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Nov 12 2013

Simple answers for stupid people

Richard Cohen, one of the dumber conservatives to have a cushy job as a pundit, comments on the Republican Party.

Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled — about the expansion of government, about immigration, about secularism, about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children. (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?) This family represents the cultural changes that have enveloped parts — but not all — of America. To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

Pro-tip: if you find yourself gagging at the thought of interracial marriage, you are racist. You are so racist you are choking on your own racism.

Bonus! If you find yourself uncomfortable with the thought that someone’s partner might have once had a same-sex relationship, you’re also homophobic!

That’s the state of America’s Republicans: racist and homophobic and so stupid that they don’t even realize it.


You want a useful roundup of Cohen’s past idiocies? You got it. It leaves out the time he told a young girl she didn’t need algebra, though.


Aww, Cohen’s feelings are hurt because everyone is calling him a racist. His defense? It’s because he’s a liberal.

Cohen has been criticized for his comments on race in the past. When asked why he thought it was that he keeps getting caught up in racially charged arguments, he said that its because people view him as a liberal and find some of his positions unconventional. "Every once in a while I take an unconventional stance as a liberal — as someone who has always been called a liberal," he said. "If someone on the right wrote this, no one would care. No one would make a big deal about it but because I veer every once in awhile from orthodoxy, or maybe more than once in awhile, I get plastered this way."

Fuck him. Go read Ta-Nehisi Coates instead.

129 comments

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  1. 1
    anteprepro

    So the “conventional views” of “cultural conservatives” involves being disgusted with interracial marriage and bi-racial children. It really is nice when the hard right confirm what liberals have been saying about them all along, while pretending that they are refuting it. Brilliant, really.

  2. 2
    ChasCPeterson

    ffs. “gag reflex”? really??
    Fuck you, Cohen, and the “conventional views” you rode in on.

  3. 3
    Randomfactor

    That’s the state of America’s Republicans: racist and homophobic and so stupid

    …and losing because of it.

  4. 4
    doublereed

    Wow, hate speech in the Washington Post.

  5. 5
    anteprepro

    Not so familiar with Cohen. Found some interesting bits on wikipedia:

    Cohen wrote, “The evidence Colin Powell presented to the United Nations — some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail — had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn’t accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool — or possibly a Frenchman — could conclude otherwise.”[5] Cohen also wrote that he believed “the prudent use of violence could be therapeutic” after the events of 9/11.

    Cohen wrote a column in 1986 which argued owners of jewelry stores were right to refuse to allow entry to young black men because of a fear of crime. This column led to the Washington Post having to apologize

    The column went on to say that Cohen “can understand why Zimmerman was suspicious and why he thought Martin was wearing a uniform we all recognize;” in any case, he also points out that “What I’m trying to deal with is, I’m trying to remove this fear from racism. I don’t think it’s racism to say, ‘this person looks like a menace,’”…..Towards the end of the column, Cohen calls Trayvon Martin “a young man understandably suspected because he was black”.[13]

    is a four-time Pulitzer Prize finalist in the “Commentary” category

    Speaking of gag reflexes.

  6. 6
    Anthony K

    Today’s GOP is not racist…People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.

    This is, of course, the man who watched 12 Years a Slave and realised that slavery was not such a great time for the slaves:

    I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life. For instance, it was not George A. Custer who was attacked at the Little Bighorn. It was Custer — in a bad career move — who attacked the Indians. Much more important, slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks. Slavery was a lifetime’s condemnation to an often violent hell in which people were deprived of life, liberty and, too often, their own children. Happiness could not be pursued after that.

    But maybe Cohen is right. Maybe this is the shit people are taught in the US. Maybe this is why Tea Party fuckfaces can say that Frederick Douglass should have been grateful to his slave masters “for giving him food and shelter”.

  7. 7
    omnicrom

    To cultural conservatives, this doesn’t look like their country at all.

    Good. Because the country cultural conservatives want is racist, sexist, theocratic, and willfully ignorant, just like they seem to be. I’m therefore quite happy that cultural conservatives don’t see themselves when they look at America, but I’m not happy that they’re leveraging all their money and power to try and make America racist, sexist, theocratic, and willfully ignorant. Humanity is quite good at doing that all on its own sirs, we don’t need any help to make us any more retrograde.

  8. 8
    johnrockoford

    One correction: Cohen is supposed to be one of the “liberal” voices in WaPo’s stable or pundits. I’m serious. He even wears nerdy round glasses.

  9. 9
    raven

    I’m sure Richard Cohen is aware the most prominent biracial in America is…President Obama.

    I’m sure he has his gag reflex every time he things of Obama.

    And it would be a better world if he actually vomited and then choked on it.

  10. 10
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    Towards the end of the column, Cohen calls Trayvon Martin “a young man understandably suspected because he was black.”

    0_0

    Hi. I’m Richard Cohen. You may remember me from hits like, “Killing Foreigners Is Good For The Soul,” and “If You’re Black, You’re Suspicious, Unless You’re Urging Us To Kill Foreigners.” Now, for the first time ever, I’d like to present my new masterpiece, “I’m Not Racist, I’m A Conventional Realist.” This is my best album since “Don’t Shoot! I’m White!”

  11. 11
    raven

    I’m sure Richard Cohen is aware the most prominent biracial in America is…President Obama.

    I’m sure he has his gag reflex every time he things of Obama.

    It would be a better world if he spent the next 3 years continuously vomiting. Oh wait, that is what he does for a living, vomiting hate and gibberish in his columns.

  12. 12
    anteprepro

    One correction: Cohen is supposed to be one of the “liberal” voices in WaPo’s stable or pundits. I’m serious. He even wears nerdy round glasses.

    Disturbingly, this is true. Even the column in question has Cohen painting himself as a moderate Republican who just happens to be tut-tutting a fellow moderate Republican for not being extreme enough to appease the Tea Party Republican that apparently Iowans crave.

    If that sounds like a barely coherent argument: that is the inevitable result of an inane pseudointellectual and flaming racist pretending to be The Voice of Reason.

  13. 13
    robro

    doublereed @ #4

    Wow, hate speech in the Washington Post.

    My reaction, too, but then anteprepro @ #5 draws on some additional disgusting bits that Cohen also wrote for the WP. And I thought the Post was one of those bastions of liberal journalism.

    Anthony K @ #6

    But maybe Cohen is right. Maybe this is the shit people are taught in the US.

    Such shit as slavery was not only benign but good for slaves may not be taught in public schools, but it was certainly accepted wisdom and often said by White people in the South when I was a kid in the 50s-60s. I heard my father assert it many times. Actually, this stupidity is taught in A Beka Books as we’ve seen in these posts, which are used in church schools and for home schooling. As for Custer, probably most people in the US only know what they saw in some movie which like the Bible is always reliable history…right?

  14. 14
    Inaji

    People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.

    Gag reflex? Really? Golly, if it’s that terrible and it’s not your country anymore, well, people such as yourself have a saying about loving it or leaving it.

    (Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?)

    Or perhaps she’s bisexual, you twit.

  15. 15
    Anthony K

    one of the dumber conservatives to have a cushy job as a pundit

    [Please don't let one of the unnamed conservative pundits to which you are referring as less dumb be Andrew Sullivan. Please don't let one of the unnamed conservative pundits to which you are referring as less dumb be Andrew Sullivan.]

  16. 16
    blf

    Maybe this is the shit people are taught in the US.

    No, it is not, or at least was not in the California public school system decades ago. I was bloody well taught about the racist wars on the natives and the horrors of slavery. The main related point I can now recall being taught which was bullshite was the reason for the Civil War was something nebulous called “state’s rights” when it was quite explicitly about slavery (see, for instance, the Texas succession document or the speeches of the confederate vice president).

    It would not surprise me if the wingnut  /fundie cesspool of “home schooling” and/or religious “colleges” “teaches” crap like that.

  17. 17
    robro

    johnrockoford @ #8

    One correction: Cohen is supposed to be one of the “liberal” voices in WaPo’s stable or pundits. I’m serious. He even wears nerdy round glasses.

    Not only that, he sports a beard. He is, I suppose, describing the reaction of the “conventional conservative” not his own, but some of the other quotes that anteprepro pulled from Ppppfff…well, you gotta wonder what “liberal” must mean at WP. Actually, I don’t wonder…the notion of “liberal journalism” is just another American myth manufactured by and for the ruling class and their politicians.

  18. 18
    Area Man

    The worst of it is, Cohen is considered one of the “liberal” voices at the WaPo. To be a liberal in good standing at that paper, you have to spend your time bashing other liberals and constantly attempting to validate right-wing beliefs.

  19. 19
    Anthony K

    Or perhaps she’s bisexual, you twit.

    That’s probably no less mortifying to Richard Cohen. Guy won’t even ride bicycles thanks to their first syllable.

  20. 20
    Holms

    Yet more evidence in support of my pet theory:
    Any statement taking the form “I’m not X, but…” will be tremendously X.

  21. 21
    awakeinmo

    Avo, also nigelTheBold @#10

    In my head, your comment was in Troy McClure’s voice. Thanks for the giggle.

    Also, is it wrong of me to delight in watching a group of people panic as their way of life disintegrates? I want to be a kind, compassionate person, but the schadenfreude is just so delicious.

  22. 22
    Anthony K

    Kidding about the bicycles, of course. It’s the Wall Street Journal that hates bikes.

  23. 23
    andersk3

    No Richard, you shouldn’t “mention it.” But you did use seriatim so you sound educated. I should probably believe you.

  24. 24
    anteprepro

    No, it is not, or at least was not in the California public school system decades ago.

    Same for Massachusetts public school system. I would say that maybe the issue was that he was educated in a deep red state, but….nope. New Fucking York. Maybe he just had a really sucky history teacher. Or maybe he only believes what he wants to believe and dines on nationalistic propaganda and right-wing idiocy far too often to not get alarmed when he temporarily lifts his head from his bowl of bullshit and gets a fleeting glimpse of reality.

  25. 25
    rdnaskela

    Wow, This hits close to home. I’m actually a white man, married to a black woman, with two bi-racial children, and my wife used to be a lesbian. (in other-words, she’s bi-sexual). I had no idea how much gagging we’re causing my conservative family, and friends. If this is indeed true, fuck them all.

  26. 26
    OptimalCynic

    It’s not that long ago that most of the Christians in America would have a similar gag reflex at the idea of Mr Cohen marrying their daughter.

  27. 27
    Lynna, OM

    Cohen is getting a lot helpful feedback on twitter:

    Big day in media moves. Brian Stelter to CNN. Matt Bai to Yahoo. Richard Cohen to the 1860s.

    We all know this ends with Richard Cohen landing a Dally Caller column.

    Richard Cohen sure has a funny way of saying he no longer likes being paid to write stuff.

    On behalf of the Jewish people, can we give Richard Cohen back?

    Gag on this Richard Cohen: In U.S., 87% Approve of Black-White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958.

    So in the end, what Richard Cohen and his editor deserve to be fired for is their persistent, lazy chronic racism.

    What do you think Richard Cohen calls biracial kids in his head?

    If you write for a major paper & think reasonable people physically suppress an urge to vomit at interracial families– what then is FRINGE?

    You’d think Richard Cohen & conservatives would be thrilled that a white man converted a black feminist lesbian to heterosexuality

  28. 28
    robinjohnson

    Is it possible that he has a point, but he had to say “cultural conservative” instead of “fucking racist”?

  29. 29
    Chaos Engineer

    To be a liberal in good standing at that paper, you have to spend your time bashing other liberals and constantly attempting to validate right-wing beliefs.

    Yes, but only the right-wing beliefs that Corporate America wants to push. I don’t think this is one of those – I think it’s just Cohen slipping into “Crabby Old White Guy”-mode.

    It used to be that newspapers had “editors” who would look for things like this and try to fix them. It might have been possible to salvage it by changing “conventional views” to “antiquated views” or “reactionary views”…but those are awkward, so it would have been better to strike the DiBlasio parts completely; the paragraph doesn’t need them, and he’s not relevant to a column about the Republican presidential primaries.

    Of course, editors are the first thing to go when you start looking for ways to increase the profit margin: “Our goal is to put words on the page as cheaply as possible. Why are we paying people to take words off the page?!~”

  30. 30
    CaitieCat, in no way a robot nosireebot

    I honestly do not get this. I don’t understand how people can have that reaction. Or that he can think (and probably be right) that this is a common view. I just don’t get it. I know that some do, I’m not talking about my (former) white-privilege vantage on being surprised about this, I just don’t get what it is about seeing two people and their kids that I should find disgusting, especially to the point of physical nausea.

    It’s weird. Vile and inhuman and in no way novel, but weird. The statement makes no more sense to me than if he’d stood on his head riding an upside-down unicycle and singing the Marseillaise accompanied by sixteen tone-deaf monkfish with badly-tuned glockenspiels, and a syphilitic goat wearing a blue teddy and talking of fish banana old pyjama grout.

  31. 31
    gussnarp

    @Anthony K #6: I certainly didn’t learn that in Milwaukee schools, Jacksonville schools, or central Florida schools. Certainly I didn’t learn it in college. I had to look Cohen up on Wikipedia, and he’s an earlier generation than I am, so I might have said maybe, especially if he was educated in the South. But no, he went to school in Far Rockaway. Then college at CUNY and Columbia. So no, he has no excuse for claiming he used to believe that nonsense, unless bad cowboy movies constituted the entirety of his history education.

  32. 32
    Leo Buzalsky

    I did have a question as a privileged white straight male, but I think rdnaskela @25 already answered it. I’ve been a bit bothered by people saying that Chirlane McCray used to be a lesbian. My thoughts all along have been, “Have people forgotten that there is a ‘B’ in LGBT?” But my question for those who are LGBT is if it is even acceptable to even speculate that she may be bisexual? (Noting, though, that I really don’t care what she is because it really isn’t my business; I’m only asking because other people seem to care and I think it may be worth correcting people when they are wrong. Or maybe I should just ask “Why does that matter?” and not bother suggesting that she may be bisexual.)

  33. 33
    gussnarp

    When I read that someone actually said this, outside of the Washington Times, Fox News, or Stormfront, after I get over my initial stunned horror, I realize that there are people out there who not only feel this way, but actually believe it’s socially acceptable. This, I think, is because decent people want to be polite and simply assume that everyone knows that what the one racist ass-hat at the party said is bullshit and no one approves of it, but the racist ass-hat takes their polite and stunned silence as acceptance, and so do one or two kind-of racist but still redeemable people who wouldn’t have said that out loud, but who because of the silence absorb that message as socially acceptable and become less redeemable and eventually vomit it up on the pages of the Washington Post. This is why when someone says something hateful we have to call them on it, even if it feels a bit rude to do so, and even if they will say we are being too “PC” or that we ought to “lighten up” and can’t we “take a joke?” Don’t we have a “sense of humor?”

  34. 34
    unclefrogy

    isn’t wonderful that all we have to do is allow the not racist conservatives keep talking to reveal how much they do not really believe in real democracy nor the rights and privileges out lined in the constitution. That they are in fact and behavior as bad and ignorant as any stereo type red neck Bubba cartoon.
    keep talking guys see if you can gain support with the young and the minorities and women that’s how you do out reach!
    uncle frogy

  35. 35
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @blf #16:

    No, it is not, or at least was not in the California public school system decades ago.

    FWIW, we watched Roots in 8th grade Social Studies back in the mid-80s. In small-town South Dakota. Not exactly a positive portrayal of slavery, though I suppose Cohen somehow missed the entire miniseries.

