Brave Sir Richard Not So Brave Actually

Clueless and obtuse Richard Cohen has managed to make egregious race related comments two weeks in a row. This is quite a record even for Cohen. 

This is what brave Sir Richard has come up with in a space of two weeks

In his column last week he confessed that he had to see 12 years a slave to figure out that slavery was an evil.

Steve McQueen’s stunning movie “12 Years a Slave” is one of those unlearning experiences. I had to wonder why I could not recall another time when I was so shockingly confronted by the sheer barbarity of American slavery. Instead, beginning with school, I got a gauzy version. I learned that slavery was wrong, yes, that it was evil, no doubt, but really, that many blacks were sort of content. Slave owners were mostly nice people — fellow Americans, after all — and the sadistic Simon Legree was the concoction of that demented propagandist, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Her “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was a lie and she never — and this I remember clearly being told — had ventured south to see slavery for herself. I felt some relief at that because it meant that Tom had not been flogged to death.

If Richard Cohen didn’t know that slavery was brutal, it is because he did not want to know.  Blaming one’s ignorance on works of fiction is not brave.  This week he outdoes himself, with this remark on the New York Mayor-elect Bill DeBlasio’s family;

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.

His other questionable columns about race have been chronicled over by at Mother Jones by Matt Connolly, some of them go back to 1986.  So Cohen can’t even use senility as a defense.  I also remember that he was uncomfortable about Presidential Candidate Obama in the 2008 election cycle. Cohen expresses those reservations here and here.  

His bosses over at Washington Post  have  defended Cohen in the past, calling his retrograde and offensive stances, brave. 


Richard doesn’t reliably follow any political line,” Hiatt said. “He also isn’t afraid to take on subjects where culture and politics and emotion overlap. Those traits make him a compelling, and one of our best-read, columnists. They also, not surprisingly, at times lead to controversy.

Not everyone shares this rosy view of Cohen.   It makes Cohen sad that instead of applauding him, people are calling him racist.  He shouldn’t feel too bad about it since that seems to be the conventional reaction after reading his columns.  That and suppressing one’s gag reflex

I am afraid it is terminal

Dr Tiny Cat

LoL by: two_kittehs (Picture by: gussielou49)

Please listen to Dr. Kitteh and retire.  Dr .Kitteh is an expert on diagnosing Punditubbies, previous credits include diagnosing Mr. Samuelson, also of the Washington Post.


Posted on November 14, 2013, in Politics, Punditubbies say Hello and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Doctor kitteh delibers bad nooz. If only Cohen’s condition were actually fatal.

  2. Not to defend Cohen, but you may not be aware that what he says about how he was taught about slavery was, for a long time, the common wisdom in the U.S. Think Gone with the Wind. One of the great ironies of the Civil War was that for a long time the South wrote its history.

    • He is a journalist, he writes for a newspaper, it his business to go beyond the conventional wisdom and figure out the truth and not accept fictional depiction as reality.

      • Well, sure. Of course if you insist on that high a standard we’d probably only have 3 or 4 people writing for the papers. But, unfortunately, what he’s saying about himself applies to lots of people in the States. Still, you’re right. He’s a lazy thinker and ill-informed.

        • He has a history of making asinine comments especially where race is concerned. This is not the first time he has done it. My standards for a Washington Post columnist are a tad higher than for the average man or woman on the street. The column he wrote after watching 12 years a slave was a bit silly but calling DeBlasio’s family gag-inducing, and calling that a conventional view, when huge majorities approve of interracial marriage (80% or more) was beyond the pale. Of course, YMMV.

  3. I guess I’ve seen it so often I’m too tired to get angry about it anymore.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: