The Worst Column of the Year: Congratulations Richard Cohen!

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I have a serious beard

It is getting increasingly difficult to keep track of all the idiotic columns written about the Tea Party. But as we become inured to all the hyperventilating from Frank Rich, Eugene Robinson, and Bob Herbert, all the predictions of an American Beer Hall Putsch, we risk ignoring the consistently entertaining stupidity of America's minor league pundits. Take this latest entry the genre, an overwritten, undercooked piece from Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen that compares the Tea Party and its allies to the National Guardsmen that cut down four protesting students at Kent State in 1970.

First, the awesomely bad writing: "Lately, [Internet radio station Pandora] has repeatedly played the Neil Young song "Ohio": "What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground?" On the bike, I have to repress a tear….The hills slow me. I grind at them, going so slowly that when the song comes on I can listen intently to the lyrics. The line about the woman dead on the ground hits with concussive force. I feel I knew her."

It gets worse: "I longed for a chance to cover [the Kent State shootings], but I was young and raw, and the journalistic sluggers whooshed out of the newsroom, hailed a cab, jumped a plane and wrote the story—the story. The story will keep you sane." And this column will drive you insane, with its awful, awful stylistic impression of New Journalism.

But, if you can believe it, it gets even worse. The massacre at Kent State, Cohen says, was the byproduct of the extreme rhetoric of the late 1960s right…not unlike all that nasty stuff you hear from today's Tea Party! "On my bike, I recalled those days and wondered if they have not returned. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words–that singsong rebuttal notwithstanding–can kill."

Like actor and political scientist Jon Hamm, Cohen bemoans "all this talk about 'taking back America' (from whom?)" we hear from conservatives and Tea Party activists. But it's an entirely appropriate sentiment, one that fails to exercise Richard Cohen, when Howard Dean writes a book called Winning Back America. Or when liberal radio host Thom Hartmann issued his 2004 call to arms, We the People: A Call to Take Back America. Give me a minute to find Cohen's column lamenting The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel's 2004 book Taking Back America: and Taking Down the Radical Right. Or this straight-to-the-remainder-table book from James Carville and Paul Begala. Or maybe Cohen's cable was on the fritz when, just this weekend, MSNBC blowhard Ed Schultz gathered on the mall to tell people that "This is a defining moment in America. Are you American? This is no time to back down. This is time to fight for America." Why do we have to fight for America? Who is attacking America?

You get the idea.

Whether or not he likes or approves of it, the Tea Party is a movement of "dissent" against the government, but Cohen still manages to bring up the tired talking point about "turn[ing] dissent into treason, which, in a way, was the worst treason of all." Those who shouted down the 60s antiwar movement "made dissidents into the storied 'other' who had nothing in common with the rest of us. They were not opponents; they were the enemy: Fire!" You see the parallels in the Tea Party movement yet?

And no, Richard Cohen doesn't catch the irony: The dissent of Kent State protesters, he thinks, was met with deadly force because of rhetoric that "otherized them," that turned them into a domestic enemy. Pretty much exactly what Richard Cohen is doing to the dissidents of the Tea Party movement. But he disagrees with those people, so…

NEXT: How to Slash the State

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  1. Wow, Moynihan is the last person I would expect to bring up minor league pundits. You think posting shit in this moronic echo chamber is major league, Michael? Fuck!

    1. Max, you do realize how sad and pathetic it is that you find the need to shout insults like a feces-flinging monkey all the time, right?

      At least the monkey deserves the attention. You deserve pity.

      1. Go fuck yourself, idiot.

        1. The more you act out Max, the more we pity you. I suppose this is the easiest way to deal with your insecurities (whatever those may be), but we’re pulling for you and hopefully you’ll get through this!

          Onwards and Upwards!

          1. Stop feeding it, please.

            1. I guess he/she/it’s a pity troll.

        2. Nifty rejoinder, genius.

          1. You people should be nicer to Max. After all, he’s the nicest, most reasonable, most articulate, and least profane and smartest leftist out there.

        3. pwned, Max, pwned. Thanks for playing.

    2. So by your own admission you are a minor-league commenter?

    3. I’m relatively new to reading this blog and up until this point I thought you were a sock puppet of some commenter playing devil’s advocate to foster debate. Whoops – guess not.