  36. 36
    gussnarp

    @Leo Buzalsky #32: I too suffer from terminal straight, white, cis maleness, but in my view, since sexuality is a spectrum not a set of three distinct boxes, the best thing to do is to eschew labels in general unless the person in question makes it clear they want to use a label for their identity. In this case, Chilane McCray is on record as saying she doesn’t want to be referred to as bisexual because she hates labels and “In the 1970s, I identified as a lesbian and wrote about it. In 1991, I met the love of my life, married him.”

    That should really be the end of it, and Cohen’s comment that she “used to be a lesbian” is just in keeping with the insulting, hateful ignorance of his entire quote.

  37. 37
    anuran

    Fucking idiot. He doesn’t realize how fragile his White Privilege is. Jews and Italians and the Irish weren’t White until well into the middle of the 20th century. And Arabs were White but aren’t any more. He doesn’t realize he could become one of “Them” with another small turn of the Wheel.

    And what would he do then? Complain that his former buds weren’t being fair?

  38. 38
    Naked Bunny with a Whip

    @gussnarp #36:

    Cohen’s comment that she “used to be a lesbian” is just in keeping with the insulting, hateful ignorance of his entire quote.

    It read like a shout-out to the “ex-gay” crowd to me. It doesn’t fit into his thesis at all, unless Cohen thinks lesbianism leaves some sort of gag-inducing afterimage that conservatives can see.

  39. 39
    scienceavenger

    …slavery was not a benign institution in which mostly benevolent whites owned innocent and grateful blacks

    No shit. I was educated in Virginia and Texas and even there no one tried to assert such nonsense.

  40. 40
    robro

    More on this story over at Salon. Mary Elizabeth Williams does an excellent job of skewering Cohen. Check it out if you have any doubts about where he is coming from. After she points out his take on the Steubenville rape (it’s Miley’s fault) and Switzerland’s harboring of Roman Polanski, she notes: ‘The same man who, fascinatingly enough, has reportedly been reprimanded for “inappropriate behavior” toward a much younger colleague.’

  41. 41
    Tony! The Fucking Queer Shoop!

    Gussnarp:
    Speaking of “Can’t you take a joke”, one of the responses to Cohen’s piece:

    There seem to be some reading comprehension issues going on here. What this guy is saying is clearly sasrcasm as evidenced by everything that came before : “Ted Cruz’s dad is against almost everything”, Sarah Palin is not the “more literate” type of candidate. Then he says something to the effect of “these people consider themselves not racist so, ok, they’re not racist except they hate black people (and lesbians)”. That is clearly a joke. Imagine it being made by Tina Fey or the Onion and you would get it.

    In my brief look at the comments, I was happy to see several people criticize Cohen for his racist remarks.

  42. 42
    robertbaden

    Chaos Engineer @ 20.

    This sounds more like “Crabby Old White Person” to me.

    My parents were an interracial couple, and I heard stories about how mom could hear white women whisper “He married Her?”

  43. 43
    robertbaden

    That should be at @29. Sorry

  44. 44
    Dutchgirl

    queuing up TMBG’s Your Racist Friend: “This is where the party ends…” Now lets guess, will we see a non-pology, more can’t-you-take-a-joke excuses, or some actual action against this asshat?

  45. 45
    Anthony K

    Now lets guess, will we see a non-pology, more can’t-you-take-a-joke excuses, or some actual action against this asshat?

    We will see no effective action against this asshat, which, much like the non-religion of atheists being described as a just another type of fundamentalism, will be described as PC jackbootery.

  46. 46
    TheBlackCat

    @ robro:

    As for Custer, probably most people in the US only know what they saw in some movie

    Or a video game…

  47. 47
    Bronze Dog

    Yet more evidence in support of my pet theory:
    Any statement taking the form “I’m not X, but…” will be tremendously X.

    In comic format. I probably won’t be wielding a saber, but I think my verbal response to “I’m not X, but” would be along those lines.

    As for the gag reflex described, I’d say it’s caused by long-term isolation from the reality of America. He’s been in an echo chamber, subsisting on a diet of ideas that were sterilized by propaganda techniques to be “safe” for his mind, so he never developed any tolerance for the diversity and complexity of America. As a result, his system grossly overreacts to harmless everyday stimuli simply because it’s different. He then mistakenly assumes those things are harmful, rather than recognize the problem lies in his emotional and cultural weakness.

  48. 48
    jimoliver

    Look, all the Cultural Conservatives wanna do is rewind time to the 1850s when men were men and women were quiet, and all the Darkies were singing their spirituals in the cotton fields while the white men drank Mint Juleps on the veranda.

    Reminds me of these guys

    http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/j/jonathan_coulton/re_your_brains.html

    After all, they’re not unreasonable, it’s not like they wanna eat your eyes. Just compromise and let them in and they will revoke your healthcare and reproduction rights and right to vote. It’s the least you could do for causing all this fuss.

  49. 49
    khms

    @30 CaitieCat:

    I honestly do not get this. I don’t understand how people can have that reaction. [...] I just don’t get what it is about seeing two people and their kids that I should find disgusting, especially to the point of physical nausea.

    I think I do get it. It’s pretty horrible, but imagine for a moment that instead of non-white people, these were, say, pigs … and the biracial children were human-pig crosses. In that situation, you can probably see where people would have rather drastic reactions.

    These are people who seriously do not get (on an emotional level) that these other people are human, too.

  50. 50
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children

    Goddamn. I wish I had this power. I could go be mixed race in the direction of people I don’t like and make them puke. I’d be like some sort of vomit-inducing superhero!

  51. 51
    raven

    The Stir: 15 Things Never to Say to Parents of Biracial Kids
    www. huffingtonpost. com/…/15-things-never-to-say-to-parents-of-biracia…‎

    Apr 21, 2013 – These days, mixed-race babies account for 7 percent of the kids born to American moms every year. So why are the parents of biracial kids still hearing the same tired, old comments our … Biracial kids are soooo much cuter.

    FWIW, mixed race kids aren’t unusual and the percentage of their births is going up rapidly.

    It’s 7% of the total births or 250,000 per year.

    I couldn’t find statistics for California which is minority majority but just from what I see it is higher than that. I’m sure in places like Omaha it is a lot less.

  52. 52
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    I think it’s also worth remembering that the only part that he and his ilk find shocking or gag-worthy is the idea of marrying a woman of colour, or a white woman marrying a man of colour. And even acknowledging the children!

    Just ask Thomas Jefferson or Strom Thurmond.

  53. 53
    Gregory Greenwood

    Today’s GOP is not racist, as Harry Belafonte alleged about the tea party, but it is deeply troubled…

    And yet in the same paragraph;

    People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.

    A ‘gag reflex’? Seriously? The mere thought of two people who are not both sufficiently pasty of hue having children (and thus that most feared of the many aspects of the human condition that the Republican Party reviles – teh dreaded secks) makes these ‘people with conventional views’ physically (or at least metaphorically) nauseous, and yet Cohen doesn’t consider that racist? At this juncture, I have to wonder what would actually reach his ridiculously high bar to qualify as racism – it seems anything short of active campaigns of genocide would fall short.

    I wonder if exposure, even second hand, to this kind of bigoted, hypocritical stupidity is actually harmful? I suspect that merely reading that may have caused some of my synapses to spontaneously off themselves.

    Should I mention that Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?

    As disgusting as this prejudiced blather is, I suppose it is simply to be expected – one can hardly call oneself a conservative unless one’s racism forms part of a proper three peice suite of bigotry with homophobia and misogyny.

    ———————————————-

    Caine, Fleur du mal @ 14;

    Gag reflex? Really? Golly, if it’s that terrible and it’s not your country anymore, well, people such as yourself have a saying about loving it or leaving it.

    And there is that charming saying beloved of short-sighted nationalists – ‘my country, right or wrong’. Why, being so opening critical of the mighty US of A – that we are often reminded by Republicans is ‘the greatest nation on Earth’ – sounds down right unpatriotic.

    Even unamerican.

    Or should that be Anti-American?

    And we all know – courtesy of the Patriot Act and various other not-at-all-scaremongering laws and policies from Capitol Hill – that it is but a hop, skip and a jump from ‘Anti-Americanism’ to outright terrorism.

    Quick, someone call Homeland Security…

    Or perhaps she’s bisexual, you twit.

    Careful now, I am fairly sure that being confronted with the concept of bisexuality would make Cohen’s ‘conventional view’ filled head asplode…

    Hmm…

    On second thoughts, someone tell him immediately…

  54. 54
    Anthony K

    I have to wonder what would actually reach his ridiculously high bar to qualify as racism – it seems anything short of active campaigns of genocide would fall short.

    I understand he had to unlearn all he’d previously learned about the Holocaust being an effective and beloved government-mandated weight-loss-through-physical-labour program when Schindler’s List popped up on his TiVo one lazy Saturday. Did you know that shit was, like, really bad? #WaPoInsights

  55. 55
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    People with conventional views…

    I will proudly wear the title of being unconventional, even if it is only in the murky and twisted mind of Richard Cohen.

  56. 56
    Goodbye Enemy Janine

    Fucked that one up. Try to guess what I said.

  57. 57
    Chengis Khan, The Cryofly

    This is simply illogical… how can one be a conservative and a pundit? Pandit is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘all knowing’.

  58. 58
    robro

    TheBlackCat @ #46 — Now there you go…making an old man feel old. There are video games of the Battle of the Little Big Horn? Can Custer and his men get out alive sometimes, thus overturning history completely? (Actually, I’m pretty sure another source of the story for we oldsters is comic books.)

  59. 59
    imthegenieicandoanything

    Nothing even vaguely new or unusual here, I’m afraid. Scumbag racists like Cohen (and if he is Jewish – it doesn’t matter enough for me to look him up on Wiki – he REALLY doesn’t have a clue, even for a scumbag racist) do not ever emit pleasant smells, much less coherent and thoughtful comments.

    But the Post is just a fuckin’ swamp now. No value save by purest chance.

    To vote or consider voting Republican shows you to be stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil. To be (under 70 an) a well-known Republican anything means you are, essentially, evil.

    You cannot be a decent human being and support the Republican Party, much less anything beneath it.

  60. 60
    Gregory Greenwood

    Anthony K @ 54;

    I understand he had to unlearn all he’d previously learned about the Holocaust being an effective and beloved government-mandated weight-loss-through-physical-labour program when Schindler’s List popped up on his TiVo one lazy Saturday. Did you know that shit was, like, really bad? #WaPoInsights

    I practically fell out of my chair laughing at that, and yet it is so very, very wrong.

    Bravo, sir, bravo.

  61. 61
    robro

    raven @ #51

    It’s 7% of the total births or 250,000 per year.

    That’s 7% of the births where the parents self-identify as being of different races, or are identified as such by the doctor or nurse who completed the form…right? So essentially not a reliable indicator.

    My wife is from an old Oklahoma family and is part Muskogee/Cherokee, French (and maybe Spanish), Anglo-Irish, and who knows what else is in the “wood pile.” She is often mistaken as being some sort of ethnicity other than Caucasian…Hispanic or Middle Eastern being common here in California…but she is also seen as Caucasian. As far as I know, I’m lily white Irish (I certainly have the skin for it), although a recent genetic study of Irish men suggests they aren’t particularly Celtic (more Basque), and as we all know there have been many visitors to the island including old Britons, Vikings, French, Spanish, and of course, the English.

    So, what is our son? Both his parents are identified as Caucasian on his birth certificate, and so he would not be considered mixed race and he would easily pass the casual observation test, but he’s about as mixed-race as they come.

    I suspect that racial identity and racial purity, in particular, are myths of racism and the ratio of actual mixed race births is much higher than 7%.

  62. 62
    Anthony K

    I suspect that racial identity and racial purity, in particular, are myths of racism and the ratio of actual mixed race births is much higher than 7%.

    You wouldn’t be specifically talking about white-supremacist Craig Cobb who apparently has 14% African DNA according to Trisha Goddard’s Race in America television series, would you?

  63. 63
    TheBlackCat

    @ robro: That is not what the game is about. I never played it myself, a bit before my time, but it does tend to appear pretty often in the “worst video games of all time” lists. I won’t discuss it here for trigger reasons.

  64. 64
    Lynna, OM

    … This isn’t the first time Cohen has courted controversy over racial matters. There’s long list of things Cohen doesn’t consider racist: They include denying service to black customers in retail stores (1986) or cab drivers doing the same thing (1986). More recently Cohen has broadened his view of things that aren’t racist, like the New York Police Department’s application of stop-and-frisk, recently struck down by a federal judge for violating the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Same with the idea that Trayvon Martin was “understandably suspected because he was black.” Last week Cohen figured out after watching the critically acclaimed film 12 Years a Slave that slavery in the United States was way worse than he thought. …

    http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/richard-cohen-gag-reflex-deblasio

    Links to back up each assertion in the quote above are embedded in the text at the link.

  65. 65
    Lynna, OM

    Ms. Logan, the CBS reporter who fucked up so badly on “60 Minutes” with the Benghazi story largely based on the testimony of an unreliable witness (who was not a witness at all), that Ms. Logan has an axe to grind. She was fooled because she wanted to be fooled. She wanted to believe right-wing conspiracy theories.

    See the video here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2013/11/11/watch-lara-logan-shares-thoughts-on-benghazi-prior-to-60-minutes-apology/

  66. 66
    Lynna, OM

    Whoops. My apologies. I posted #65 in the wrong thread.

  67. 67
    Rip Steakface

    @ robro: That is not what the game is about. I never played it myself, a bit before my time, but it does tend to appear pretty often in the “worst video games of all time” lists. I won’t discuss it here for trigger reasons

    Well, that means there’s actually two games in which it sort-of features. There’s the infamous Atari game you speak of (which had… fucking nothing to do with the Battle of Little Big Horn), and there’s a more recent game named Darkest of Days. The latter isn’t objectionable like the unnamed Atari game, it’s just a badly made game (I have played it, so I speak from experience).

    The player character is initially a soldier in Custer’s army, wounded on a rock right after Custer is killed. You have to hold off the Indians with your pistol for some time while you bleed out. Then someone stops time and a person in futuristic armor steps through a portal saying something along the lines of “it’s not your time,” and he rescues you. Turns out you’re being recruited to be some part of a 22nd century organization that tries to “maintain the timestream” (think of the cartoon Time Squad).

    The game actually had a somewhat interesting premise, but it was marred by boring gameplay and an unfortunate focus on only two places in time, respectively the Civil War and WWI. Notable for being one of the few first person shooters to explore either of those times, however.

  68. 68
    raven

    That’s 7% of the births where the parents self-identify as being of different races, or are identified as such by the doctor or nurse who completed the form…right? So essentially not a reliable indicator.

    It’s just off of a 30 second Google search. I have no idea how reliable it is.

    As you say, it probably isn’t very reliable. One woman I know puts down white for race and no one questions it. Her father is a Native American.

    People edit their ethnic profile quite often. One of my very old relatives died. I ended up with a box of her papers to sort through. She always claimed to be part French. Her birth certificate says both her parents were from…Norway.

  69. 69
    Dalillama, Schmott Guy


    imthegenieicandoanything
    #59

    To vote or consider voting Republican shows you to be stupid, ignorant, insane and/or evil. To be (under 70 an) a well-known Republican anything means you are, essentially, evil.

    You cannot be a decent human being and support the Republican Party, much less anything beneath it.

    QFT, minus the insane bit; it doesn’t help anything to impute mental illness to one’s political opponents, and it’s actively harmful to conflate mental illness with evil. These shitheads are motivated by ignorance and malevolence, that’s all.

  70. 70
    thewhollynone

    Can these “conservatives” be educated, do you think, or do we just have to wait for them to die off?

  71. 71
    jnorris

    I may be missing something here but do you think Mr Cohen has ever met U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas?

  72. 72
    MJP

    Apparently opposition to miscegenation is a “conventional view.” Did I accidentally slip into the evil goatee timeline?

