Here is his latest, very long form article, from The Atlantic.
Most of the time, I actually agree with the substance of his articles for The Atlantic. But, he seems have become a darling of the NPR crowd, he comes off as amazingly arrogant during interviews.
His writing has become increasingly pompous and I can almost see him sneering down from his ivory tower at all the people in disgust.
‘My President Was Black’ was fawned over because it was published right at the end of Obama’s presidency as we were all nervous about Trump.
Both articles are suitable only for graduate level liberal arts classes. He loves to throw out obscure quotes to show us how brilliant he is and flaunt his SAT vocabulary. I don’t mind articles written with a college level vocabulary, but Mr. Coates seems to want to show off, rather than pick appropriate words.
I won’t waste my time reading his essays in the future.
I agree with the OP. I feel Coates is trying to show off with his writing.
Here’s a passage from the article:
Truculent? Sanctimonious? Maidenhood? Dicta? Alchemize? Profligate? Yes, I know what these words mean. But were they necessary? Could other more common words have expressed the same message?
I use a lot of fancy words. But I don’t use them unless I feel they express what I’m trying to say better than any simpler words would. I don’t use alchemize if change or transform will work just as well.
Coates’ sentence construction is also unnecessarily complicated. “Trump inaugurated his campaign by casting himself as the defender of white maidenhood against Mexican “rapists,” only to be later alleged by multiple accusers, and by his own proud words, to be a sexual violator himself.” By my count, there are nine separate elements in that sentence. Readers are going to have a hard time following that path of words.
I also don’t feel Coates makes a compelling argument. He argues that Trump’s power derives from white supremacy. As evidence to support this argument, he repeats it several times.
So I agree with the OP. There may be some substance to what Coates is saying. But he does a bad job of saying it.