      1. He’s been doing this under a variety of names since Ron Paul started raising serious money in ’08. If you read him long enough, it becomes apparent that he only has a vocabulary of about 300 words, less than some signing language gorillas.

        1. A miss the American Sign Language chip that used to post here. I hope it’s okay.

          1. American Sign Language Chimp

      2. “Max” is impotent rage, incarnate. He makes LoneWacko look more potent.

        Can we allow LoneBoner back already? If you keep banning our most entertaining trolls, we get left with…Max/Edward/Lefiti.

        1. It isn’t a zero-troll game.

        2. What about Hobie Hanson/Scotch Hamilton, or was that a different troll?

          1. Oh shit, I forgot about crayon, that dude was awesome. CHRISTFAGS!!!

            1. I thought christfags were solely shrike’s thing. Did crayoh heart them too?

              1. No you are right, what was crayon’s shtick? I know it was some crazy shit.

                1. crayon was even more incoherent than shriek.

                2. Was crayon the one with the “HURR DURR”s?

                  1. Yes, that’s the one. DURRR HURR HURRR LOOK AT ME I VOTED FOR RON PAUL DURR HURR HURR and such.

                  2. I searched crayon in the archives and found that the trolls we get follow a certain script.

                    1. Act batshit insane. good for some laughs.

                    2. Try to make cogent arguments. Usually conspiracy theories.

                    3. Smug insults. I.e. You libertards never get it, you are racists.

                    4. go suck ron paolo’s koch!! Back to bat shit crazy, no longer funny.

                    5. Two things can now happen. They either enter into the max borg collective, never leaving, or they disappear.

          2. Dan. T. is both Hobie Hanson and Scotch Hamilton. And I’m claiming his scalp from round 2nd.

            1. I thought you outed him as Scotch Hamilton, too. Was that Epi?

              I think I deserve credit for nebulizing his golgormaticized cockulator, too.

              1. If I am not mistaken dan t kept the same orange name linky with his multiple identities. sarcasmblog.dickhead or something?

              2. Didn’t really have to out him. (cap l is right about that.) He changed to that name on his shitty blog. But I did find his other shitty blog with all the shitty fiction. And his Facebook profile.

                1. I am ready to admit that I spoofed him into dropping the Hamilton screen name, though: It’s all me, except for a few people who spoofed me spoofing Scotch Hamilton as played by Dan T.

        3. This guy was one of my favorite trolls.

          1. That exchange had so many drinkworthy comments that I am surprised anybody made it out sober.

            unrelated but it bears repeating:

            Me disagreeing with libertarian pigcunt faggots doesn’t make me automatically a member of the liberal pigcunt faggots.

            Wow, rager.

            1. I had forgotten that he turned out to be a grocery store bagger. Sometimes the Internet does make dreams come true.

            2. “Reason”,
              It’s like NPR for Republicans.

    4. ARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARFARF!!!!!!!!!!

    5. Max, while don’t you go fucking be an asshole on Restate, or someplace where people, you know, give a fuck?

    6. Echo chamber? Haven’t you been trolling here long enough to notice how every libertarian hates every other libertarian?

    7. And once again we see that oddest of leftist tactics: hanging out all day at conservative/libertarian sites, and then rushing to get in the first comment in every post. Really, go check virtually any such blog that has comments. You’ll see that in a majority of “hot button” posts, the lefties will rush to get in the very first comment, which is always non-responsive as a way to derail the thread (never works), and almost always crudely insulting. Like the first post here.

      If it weren’t such a waste of their time it would be pitiable that they spend so many houirs of their lives standing by, waitng for any one of the 30-40 conxervative/libertarian blogs which they have subscribed to to ping them with an alert of a new post. And then it’s time for action!

      It is so widespread, that it must be either a MoveOn-funded Alinsky-style kidney punch, where “activists” are actually paid by Soro to trash the comments; or it’s something that is taught to all the Kossack Kids as a way to really “screw with the fascists’ heads”. Like the way Moby did before the last election, when he suggested all manner of illegal dirty tricks which Obama supporters could pull on election day to prevent conservatives from being able to vote.

