By now, you may have heard that Washington Post columnist and serial platform-abuser Richard Cohen has published an op-ed -- ostensibly about the difficulty that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie might have in winning over the hearts and minds of conservative Iowa heartlanders -- that contains this paralyzingly gross aside:
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?)
Yes, I know, all of this indicates that Richard Cohen is some sort of garbage person, and that the people to whom he turns to get a read on "conventional views" are, similarly, a bunch of people who were raised in a sludge ditch, by pigs. But let's turn our attention to the part where he starts thinking out loud: "Should I mention that Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray, used to be a lesbian?"
Indeed, that is a good question. Should he mention that? After asserting that interracial marriage is something that causes people to vomit, should he also make the same suggestion about lesbians? Richard Cohen is just wondering. He is seeking some good advice, from some quarter.
This is a really crazy idea, but what if there was someone at The Washington Post to whom he could turn? Because at the moment, it seems that every time Cohen has a bunch of semi-thoughts and writes them down, The Washington Post feels obligated to immediately start printing those thoughts onto newsprint and assigning them a URL.
But what if -- and bear with me here -- The Washington Post actually found a live human being to serve as an intermediary in this process? Someone who could say, "Actually, Richard, I don't think you should mention that, at all." Conventionally, such people are known as "editors," and they provide a service that could do The Washington Post a whole lot of good.
Let's imagine, for a minute, a world in which some responsible human being, tasked with ensuring that flamboyant bigotry doesn't make it into The Washington Post, existed at the time Richard Cohen was writing this part about interracial marriage being conventionally disgusting on its face, in the year 2013:
EDITOR: Hey, Richard, you got a minute?
COHEN: Sure, what's up?
EDITOR: Just a small thing. I am reading your column about how Chris Christie's reputation for being a moderate, and his Northeastern roots in general, may not play well in an Iowa caucus. It's all fairly solid -- I mean, it's been said before, anyway. But there's one little tweak to it that I think you should make.
EDITOR: Yeah, see, toward the end here, there's this paragraph about Bill de Blasio, and the fact that he's married to a black woman, who was also a lesbian, and it's something that you think makes people want to throw up? How about we just lose that whole paragraph?
COHEN: You really think so?
EDITOR: I kinda do? Because, you know, this is about Chris Christie, and you've already established the difficulty he'll have, culturally speaking, operating in Iowa? I just think that this paragraph is a gratuitously base aside that actually makes you look like a knuckle-dragging, bigoted garbage person, instead of just a conventionally lame political editorialist. Obviously, the Post is happy to publish a lot of conventionally lame political op-eds -- that's not a problem. But if we publish this, no one is going to be talking about how conventionally lame you are. They'll be talking about what a racist bell-end you are and we'll get a lot of letters asking us to fire you. Oh, and there is also this thing where we are a major urban daily newspaper whose business model involves selling print copies of our newspaper to a city full of people with very modern viewpoints on these matters, to say nothing of the sizable African-American population that forms our subscriber base.
COHEN: Well, I just think--
EDITOR: I am going to stop you right there, Richard. *types on laptop* There, I've gone ahead and just taken that paragraph out for you. We are all good! Carry on!
And, scene. It's a pretty simple idea that I think Jeff Bezos could get behind: hire a human being who just straight up deletes all the pointless, nonsensical bigotry that makes it into editorial copy, BEFORE it gets published. You could probably even ask the people who are making sure that spelling errors and grammatical mistakes don't get published to keep an eye out for super-grotesque racist doggerel, too, and delete that as well.
Oh, and if the Washington Post already has someone on staff whose job it is to provide this sort of oversight, then my question to that person is, "What, in the name of all that is holy, is wrong with you?"
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