  73. 73
    anuran

    And now a bit over 20% of new marriages are interracial.
    Twenty some years ago Mrs. Nuran and I were very unusual. Now? We’re the future

  74. 74
    ChasCPeterson

    so, of course, it’s not funny.
    Still: tee hee

  75. 75
    ChasCPeterson

    Apparently opposition to miscegenation is a “conventional view.”

    no, no. Not ‘opposition to’.
    ‘Induction of a regurgitative spasm by’.

  76. 76
    ekwhite

    The scary thing is that this racist asshat is what passes for a liberal at the Washington Post.

  77. 77
    ekwhite

    Rdnaskela@25:

    The only one causing me to gag is Richard Cohen.

  78. 78
    carlie

    Perhaps “pulling a Cohen” can become slang for saying something completely reprehensible while claiming you were only doing it as a rhetorical device.

  79. 79
    kayden

    @76,

    That’s what I find most shocking. How exactly is Cohen a liberal? From reading his prior commentary, he sounds like a Tea Party member (or supporter).

    Humans marrying other humans and having human offspring shouldn’t cause anyone to gag. Cohen is pathetic and the Washington Post needs to retire him.

  80. 80
    Duth Olec

    Let me see if I can break it down… “about the expansion of government” I assume that’s elitist/whatever you call someone who is -ist against poor people. “about immigration” That’d be racist. “about secularism” Whatever the -ist for… l…ogic? is? I would say belief but, um, isn’t that more of reason, not belief? So they’re anti-reason? I’ll go with that. And, “about the mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde” That would be… So Republicans are hipsters? Or whatever “I hated it before it was cool” would be.
    Wait, where’s sexism? Cohen forgot to mention they’re troubled about… feminization? Wait, that’s not a word. I guess. Let’s see what the spell check suggests. How about… fertilization? No, no… Minimization? Of the military and the power of old, rich, christian, white guys, maybe.

  81. 81
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Duth, (OT: whose name reminds me of sambal olek….mmmmmm, sambal olek. Gotta get me some Indonesian hots!

    There’s a place on the mainland in Vancouver that serves indonesian diner food. An Indonesian greasy-spoon is not something to which I had access back in the states. I’ve only eaten there twice, but it’s good and cheap: maybe next time I’m around there I’ll have to go. /OT)
    =============================================
    I think you’re talking about the deManimization of democracy. It used to be that the Deimos were the men. Slowly and yet more slowly the Deimos is being deManimized, and men are doing less Archy.

    On the plus side, even though we have oooky queer marriage and those not-really-men-because-they-kiss-each-other taking over vital positions of power like, um, passing on messages to the Belgian Prime Minister and going to the Belgian Royal Family’s parties, 15 years ago we had Buffy (for all the show’s flaws, still a woman central character who talks to other women about something besides a man) and Xena being all popular and stuff **even with bepenised people!** Now we’ve got Arrow and Agents of SHIELD, both revolving around men central characters, with only one ass-kicking woman regular between them (and she is held back by her traumatic past, ooh).

    That’s gotta please the Archy reManimization Guys for Leading Extended-Boosterism for Archy reManimization in Global Leadership Environments types. I guess that means more florid, triumphalist ARGLE-BARGLE press releases about real men taking back what’s theirs.

    Oh, wait: Look!

    Someone better call JREF. I’m about to pay back my student loans.

  82. 82
    Matt G

    I stopped reading WaPo years ago. Don’t regret it one bit.

  83. 83
    suttkus

    While I never got the “slavery wasn’t so bad” thing in school textbooks, I can tell you it was alive and well in my central Florida schools in the early 80′s. I had at least two teachers explain to the class all the good that slavery brought for black people that you never hear about! (I can only assume that uttered today you’d have to say “never hear about from the Politically Correct crowd”, but that term hadn’t been invented yet.) Why, without it they would still be savages, but look! Educated and Christian, like civilized people!

    I heard it outside of school a lot, too. Of course, to get a lecture on it I just have to mention slavery in front of my father. I’m pretty sure I have the speech memorized.

    “You know, slaves were expensive, so they were treated well on the plantations. You don’t buy an expensive tractor and then abuse it! There were only a few field overseers who went overboard and gave slavery a bad reputation. The press always picks on the exceptions instead of the broad truths. and in any event, it was black people that sold each other into slavery, so it’s really their own fault.”

    I guess I’ll have to stop. My keyboard just threw up on me.

    Some days I’m amazed I grew up as relatively non-racist as I did. I can’t claim to be completely non-racist; I don’t think anyone who grew up in the South can be. The attitude was EVERYWHERE. Not so much anymore. It’s in isolated pockets now. You can go to a mall, a restaurant, maybe even live three whole days of your life without hearing someone say something explicitly racist. Maybe some day I’ll get to go an entire week!

    So, really, things are getting better down here. Progress, even here. Go figure.

  84. 84
    Colin J

    Crip Dyke @81:

    It used to be that the Deimos were the men. Slowly and yet more slowly the Deimos is being deManimized, and men are doing less Archy.

    Hang on, doesn’t democracy come from “demos” (=the people) rather than “deimos” (=fear)?

    I thought it was so cute when I found out that the moons of Mars are basically called “fear” and “the other fear”.

  85. 85
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    Crap, Colin, you’re right.

    Demos, not Deimos. Speaking of ARGLE-BARGLE.

  86. 86
    Inaji

    Suttkus @ 83:

    You don’t buy an expensive tractor and then abuse it!

    There it all is, in a nutshell. Maximum othering which provides the justification for all manner of horror.

    You have my sympathies, I grew up with more than one intensely bigoted family member (one was a John Bircher), and count myself lucky to have escaped those awful attitudes.

  87. 87
    Inaji

    Carlie @ 78:

    Perhaps “pulling a Cohen” can become slang for saying something completely reprehensible while claiming you were only doing it as a rhetorical device.

    In some cases, like the epic grenade thread, just about every third person could be said to have pulled a Cohen.

  88. 88
    Inaji

    Rip Steakface:

    (which had… fucking nothing to do with the Battle of Little Big Horn)

    I know most people were taught the ‘Battle of Little Big Horn’, but for Indians, it’s The Battle of Greasy Grass. It’s commemorated every year by my people.

    /derail

  89. 89
    robro

    Caine:

    Thank you for that tip about The Battle of Greasy Grass. I’ll remember that. Every side has it’s own name for the battles they were in.

  90. 90
    paul

    Pro-tip: if you find yourself gagging at the thought of interracial marriage, you are racist.

    Sadly, white people do not have a monopoly on opposition to interracial marriage.

  91. 91
    robro

    sutkus @ #83 — Yes, that’s pretty much exactly the same words my father would use (in Jacksonville BTW) as would others. Sometimes I would hear the “Mark of Cain” BS in the same breath. Amazing how these myths get perpetrated and with such ironclad illogic that it’s no wonder they are difficult to displace.

  92. 92
    knowknot

    # 83

    Some days I’m amazed I grew up as relatively non-racist as I did. I can’t claim to be completely non-racist; I don’t think anyone who grew up in the South can be.

    - Lovely post. I’ve seen many Southerners attempt to deal with this in the most awkward way. Funny thing is that some of the same Southerners I’ve seen choke, sometimes shockingly, on some “black issue” (ie, interracial marriage) are the same whites who seem to get along better with blacks face-to-face than the Northerners (in this case Pacific Northwest) who end up being shocked.
    - It’s almost as though whites who have their inherent racism bound to specific issues are left with a “clear space” in which to operate. And it doesn’t seem uncommon to have any blacks they actually know be defined out of the expected category… at least up to a point… while many Northerners just can’t quite get comfortable, ever. As if there’s no relief valve to vent whatever vestigial racism many of us may have… it’s in there, but it can’t be applied to some corcumstances, and it’s not SUPPOSED to be in there, so there’s just dissonance and twitchery about everything.
    (Please note that I’m NOT arguing that being racist within parameters is a good thing. I’m just saying that – IF IF IF I’ve seen this close to right – there’s some of that uniquely human oddness in it.)