      Check other sites and you’ll see how often it occurs. But it doesn’t work the other way around, because by and large conservatives leave the liberal sites alone. Because, unlike the leftists, conservatives and libertarians really do believe in free speech. Heck, they believe in the whole Bill of Rights.

      Which is what infuriates the leftists like Maz so much, and compels him to try to shut us up in any way he can.

  2. Michael,

    It is much, much too early to call this. There’s still three weeks until the election. As the left gets more desperate, the rhetoric will inflate. And there’s all the post-election hand-wringing columns and “look over there!” pieces to still consider.

    I do agree about the writing and the logic, though. Both are exceedingly poor.

    1. Projection does that to shitty writers.

      1. “The line about the woman dead on the ground hits with ___________ force.”

        A. bruising
        B. immediate
        C. intimate
        D. harrowing
        E. All of the above

        1. F. forceful

          1. G. dainty

            1. I was waiting for that part where some jerk in a Hummer blows by him on that hill and puts him and his fucking bike in the ditch.

          2. G. Monster Truck

            1. Cohen’s going the distance…he’s going for speed

            2. G wins, hands down.

              1. Dammit, I was gonna say that. It really is the ONLY appropriate response.

        2. H. nostalgic

        3. i. irresistable

        4. j. impotent

        5. J. kick-ass

        6. K. Face-Melting Guitar Solo

        7. L. Dastardly

        8. Oh, is this Mad Libs now?

          L. Poopy

          1. M: vaguely irritating

        9. N. Impactful

        10. O. Orgasmic.

          Yeah, you knew someone was gonna do it.

    2. Just wait until the “voters are just petulant children having a tantrum” columns start on November 3rd.

      1. Ummmm, they’re racist petulant children.

        The MSM took a break on the racisim charges when Carville excoriated (Thanks, Sean Hannity!) Obama over the oil spill and other leftie critics sprouted. How can you have an anti-right meme when lefties are on the same team?

  3. Hysterical rhetoric is a consistent characteristic of both the left and right. Some people just take politics a little too seriously. It may be hard for you Washingtonians to understand, but the rest of us have other priorities. *yawn*

  4. So, basically this is a column about how Richard Cohen owns a bike?

    1. And how Pandora–a Internet radio “station” that plays music according to your preferences–has mysteriously and spontaneously started playing a song that fits Cohen’s worldview and prejudices.

      “My Pandora has been playing a lot of Pixies lately… what is it trying to tell me?!?”

      1. That you’re debased?

        1. “Where Is My Mind?” might be a little more on point.

          1. Monkey Gone to Heaven is probably about your junk.

            1. Into The White, but only because your a RACIST.

            2. Stop that, or he’ll start singing Gigantic.

          2. Yes, but I like my song better.

      2. That is a good catch. Pandora is a primitive AI system that matches the music it plays to your tastes. Apparently Cohen doesn’t realize this and thinks that Pandora is some kind of magical box that is connected to the zeitgeist of the age that apparently only he and it can perceive.

        1. Damn names. Basically this column amounts to “my computer has been sending me secret messages lately”.

          Save yourself Dick. Put on the tinfoil hat.

      3. How does he listen to Pandora while on a bike? Unless he’s got some sweet wi-fi rig on his bike, that’s unpossible. So, he’s a douchebag AND a liar.

        1. I can (and have) listen to pandora on my phone, so I dont see the issue.

          1. Yeah, I have it on my phone too.

            1. Waddaya want, a medal?

              You kids with your bicycles and your eye-phones and your Himmler glasses…

              1. Geeks vs. Hipsters: why can’t we be friends? Himmler glasses are the first step in the healing process.

                1. Among the worst of the litany of hideous crimes committed by hipsters is that they have made handlebar moustaches gay. Fuck you, hipsters. Fuck you.

                  1. They were gay to begin with.

                    1. Bullshit. Handlebars were as manly as the summer day is long.

                    2. Yeah, in 1889.

                    3. Was there ever (or will there ever be) a more manly time in America, though?

                    4. How DARE you call Rollie Fingers gay?

        2. I think he was referring to a stationary bike.

      4. Yeah, a little too convenient, just as hackneyed as the “I was talking to a cab driver, and this is what he says” trope.

    2. Good Lord, the WaPo needs new blood.

  5. Every column Brooks and Friedman write is a little worse than the one before it, so in a sense every one of their columns is the worst one of the year, in succession.

