lead me to the conclusion that I live in a society that has gone barking mad.
The current story that does that is the one about Ta-Nehisi Coates being given a MacArthur Foundation grant — $125,000 a year for five years — presumably for his bestselling book about some badwhite woman shoving his kid on an escalator.
In a society where stuff like this happens, it's absurd, and a bit sad, to talk about meritocracy. Of what does Coates' merit consist? What justifies this grant? He hasn't done anything useful and is not very good at his trade, which is writing.
But of course we all know what's going on here. This is a skirmish in the Cold Civil War. Coates, meritless in himself, is just a handy token. This is goodwhite elites — as represented by the MacArthur Foundation — sticking a finger in the collective eye of badwhites.
This is just affirmative action taken to the next level. Coates got the grant for being this year's Pet Black, just as Barack Obama got the Nobel Prize for being Pet Black of 2008. It's goodwhites' way of mocking and humiliating the tens of millions of nonblacks who are better writers than Coates, the tens of millions who are worthier of a Nobel Prize, on any rational meritocratic basis, than Obama.
In other words, it's goodwhites jeering at badwhites. There isn't much we can do but jeer back, so that's what Radio Derb will do.
To the Board of Directors of the MacArthur Foundation — to Julia Stasch, Marjorie Scardino, Jack Fuller, Donald Hopkins, Daniel Huttenlocher, Joi Ito, Julie Katzman, Paul Klingenstein, Martha Minow, Sendhil Mullainathan, and Claude Steele — to these persons I say: Kiss my badwhite bum, you stinking creeps.
To Ta-Nehisi Coates I say: Hey, guy, how ya doin'?
01m03s— Fifty years of demographic revolution. (What came before the 1965 Immigration Act?)
09m22s— The Great Society’s most thoughtless act. (But what a grand moral gesture!)
19m57s— What’s wrong with demographic stability? (Are Americans better off for the 1965 Act?)
23m59s— Tax fatalism. (Excuse my cynicism.)
28m55s— Fall of the meritocracy. (What is a fair society?)
35m24s— Goodwhites jeer. (While feeding their token pet.)
38m32s— Remembering Ali-Frazier. (Another stretch of territory ceded.)
40m52s— Rushing the shooter. (It can be done.)
43m22s— Bad liver and a broken heart. (And your next Netflix rental.)