  93. 93
    suttkus

    @90:

    Sadly, white people do not have a monopoly on opposition to interracial marriage.

    Darnit, can’t we white folks have anything for ourselves? Do they has ta give da blacks everything? Next thing you know, they’ll let women be sexist pigs.

    “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don’t think you can call it rape.”
    – Phyllis Schlafly

    Oh, fine, whatever, I give up!

    @91:

    Yes, that’s pretty much exactly the same words my father would use (in Jacksonville BTW) as would others. Sometimes I would hear the “Mark of Cain” BS in the same breath.

    Well, there’s something I didn’t have to deal with growing up! My father considered that kind of garbage to be racist and stupid. So, there are levels!

    I have no idea why I can’t use the preview button, so I can only hope I’m using the tags correctly.

  94. 94
    knowknot

    Sorry. Damn. Should have been “… can’t be applied to some SPECIFIC circumstances…”
    Thumb typing me down. I mean GETS. Just damn.

  95. 95
    suttkus

    @92

    - It’s almost as though whites who have their inherent racism bound to specific issues are left with a “clear space” in which to operate. And it doesn’t seem uncommon to have any blacks they actually know be defined out of the expected category… at least up to a point… while many Northerners just can’t quite get comfortable, ever. As if there’s no relief valve to vent whatever vestigial racism many of us may have… it’s in there, but it can’t be applied to some corcumstances, and it’s not SUPPOSED to be in there, so there’s just dissonance and twitchery about everything.

    Ah, we have a fine old southern phrase for that situation.

    “Southerns hate blacks as a race, but love them as individuals, northerners love them as a race and hate them as individuals.” Dad says that one a lot.

    I expect it’s because there are so many racist stereotypes in the media. You can’t watch an episode of any crime show without seeing black street gangs, black murders, etc. It’s supposed to be “realistic”, and I can’t claim to know any statistics about whether it is, but true or not, it reinforces the image. If you come from an area where the demographics don’t have a lot of black people in it, this is your image, drummed into your head. And it comes out.

  96. 96
    fourtytwo

    Is there any chance he will lose his job over this? In what other career could you get away with such blatant racism (okay, apart from Republican politician)?

  97. 97
    Azuma Hazuki

    These people were always there, right? It’s just that with the internet they can be all over the airwaves instantly and everyone has to see them, like some idiot kid grabbing the mic in the principal’s office and belching into it, right? Right?

    Ugh, and “used to be a lesbian.” Being in an F/F relationship does not make you a lesbian necessarily; one or both women may be bisexual. And there’s that whole “sexuality is a spectrum” thing anyway (though WHY I’m a perfect Kinsey-six on that view makes no sense…). This kind of patriarchal wankstain seems absolutely terrified of women who aren’t naturally attracted to men, as if it’s some kind of personal insult.

    Can we have a new rule of thumb? If someone goes “I’m not racist, but $RACIST_BULLSHIT_FROM_THE_30S” we get to set their pants alight. All in favor?

  98. 98
    knowknot

    #95
    Thank you, Suttkus. Very much appreciated.
    - Something tangential but, I think, similar also happens in the absence of racial differences. I once (!) made a trip to New York, and was warned by a LOT of people in the Pacific Northwest that I’d hate it, because everyone’s so incredibly rude. Once there, I was amazed at how comfortable I was, and how many real (though small and brief) connections occured. Seemed to me that there was this shield of brashness people carried around, because there was just so incredibly much of everybody to deal with, and if you bounced off that shield it was “fine, goodbye.” But if you didn’t, much of the time there was suddenly a real person standing there. Warmth, even.
    - Over here, it’s nice up front, and then often this undefinable uncomfortable not quite anything… I still don’t know what to call it.
    - So I wonder if there’s an analogous saying I haven’t heard, about Easterners “hating humans as a concept, but loving them as people…” Or something to that effect, minus the mushy tone, plus the requisite oblique brashness.

  99. 99
    suttkus

    I don’t know. I think every sane person probably has days when they hate humanity and days when we’re lost in how amazing humans are. It’s like Pale Blue Dot, both critical of our excesses and failures, but somehow optimistic and full of potential at the same time.

  100. 100
    knowknot

    Re the Cohen piece.
    - I honestly think he’s just an incompetent writer. In the few pieces I’ve scanned this evening he does show one of the great signs of thinking/writing weakness (and obviously pretense): thesauritude. Pointless words in pointless places, where the vapidity of thought becomes crystalline.
    - And though he’s proven himself vile on many occasions by victim blaming, justifying perpetrators, excusing rape, MASSIVE ignorance and callousness on the “no intercourse, no rape” front, historical and political ignorance or outright lying… a charitable reading of this text (which is admittedly difficult), undertaken while bearing in mind the verbal, formal and circumstantial incompetence, along with a strong dose of tone deafness that is the flavorful topping on all the rest of the crap, that this bit really was intended as he says it was. It just happens to be formulated like the most embarrassing verbal failure you’ve ever heard, in a bar, drunk, just before someone got punched.
    - Of course he’d flunk out of any passable coursework given similar intention / effect pairs, which means he really should shut up publicly until, well, forever. But even then, I’m not sure it helps to read them like they read us, for lack of a more mature turn.
    - And without pandering of any kind, I know I’m going against people who are much better educated and better informed, and who I respect in saying that. But, crap. Sorry.

  101. 101
    carlie

    I wonder how well Cohen would do on the Harvard Implicit Association test.

  102. 102
    Mr_V

    “Simple answers for stupid people” should become a thing. It practically deserves its own blog.

  103. 103
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    Wow. So, to recap:
    - He is so stupid that he doesn’t realise he is a racist.
    - He is so stupid that he doesn’t realise that he is a homophobe.
    - He is so stupid that he does not understand the concept of bisexuality.
    - He is so very, very stupid that, despite all of the above, he genuinely seems to think that he is a liberal.

    He is genuinely one of the most stupid people I have ever come across.

    ***Bonus Tangential Anecdote***

    In the gym last night, I was chatting to this kid who goes quite regularly who, as a consequence of the preceeding conversation, informed me that “There’s no such thing as racism, it’s just your own opinion”. He seemed utterly non-plussed when I pointed out that it’s perfectly possible for your own opinion to be racist.

  104. 104
    davidjanes

    I found this take on Cohen’s piece interesting as well. Particularly this paragraph:

    Cohen is right about one thing: A lot of people (and not only conservatives) in this country are indeed “troubled” by these cultural shifts, but because they do not consciously hate black people just for having dark skin, they do not think they are racist. And yet, due to a host of complicated, ingrained cultural prejudices that are much harder to root out, they functionally are. It’s that kind of insidious racism—not overt disgust at miscegenation—that is truly “conventional” in this country, and it’s Richard Cohen who, in spite of an oafish, messy column, provided a rare opportunity to discuss it. Who cares what it takes to make him gag? We have more important things to do with our mouths.

  105. 105
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Azuma:

    I know what you’re going for in your #97, but right now it hits a little too close to home.

    So close, in fact, that i honestly didn’t get the way-obvious reference for 5 or 6 whole seconds. I could only think of Sasha on the bus…

  106. 106
    theophontes (恶六六六缓步动物)

    @Colin J

    Hang on, doesn’t democracy come from “demos” (=the people) rather than “deimos” (=fear)?

    I am going to use the term “deimocracy”, where appropriate, from henceforth.

  107. 107
    vaiyt

    It’s that kind of insidious racism—not overt disgust at miscegenation—that is truly “conventional” in this country, and it’s Richard Cohen who, in spite of an oafish, messy column, provided a rare opportunity to discuss it.

    I’m griping with this. Having a gag reflex to interracial couples is hardly “insidious” racism. It’s just called “insidious” because Americans, it seems, have a long-standing practice of denial of any displays of racism below a KKK raid.