    1. The post mid term rationalizations should hit even new highs of stupidity. These guys are just warming up.

    2. So, every day you see him, you’re seeing him on the worst [writing] day of his life?

      1. Wow, that’s messed up.

      2. “What would you say, you do, here, Tom?”

    3. Exactly. If the Pirates and Mets can let the GM and manager go, what are these POS media waiting for?
      Maybe they’re working for free now.

  6. all this talk about ‘taking back America’ (from whom?)

    Mensheviks.

  7. “New Journalism”… is that anything like “New Math”?

    1. New Journalism, intensely subjective approach to journalistic writing prevalent in the United States during the 1960s and 70s, incorporating stylistic techniques associated with fiction in order to produce a vivid and immediate nonfiction style. During a time marked by political, social, and cultural upheaval, New Journalism’s practitioners adopted what they considered to be exciting and appropriate methods of reporting, combining personal impressions and opinions, reconstructing dialogue and slang, and writing from the point of view of their subjects.

      I think I’m gonna heave.

      1. Ayup, just thinking about Hell’s Angels or The Right Stuff has me puking in my pants.

        1. The Right Stuff is OK if we just dispense with the claim that it’s journalism.

          1. That is why I was always liked that Thompson went with ‘Gonzo journalism’, no claim of objectivity there, but at least it’s entertaining and the facade is removed.

            Actually there is probably a lot more truth in Thompson’s writings than in the whole collective work of today’s sycophantic and supposedly objective journalists.

  8. I have to say that Cohen’s picture is perfect for him. It’s not always that a person looks like they write. For instance, NutraSweet looks just as repulsive and disgusting as his writing.

    1. It’s true. When people see a picture of me with my wife, they usually assume it was taken moments before I abducted her in order to keep her locked in my clock tower.

      1. I don’t think people realize that you’re actually the Phantom of the Paradise.

        Man, I love Brian DePalma.

        1. Had to give up the mask, though. It chafes.

          1. Lose some weight.

            1. You love this old bear.

              1. I do enjoy it when your hair gets in my teeth, I will admit.

        2. Cohen looks like he should be orchestrating a Sylvanian Families themed SM orgy. As the grandfather.

          1. You would bring furries into this, you depraved scumbag.

            1. Well, one has to make one’s own fun on this grey, gin-soaked isle.

              *fetches milk bottles and gags*

          2. Actually, I think Cohen looks like he could pull off the wig, glasses and prosthetics and reveal himself to be Joel Grey.

            1. “You move like pregnant yak.”

              1. Ah, it’s been a while since we’ve heard from Chiun.

                1. You cannot make a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

                  1. I wish he commented here.

                    1. Sinanju has the best blogs in the world. Why would anyone want to comment anywhere else?

              2. Book series good. Movie, blech!

          3. No wonder the Sylvanian critters have such dead eyes. I thought the worst horror they’d experienced was my little sister chewing the felt off their heads.

            1. Actually, I wonder how many responses I’d get if I posted an ad for such an event on craigslist?

            2. Actually, I wonder how many responses I’d get if I posted an ad for such an event on craigslist?

            3. He looks like David Letterman with a bad toupee and a beard.

          4. He just looks like Wolf Blitzer to me.

            Of course, I have prosopagnosia, so my “looks like” function does not operate like other people’s.

          5. He looks like the recording secretary of NAMBLA. NTTAWWT.

            1. he touched my weiner. hhen he made me touch his weiner. i cried some.

            2. Eh, Richard Cohen looks nothing like Marlon Brando…

    2. Notice the Himmler/hipster glasses.

      I went looking for a picture to link and found this. Have fun.

    3. NutraSweet looks just as repulsive and disgusting as his writing.

      Oh, bullshit. No human, nor even a STEVE SMITH simian, could be as repulsive and disgusting looking as SF’s writing. It is genetically impossible.

  9. So the Tea Party grass-roots movement of citizens protesting against government excess is comparable, not to an earlier grass-roots movement of citizens protesting against government excess, but to the government-backed National Guard officers who shot at those citizens! It takes years of study, hard work and dedication to achieve that level of self-delusion.

