Mother Jones has a “Richard Cohen’s 10 Worst Moments” piece, which is good, because I have hitherto neglected this rich vein of bad moments.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen goes to the movies, finds out slavery is wrong.
I sometimes think I have spent years unlearning what I learned earlier in my life…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.
About a week ago, Richard Cohen went to see 12 Years a Slave and came out surprised by the brutal depiction of slavery in America. He defended himself by saying that he learned slaves “were sort of content” and “slave owners were mostly nice people” in school. Cohen graduated high school in the class of ’58. No, 1958.
Jesus hopping Christ, what? He learned slaves were content and owners were nice in school and nothing since? Are you kidding me? A guy who writes a column for the Washington fucking Post hasn’t managed to learn more about slavery than what he claims he learned in school? He had learned absolutely nothing about it since until last week when he went to a movie?
That alone is enough to get him demoted to a paper route.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen defends Clarence Thomas because boys will be boys.
Thomas stands nearly alone on the court in his shallowness of his scholarship and the narrowness of his compassion. But when it comes to his alleged sexual boorishness, he stands condemned of being a man.
In a 2010 column, Cohen dismissed any allegations of sexual misconduct that occurred during the 1980s, since that was “a bit before the modern era,” and argued that Thomas’ alleged actions—including asking a woman at work for her bra size and making other sexual comments—were just typical guy stuff.
Uh huh. It’s just typical, and women have to just put up with it, and whaddyagonnado, and these things just are the way they are.
Cohen claimed that Anita Hill couldn’t have been harassed, because “why did she follow her abuser, Thomas, from one job to the next?” But maybe that’s unfair to Cohen. After all, it’s not like he was ever accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.
1 (tied). Richard Cohen is accused of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Stand up and turn around.
According to a Washington Post staffer, Cohen said the above to 23-year-old editorial aide Devon Spurgeon. Staffers said he also told her she “looks good in black” and engaged her in an offensive discussion about oral sex following the Monica Lewinsky scandal. (Cohen denies the first comment and says the others were made innocently.) Spurgeon took a leave of absence, and Washington Post management found that Cohen committed “inappropriate behavior,” but Cohen maintained, “it was a personality dispute [that] had nothing to do with sexual harassment as the term applies today.” For further reading, see Cohen’s creepy screed on how terrible it is that women in movies don’t fall for men decades their elder as much as they used to.
Now what does that remind me of? Oh yes. That.
That’s just the first four; enjoy the final six.