Ta-Nehisi Coates has a masterful column today exploring one of his common themes, culture, and how it reflects on Romney’s ignorant slander of the Palestinian people. Having grown up, then made his career, in two dramatically different cultures, he is well-placed to compare and contrast:

When people invoke culture in the Romney manner, what they are really invoking is a scale by which humanity may be ranked from totally dysfunctional to totally awesome. The idea is that culture is a set of irrefutable best practices, when in fact it is more like a toolbox whose efficacy depends upon the job. If you want to create a nation with a dominant entertainment media, perhaps American culture is the way to go. If you’re uninterested in presiding over a nation with 25 percent of the world’s prisoners but only 5 percent of its population, perhaps not.

I’m sorely tempted to quote the final graf, but I won’t spoil it for you. Suffice to say it’s Coates straight slicing fools. Check it out.

Follow Ryan on Twitter and his website; follow the magazine @washmonthly.

Ryan Cooper

Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanlcooper. Ryan Cooper is a national correspondent at The Week. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The New Republic, and The Nation.