    1. Yeah, I’m still confused by how he makes the connection. Tendentious to the max, no?

      (no pun intended)

    2. The connection is that People He Likes are being abused by People He Doesn’t Like.

  10. ‘taking back America’ (from whom?)”

    Two words: Jerry Brown.

    1. I’m again stunned at the shortness of memory suffered by our nation’s pundits. I’m now adding cohen to my list- where the top slot is currently occupied by Paul Krugman.

      1. I think your list would be shorter and easier to maintain if you kept a list of pundits who maintain an honest sense of historical perspective. Being a pundit is basically all about bemoaning demagoguery by the other side while also engaging in identical demagoguery every chance you get.

  11. It turned dissent into treason, which, in a way, was the worst treason of all. It made dissidents into the storied “other” who had nothing in common with the rest of us. They were not opponents; they were the enemy: Fire!

    No like those treasonous Tea Party dissenters who totally deserve it. Don’t they know the democrats are in charge now and will only do what’s good for the people?

  12. You see the parallels in the Tea Party movement yet?

    No. But, I bet if you look hard and long enough, you can convince yourself that you do see the zebra hiding in the 3-D pixel painting.

    1. Dude, you just need to cross your eyes a little and relax.

    2. I saw a Zebra in front of a rainbow once on a farm in rural Georgia…

  13. Holy mother of pearl that is an atrocious column.

    Cohen, EJ Dionne, Ezra Klein, Courtland Milloy, Colbert King, Eugene Washington, Dana Milbank — is it even possible to build a lineup of columnists with a more perfect balance of ignorance, intolerance, and self-righteous douchebaggery?

    Has the W. Post always been this fucking crazy?

    1. No. But it has definitely gotten worse. I said on another thread that if the NYT lineup of Kirstol, Kruginuts, Friedman and company are the 27 Yankees of stupidity, WAPO is the 29 As.

    2. That reads like a list of Rand Villains.

    3. Don’t forget socialist and union shill Harold Myerson. The WaPo is truly top-notch.

  14. Richard Cohen is to Journalism,
    As ________ is to modern fiction

    1. Richard Cohen is to Journalism,
      As __Paul__ is to modern fiction

      Works.

    2. a DVD player instruction manual author

    3. Nicholas Sparks.

    4. __Stephenie Meyer__

      1. She is at least readable and not nearly as flippin’ ugly as Cohen.

    5. John/Suki.

      Oh, snap!

    6. Dan T.

      “DID YOU BLAST HIM???”

      1. I don’t know if it’s proper to consider Dan T.’s ravings as fiction, strictly speaking. They’re more of…um…ravings.

        1. They’re satire.

          *cough*

          1. Shitty writers often claim they are engaged in satire.

            1. Which boggles, because I find satire to be one of the most difficult forms of writing to master.

              1. I think it comes from not nowing the difference between satire and mere imitation. While imitation can be a component of good satire, it is not sufficient in of itself. Satire must illuminate the subject, not just present an echo.

            2. “Dude, are you being sarcastic?”
              “I don’t even know anymore!”

    7. the Obamacare bill

    8. _an ass pustule_

    9. David Foster Wallace

    10. __Dan Brown__

      1. Even a day later, I gotta echo this. All of his stuff is crap, but I suffered through Digital Fortress which is without doubt the worst piece of fiction ever written; including my 3rd grade illustrated science fiction epic that was written on construction paper and used glitter for the space ship exhaust. Now that I think about it, my epic was totally awesome when compared with Brown’s tripe. Maybe I went into the wrong line of work – I thought you had to be good to make money as an author. Maybe you just have to suck audaciously.

  15. Take back America? I knew I shoulda kept the receipt…

    1. Maybe we can get store credit.

  16. As bad as this column is, can we really judge it as the “Worst of the Year!(so far)”?

    Friedmans incessant columns on how in China the trains run on time?

    Krugman calling for a tripling-down on TARP every other day?

    Ezra Klein, um, all of them?

    We have quite the wide body of candidates to choose from. I think it’s premature to give the award to Cohen.

    1. This is why award shows have different categories. Everyone is special in their own way.

    2. Ezra Klein’s columns are like reading a paper by an elementary school student who has just discovered that the Earth goes around the sun and who wants to know if anyone else has heard this shocking news.

