Coates on Grant

Ta-Nehisi Coates up with a post on U.S. Grant (what an American name, by the way. And his first name was Ulysses? Sure his parents were tanners, but they did set him up for great things, didn’t they? [Update: d’uh, since his name was given to him when he arrived at West Point.] I named my son after my father’s nickname, Brad. [My dad’s real name is Burdette. So Brad did dodge something there. And there is Brad Pitt…]) Speaking of Grant, I’ve been making my way later at night through Ken Burns’ The Civil War on Netflix on demand. I know that anyone sounds like a great prose stylist when you have Morgan Freedman et al. reading your lines, but even your undereducated soldier manages to have lines that rise to the moment. (Is there any more haunting letter than the one read at the end of episode 1 to his wife, only to die one week later at the Battle of Bull Run?)

Politically, there’s a great line from the first episode, too, that I’ll have write down at some point, but I remember from when I first saw the series as a kid: the war was fought, McCullough intones near the intro, to make everything that gave rise to the War unthinkable. In there is the whole temporality of the event in Badiou, isn’t it?