    @robro

    the “Mark of Cain” BS

    Which makes no sense even in a biblical context, since all humans are supposed to descend from Seth anyway.

  108. 108
    ragove

    Doesn’t anyone realize that Cohen is not speaking for himself, but he is stating what he thinks the GOP conservatives are thinking. “People with conventional views (I.E. THE GOP) must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children.

  109. 109
    Nick Gotts

    ragove,

    Cohen says the Republican Party is “not racist”, so if by “people with conventional views” he means the Republican Party, he’s saying that people who “must repress a gag reflex when considering the mayor-elect of New York — a white man married to a black woman and with two biracial children” are not racist. Which would be silly, wouldn’t it?

  110. 110
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @ragove:

    Yes, of course we realize it.

    Don’t you realize that it is (or should be) abhorrent to describe as “conventional” the racial views of people who throw up in the back of their mouths upon noticing the existence of an interracial couple.

    Moreover, his excuse was that he was describing the views of people he now says are “extremist”.

    How exactly can one be an extremist on an issue where one’s views are “conventional”, anyway?

    MoreMoreover, he explicitly describes these people as “not racist”.

    When you’re at the point of saying that throwing up when noticing an interracial couple is “not racist”, you’re a bit past the lines of racism yourself.

    Describing the racism of David Duke does not relieve you of accountability for saying, “And golly his plan for the future of these united states is totally reasonable.” Whether you do or don’t count yourself among those actually **advocating** his plan, describing it as “reasonable” says something about you.

    Ceteris Paribus, Mutatis Mutandis, Hokus Pokus: Either a person paid to smith words in order to say exactly what the author intends has no idea what “not racist” and “conventional” mean, or Cohen is himself arguing that obviously racist crap is understandable and acceptable.

    I consider it polite not to assume out of hand he is incompetent at the job which he is paid to do.

  111. 111
    gussnarp

    @ragove – The problem is that he clearly thinks it’s perfectly conventional to have a gag reflex to the very thought of a mixed race couple. It’s clearly not a joke, nor a scathing commentary. It’s a sympathetic take on why Republicans are troubled and he’s saying he understands that conventional views including wanting to vomit at the the thought of the mayor of New York and his wife. Well it’s not conventional, and it’s not something one should sympathize with in any way. On top of that he’s saying that people who feel that way aren’t racist. Yes, they sure as fucking hell are, it’s the fucking definition of racism. And that Cohen finds that to not be racist, and that he finds it something mild and understandable, shows him to be, at least a little bit, racist himself.

  112. 112
    The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    ragov @ 108

    Doesn’t anyone realize that Cohen is not speaking for himself, but he is stating what he thinks the GOP conservatives are thinking.

    Try this:

    Group A is not sexist. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering a woman as the breadwinner in her household.

    Group B is not homophobic. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering two men adopting children together.

    Group C is not transphobic. People with conventional views must repress a gag reflex when considering shaking hands with someone who is trans*.

    Even if I am not a member of Group A, B or C and even if I do not consider myself to hold these views, I am declaring these views unbigoted. I am denying that gagging in response to other people existing and living their lives is, in fact, a sign if bigotry.

    Is it conventional to gag over interracial marriage and biracial children? Cohen thinks so. That is what he states, plain as day. These people with “conventional views” are, unless he’s a terrible and incoherent writer, supposed to represent the GOP and cultural conservatives. These are the people he’s declaring non-racist. He states that they are non-racist. He states that these are conventional viewpoints.

  113. 113
    truthspeaker

    mainstreaming of what used to be the avant-garde

    The horror!

  114. 114
    jnorris

    suttkus @ #83: I’ve heard that argument from relatives too. Best counter for Slavery: A Good Time Was Had By All is asking why poor white people did not volunteer to be slaves or sell their children into slavery.

  115. 115
    suttkus

    Because government regulations didn’t allow you to make slaves of white people! Damned big government liberals, always overregulating the country into a miserable state! STATES RIGHTS! LOCAL CONTROL! Demand the freedom to enslave!

  116. 116
    knowknot

    #103

    Wow. So, to recap:
    - He is so stupid that he doesn’t realise he is a racist.
    - He is so stupid that he doesn’t realise that he is a homophobe.
    - He is so stupid that he does not understand the concept of bisexuality.
    - He is so very, very stupid that, despite all of the above, he genuinely seems to think that he is a liberal.

    Nope. A person can be incompetent and still be all kinds of vile.
    #110

    Don’t you realize that it is (or should be) abhorrent to describe as “conventional” the racial views of people who throw up in the back of their mouths upon noticing the existence of an interracial couple.

    - The reaction is abhorrent, sickening, and in the end terrifying. But is it abhorent to describe something abhorent, sickening and terrifying as “conventional?” One definition of conventional: “Based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed. So if an abhorent belief is generally held, no. It adds additional disgust to the equation, but the use of the term isn’t abhorrent. It may be wrong. The exception is if the user is trying to persuade toward a commonly held belief.
    - But I can’t see him doing that here. In one of the only seemingly open comments made by Cohen I could find, he said the term was likely innapropriate, but was originally used because it had more “sting.” Apparently meaning it was intended to mean something like “square,” “establishment,” and the like. So that goes to the piece being a (catastophically bungled) barb at those opinions and reactions. But I further submit that it was an incompetent use of the term.

    I consider it polite not to assume out of hand he is incompetent at the job which he is paid to do.

    - Well, OK. Except incompetence is assumed all the time around here, as elsewhere. So why withhold?
    - Look, the LAST thing I want to do is offend you. I’m not saying the guy isn’t creepy. Too much proof of that. I’m not saying he isn’t anything. And I’m All I’m saying is that when we’re striving for some penetration of reason to “the other side,” and hoping to be read and heard according to actual meaning and content, it isn’t helpful to play turnabout. (And still, I AM NOT arguing for his meaning, or content. Just the nature of the actual material that is clearly usable against this guy. I’m not convinced this is it, no matter how obnoxious it is. There’s plenty more of his stuff to use in that cause, that will function much more solidly.)

  117. 117
    knowknot

    #115

    Demand the freedom to enslave!

    Excellent. Bet we could sell T-shirts, right in Congress.

  118. 118
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Knowknot, #116:

    All I’m saying is that when we’re striving for some penetration of reason to “the other side,” and hoping to be read and heard according to actual meaning and content, it isn’t helpful to play turnabout.

    Where, precisely, did I use his own tactics against him? What is the tactic of his that I employed? Asserting I’m “playing turnabout” without any specific reference, quote, or evidence isn’t helpful.

    Except incompetence is assumed all the time around here, as elsewhere. So why withhold?

    1. I don’t think incompetence is assumed all the time. I think people criticize perceived incompetence frequently, but I also think that people generally have evidence that incompetence is present. Exceptions will, of course, exist – such as in miscommunications.

    2. If you read me long enough, you’ll see that I use this formulation all the time: X person says Y thing. Y thing is undesirable b/c Z (which may be an outcome or a reason or both). Either X said Y **intending** Z, in which case X is a jerk. Or X said Y not intending Z, in which case X is innocently uninformed and/or incompetent at expression. If X has been called out for doing Y earlier (especially but not always earlier in the same thread), innocently uninformed is off the table.

    This formulation is useful b/c instead of just saying “go away, you’re hurtful and callous as F” – which might lead a defensive person to blow me off, i force X to think about behavior Y and ask Xself if X is morally okay with outcome Z or not, and what should be done about that. X can choose to work on feelings so as to act with different intentions or X can work on skills so as to more accurately express the actual, non-offensive intention.

    If I give specific advice, I might be wrong about what the person needs to grow and change. Also, if the analysis happens within, it is more likely to spur change. Also I avoid saying directly, “You are a douchegabber” which would raise hackles and prevent message penetration, instead only saying, “If someone does Y, they have bad skills or bad intentions”. The focus remains on the behavior, and yet personal vanity becomes a motivation for positive change. Even defensiveness works for us in this scenario: the person gets to work on whichever skill’s deficiency threatens the ego least.