      1. It’s true! Every time I read Klein I have to keep myself from writing F– on my screen with a red sharpie.

      2. Ezra Klein’s columns are like reading a paper by an elementary school student who has just discovered that the Earth goes around the sun the sun goes around the Earth and who wants to know if anyone else has heard this shocking news.

        … to be more accurate.

      3. I positively treasure every one of that Noonan person’s works. Damn, is she perceptive.

    1. I was thinking more of the old Sid Barrett Pink Floyd song.

      1. It’s got a basket, a bell that rings, and things that make it look good. I’d give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it.

      2. Good lord, I haven’t thought of that song in years. I presume Gerald is dead by now…

  17. When I reminisce about Ken State it gives me an aura of being a wise sage, so I imagine, that I can pummel those who I fear without having to put any thought into it. Evoking Kent State is proof enough of my wisdom, what do you think Pulitzer committee? Wait, I need to add a little music to make this complete, maybe a ditty by the Little River Band.

    Friday night, it was late,
    I was walking you home
    We got down to the gate . . .

    Wait! What I was I thinking! Kent State needs a touch of Neal Young’s Ohio. Oh, that will sell it.

  18. Asshat Cohen was railng against people who short stock futures and then mentioned in the same column he doesn’t know what stock futures are. Par for the course.

  19. Dude rides a bike around listening to an ipod, he won’t be writing shitty columns for long.

    one dead on the side o’ the road

    1. Heard. I’ve been riding for years and have a good sense of the road and trail about me, and would never, ever ride while listening to music or trying to talk on the phone or use a GPS.

      He’s inviting trouble – which could be a good thing. I’ve seen far, far better writing from B-track high school freshman. What’s troubling is, WAPO, SFChron, and NYT articles are held up by many teachers of writing and journalism as beacons of light and points of aspiration for their students. I shudder, sometimes.

      1. I hear you, I ride everywhere, but I am not one of those “every rider deserves respect” riders. Some motherfuckers need ran off the road, and nothing is worse than boomers listening to classic rock weaving to and fro, blowing stop signs.

        Winter is coming anyways so I’ll have the roads and paths to myself.

        1. No kidding. I have nothing against bikes. I ride one myself sometimes. But I don’t understand why some people think that traffic rules don’t apply to bikes. Nothing pisses me off more than some asshole on a bike weaving in and out of traffic and running red lights and stop signs.

          1. As a cyclist, this pisses me off as well. Gives me a bad name when I get back out there in the tighties trying to regain my lung capacity, if this baby ever decides to be born…Sorry. Two weeks to go and I’m cranky.

            1. Boy or girl or Warty?

              1. Another girl. In two weeks, I’ll have 2 kids under 2 years old.

                1. Well, you need any help teaching them to curse and make up insults, I’m just an email away.

                2. Oh my god, when will you find time to drink?

                  I don’t know why people do these things to themselves.

                  1. Drinking is what got us into the unexpected and supposedly protected mess – both times.

                    1. Not drinking enough would be the problem then.

                    2. I was betrayed by science myself at the age of 42. College graduation and SS in the same year. *sniff*

      2. B-track? Is that community college material? Maybe an Associates in Landscaping in the future?

        1. As in not honors or AP material – middle of the road college prep. C-Track is community college material or vocational training. It really depends on the school system and how they set up classes. Most schools have Honors, College Prep, and Remedial/Basic for the core curriculum units. Special Ed kids get mainstreamed in with the College Prep classes (usually).

          1. Ah, I forgot the private college/state college divide.

    2. Eh, he prolly wears a helmet. Dammit.

  20. Oh, puleeeese,

    The only “story” of the Kent State shootings was that some weekend soldiers grabbed the wrong box of ammunition.

    Of course, always “left” out of the left’s mythological stories of Kent State is why the National Guard was there in the first place. The Guard was called out after a week of massive violence from the “peace” protestors. They have physically attack ROTC members and school officials, occupied and destroyed college buildings and the night before the shootings had rioted through the downtown business district stoning people, breaking windows and starting fires.

    Violence begets violence, even accidental violence. If the “peace” demonstrators hadn’t acted like vicious thugs, the Guard would have never been called out and put in the position to make a mistake.

