Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn’t know it, but he absolutely destroyed my friend Eli Lake’s entire style. Eli, of course, came up with the term "Juicebox Mafia," which, as I wrote to him at the time, doesn’t actually make any sense for a number of reasons. Still, the name stuck, and Ta-Nehisi, reacting to Adam’s piece, writes:

 The real issue is a shocking lack of imagination among the Jewish people. Seriously, how could those who gave us Phillip Roth and Michael Chabon also give us a phrase as unliterary, and unevocative as "Juicebox Mafia?"

That’s the most cold-blooded insult I could imagine delivering. Eli, your attempt at insulting me proves you’re not creative enough to be Jewish! I’ll let him explain it himself on Elaketricity, but he once told me he was trying to play off Three 6 Mafia. Which still doesn’t make any sense. Read your A.B. I.B. Singer, kid. I’ll give you my library card. [Update: Isaac Bashevis Singer. Yes, yes. I played myself and stepped on my own line.]

Anyway, Eli is a good man, a good friend, a good Hebrew, and especially a good reporter, as proven by this excellent Iraq piece today.

Spencer Ackerman

Spencer Ackerman

3 Comments