    Finally, I usually don’t like insulting persons. When someone is being a douchegabber, if I can rhetorically box the person into a corner and let them call themselves a douchegabber, I don’t feel nearly so bad. Moreover, there might be a possibility that I genuinely didn’t see. They get to conclude whether or not it applies. If they can see how the bind I felt put in – concluding incompetence or malice – was a false dichotomy or otherwise allowed for a judgement of the behavior as non-problematic, then I haven’t unjustly called them a name AND I likely learn something in the verbal counter. Finally, I really hate being put in the bind of having to think ill of people – whether ill of their competence or of their intentions. Reversing the position is perfect jiu jitsu. I escape the bind; the other person gets to experience the awfulness of the trap…but worse, because they likely don’t have the same sort of counter available to them AND because as uncomfortable as it is to have to judge someone as ill intentioned or incompetent, it’s likely more uncomfortable to judge oneself as ill intentioned or incompetent. Choosing to engage in this reversal move, rather than a straightforward attack, is a different moral decision making process with which I’m more comfortable.

  119. 119
    aaronbaker

    Fuck him.

    I’d really rather not. But TNC’s comments on Cohen are priceless; everybody, read them now.

  120. 120
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @Knowknot, 116:

    Don’t you realize that it is (or should be) abhorrent to describe as “conventional” the racial views of people who throw up in the back of their mouths upon noticing the existence of an interracial couple.

    - The reaction is abhorrent, sickening, and in the end terrifying. But is it abhorent to describe something abhorent, sickening and terrifying as “conventional?” One definition of conventional: “Based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed. So if an abhorent belief is generally held, no. It adds additional disgust to the equation, but the use of the term isn’t abhorrent. It may be wrong.

    1. it is wrong. From Twitter, via Lynna, #27:
    Gag on this Richard Cohen: In U.S., 87% Approve of Black-White Marriage, vs. 4% in 1958.

    I even found the source easily enough. Moreover, not all who “disapprove” will be moved to the edge of emesis merely by noticing the existence of an interracial couple. So we’re talking about a subset of that 13%.

    So let’s not speak in hypotheticals. When I wrote my #110, I knew that it was not true that racist views sufficiently strong to bring one to the edge of emesis were “generally held”. If you’ve read the thread, then you knew it too and your, “It may be wrong” was entirely disingenuous.

    It is wrong.

    2. Given that he is fucking wrong, is he actively attempting to normalize such strong racist views? Or does he merely choose to associate with a group of people that are horrendously racist compared to what is “conventional” in the US…and then stupidly draw conclusions from an unscientific set of data? Or, last option that I can see, is he just making shit up because he thinks painting vomiting racists as “not racist” but merely “conventional” is more kind to racist, however cruel it is to the vast majority to imply they are much more racist than they actually deserve?

    2a. Because I should think that at least 37% of people should be outraged at him saying that racist views of that type and strength are “generally done or believed”. I should think “generally … believed” would imply significantly *more* than 50% of people are throwing up in the backs of their mouths, frankly.

    Is it “abhorrent” to ascribe this level of racism to vast numbers of people who don’t deserve to be so described?

    it is (or should be)

    2b. Is it “abhorrent” to attempt to normalize emesis-on-noticing-interractial-couples?

    it is (or should be)

    2c. Is it “abhorrent” to choose to associate with so many strongly racist folk that even in a public job where you would meet tons of people, the representative statement you can make about the people you know is that they “generally …believe” such horrendously racist things that merely noticing the existence of an interracial couple causes small amounts of emesis?

    it is (or should be)

    Honestly, I can’t believe that 51% of the people he knows are actually reporting to him that they are vomiting onto the backs of their tongues.

    If I’m wrong, that’s even more evidence that he chooses his friends according to abhorrent criteria.

    If I’m right, that means that **in the absence of evidence** he just assumes his friends are “generally” vomiting onto the backs of their tongues on noticing interracial couples. That’s even more evidence that he’s not merely happy to hang out with racists, because what’s a little vomiting at the coloreds between friends, but that he personally embraces such racism, that such thoughts spontaneously appear in his brain, and that when they do, they seem reasonable to him – reasonable enough to think most people are thinking that.

    3. To conclude, given what we actually know about what he said and what is actually true in the US:

    it is (or should be) abhorrent to describe as “conventional” the racial views of people who throw up in the back of their mouths upon noticing the existence of an interracial couple.

    Cohen

  121. 121
    knowknot

    OK. Sorry. Out.

  122. 122
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    No need to apologize, Knowknot: You’re not being a jerk.

    You just employed an argument with which I disagreed. I’m defending my judgement of Cohen’s behavior as “abhorrent”, I’m not attacking you for anything at all.

    Cohen is a jerk for 1 or more of 3 things: 1 portraying americans as generally believing horrifically racist things when, in fact, we’re significantly less racist than that, 2 collecting a circle of racists around him as his friends and social circle, or 3 having horrifically racist thoughts that he so believes are okay that he just assumes that they are “generally…believed”.

    You made an argument with which I disagreed.

    You & Cohen have no bad qualities in common that I can tell.
    ==========
    Also, apologies for bad typing, etc. above in 120. I literally accidentally hit submit while trying to put my cursor on the extraneous “Cohen” at the bottom. Oy.

  123. 123
    knowknot

    #122
    - Honestly appreciated. And though no justification from me is in any way needed, what you said was at all points thoughtful. And Cohen is a jerk. And if there’s a pinhole’s space between jaw and heart, I hope he learns something from the reactions he’s gotten, regardless of his intent. History casts doubt.
    - And I DO apologize (and in this instance there is good reason to) for the brattish last post (#121). “disingenuity” is a bit of a trigger for me. A sad little one, and I KNOW you used it only by way of analysis, but… splat, the stain was mine.
    - And I do SINCERELY hope my bad qualities fall short of what Cohen exhibits, oh please, ohpleaseohpleaseohplease. Though it sometimes hard to judge objectively from inside the cage. :)

  124. 124
    laurentweppe

    Tell me: where’s the gag reflex comes from: from the fact that the Mayor of New-York have sex with a black woman, or from the fact that she’s his wife and not the housemaid he screws on the side?
    (This is a rethorical question)

  125. 125
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    And I do SINCERELY hope my bad qualities fall short of what Cohen exhibits, oh please, ohpleaseohpleaseohplease. Though it sometimes hard to judge objectively from inside the cage.

    o, god yes.

  126. 126
    anteprepro

    But TNC’s comments on Cohen are priceless; everybody, read them now.

    Holy shit seconded. Rips into the heart of the matter with just the tone this issue deserves. It made me want to applaud.

  127. 127
    knowknot

    #126
    Um… who is “TNC” and where do I find the comments?

  128. 128
    Anthony K

    knownot, I think people are referring to this piece by the excellent Ta-Nehisi Coates.

  129. 129
    knowknot

    #128 Thank you Anthony. (Not a blockquote fail. Because you probably didn’t say “please” to yourself, either.)
    - Read the TNC post, and I have two, and ONLY two, comments:
    1) Honking Tweedhoppers do I have some book learning to do. Though I am spottily educated at best, I’ve always thought my self at least moderately literate. Coda. And then upon me came a light, and it saith, truly thou art tone deaf in all thy reach and compass. And verily, there was none there to answer me, not even no one, saying: Yea, nowhere; but in the land of reversible cups, and sanitary pedestals. (Or, in the Reversed Stumbled Version, “Yes, everyone got this but you.”)
    2) Crip Dyke, you had me at hello. Respect and contrition. With extra toppings. And the kicker is – in all painful honesty – reading it again, while aided by very little selective forgetfullness, I’m pretty sure I’d come to the same honeybucket conclusion. I’ve both felt and been dense, but this is just sad. Maybe it was being raised in Forks. (There’s a reason the vampires are vapid there.)
    3) Arrrghhhhh.

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