    I am continuously amazed at the left’s ability to do Ministry of Truth rewrites of history and just as in the original story, they really, really believe the fabrication. That is what makes them so damn dangerous.

    Consequently, it is not suggesting, either, that we cannot distinguish any more between fact and fiction. What it is suggesting is that fiction is the only shape we can give to facts, that all shapes are fictions.

    For sake of the existence of the human species, keep this guy away from the school of engineering. The last thing we need is “fictional” bridges, aircraft, power systems and reactors.

    There is a big difference between understanding the limits of human knowledge and creating fictions in which every event has heroes, villains and a moral.

    This is what happens when people live their entire lives inside a subculture composed entirely of people who do write “fiction” whether it is called that or not. Since success within the subculture comes solely from an individual’s ability to manipulate the emotions of others (either directly or intellectually) they come to believe intuitively that all human knowledge and all human events are really just arbitrary stories (or narratives as the kids say) and that you can recreate a society anyway you like just by writing another story for it. Life is just a play and unjust societies have evil script writers and just societies have good ones.

    Of course, farmers, truck drivers, engineers, business people and pretty much everyone except articulate, manipulative intellectuals know better.

    1. You’re too serious.

      Couldn’t you just make fun of his beard or something?

      Hell, the guy’s wearing Himmler glasses, go with that.

      1. I try to laugh but whenever I read some leftist’s lionization of Vietnam “peace” movement, I am forced to recall that these self-rightous pricks betrayed the people of Cambodia to Pol Pot and his Khmer Rouge resulting in the death of at least 1 in every 7 and as many as 1 in 5 living Cambodians.

        For some reason the remembered images of 12 years olds taught to suffocate hundreds of people each with plastic bags and rivers choked with bodies just sucks the fun right out me.

        It’s a weakness, I know. I bet Epsiarch has an entire repertoire of witty jokes about megademocides that he whips out at every party.

    2. You know, we were actually having fun here until you showed up with your KULTUR WAR bullshit.

      “Great, look who just ruined Halloween. You know, you’re like the A-bomb, everyone’s laughing having a good time and you show up BOOM! Everything’s dead!”

      1. Facts suck Epi. Shannon doesn’t write history he just reads it. Everything he said was true. Sorry the facts don’t fit your narrative.

        1. John, are you fucking drunk? What the fuck “narrative” are you talking about? Are you still stupid enough to think that if I don’t agree with you that I buy all the left’s bullshit?

          And thanks for joining Shannon in sucking the joy out of this thread. Dick.

          1. John is just trying to deflect the conversation away from Cohen’s neatly trimmed beard and himmler glasses.

            Why he is doing this I will leave up to the reader to decide.

          2. OK. my mistake. i misunderstood you. I take it back.

            1. You need to make a beard joke, preferably involving woodland creatures, if you want to make this right,man.

              1. It is not a joke. But to comment on his beard, Cohen back in the day used to have a real beard. Now he has this hipster closely cut five o’clock shadow thing going. it is pretty pathetic.

                1. Actually, I have that. But only because my wife likes it that way and requested it.

                  1. That is frikkin awesome that your beard is like a radio station, taking requests and all.

                    “Hey Spoonman, long time listener, first time caller. Love yer show”

                    What can we do for you, ummm, capitol l from fat city? Do you have a request?

                    “Yeah man, I am a big crazy guy beard fan and was wondering if we could get Ted Kaczynski’s Multi-colored madness on? If you have the live version with the hair that would be freaking awesome! Could I dedicate it to my girlfriend krystal with a k working the hardee’s drive-thru tonight?”

      2. It wasn’t that much fun. Don’t flatter yourself.

      3. Episiarch,

        You know, my name appears at the top of my post so if you find my post so emotionally wrenching, you do have the option of simply not reading them.

        I hate to break it to you but Hit&Run; is a place where people come to discuss important ideas. It’s not a celebrity gossip site or some such.

        I will try to make concessions to your fragile emotional state but I think it best if you simply don’t try to keep up with an adult conversation. Some things you are not clearly just not mature enough to handle.

        Sorry, I ruined your day.

        1. “I hate to break it to you but Hit&Run; is a place where people come to discuss important ideas. It’s not a celebrity gossip site or some such.”

          LMAO. I wanna say, ‘You must be new here’, but I know you’re not.

    3. They have totally written out the violence of the new left in the late 1960s. The radical elements of the anti-war movement blew up buildings on multiple campuses and killed scores of innocent people. If one of the tea parties ever resulted in so much as the burning of a car, Cohen would be calling for marshal law to be imposed. People like Cohen really do live in their own world.

      1. I don’t believe that Cohen can ride a bike twelve miles any more than I believe all the nauseating faux paranoia emanating from the piece that is intended to scare the crap out of his Beltway audience.

        1. 12 miles is not that far if the terrain is flat.

          People on The Biggest Loser could do a flat 12 miles during the first episode if you could find a bike that would support them.

      2. Whoa.

        Killed scores of innocent people?

        As far as I know, those incompetent Weatherfucks only managed to kill themselves in bombmaking accidents.

        I’ll need a list of non-robbery-related deaths, please.

        1. There’s the physics post-doc that was killed when student activists bombed the Army Mathematics Research Center at Wisconsin. I can’t think of any others right now, though.

          1. People killed by the SLA, maybe?

            1. SLA only committed two known murders, and one was during a bank robbery. And the first was three years after Kent State.

              John is talking out of his ass, as usual.

              1. There was Betty van Platter, who was almost certainly murdered in cold blood by the Black Panthers.

                But I’m not sure why Fluffy has to put his caveat about the deaths being “non-robbery related” in there, as though killing a cop or a guard in the process of committing an armed robbery makes it OK. It’s almost like he’s trying to minimize those deaths or something.

                1. Or Fluffy is making a distinction between pre-meditated acts and 2nd degree murder. Which is the difference between dangerous bumbling idiots and John’s fantasy of roving gangs of hippie terrorists.

                  1. See? You admit they were terrorists. If you feel the need to point out inaccurate statements about the anti-war movement, it’s because you hate freedom, unlike John and Shannon.

                  2. John’s point is still basically valid.

    4. The only “story” of the Kent State shootings was that some weekend soldiers grabbed the wrong box of ammunition.

      What other kind of ammunition would they have been supposed to use?

      1. The stuff that shoots a flag out of the barrel that says “BANG!” Maybe?

        1. Rubber bullets. Honestly.

        2. Now that was funny +something really good.

      2. Mini-nukes.

        1. Speaking of which:

          WHERE IS MY FONV?!?!

          1. Any day now. I’m playing Red Dead Redemption in the meantime.

      3. Rubber bullets and tear gas rounds fired from 12 gauge shotguns. The standard tools for dealing with a violent destructive mob without overt weapons.

        It was obviously an accident. If they wanted to kill a lot of protestors the .3006 caliber M1 Garand the girls where sticking flowers into would have done a much better job. One shot at close range from a Garand could go through three people in a crowd.

        1. They shot with M1 Garand rifles and .45 pistol though.

          I also find it difficult to believe that they several of them would not know the difference between plastic rounds and real bullets …

          1. I don’t think so. IIRC, all the deaths were caused by shotgun pellets. The shotgun shells are easy to confuse because they all have the same shape. It’s easy to grab the wrong thing if you’re not paying attention.

            However, even if they didn’t, the fact still remains that the Guard was responding to a violent rampaging mob. Whomever starts violence is responsible for the outcome regardless. Had the “protestors” not tried to intimidate with violence, the Guard wouldn’t have been there and would have made a mistake and/or overreacted.

            1. Wikipedia and others claim that M-1’s were fired into the crowd, and the FBI reports on the incident state that M-1’s and .45’s were taken into evidence (did not see any mention of shotguns).

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kent_State_shootings

              http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/kentstat.htm

    5. Shorter Shannon: “Is that bullet in your ribcage ‘factual’ enough for you, College Boy?”

    6. + 10

    7. There are two lessons to be learned from Kent State:

      1) Do not throw rocks at people with guns.
      2) Do not stand behind people throwing rocks at people with guns.

      And why are people referring to Shannon as “he”? I thought it was usually a female name….

      1. There are two lessons to be learned from Kent State:

        1) Do not throw rocks at people with guns.
        2) Do not stand behind people throwing rocks at people with guns.

        Poaching Niven’s first law, are we?

        1. Not poaching, just adapting to the situation.

    8. Shannon Love says: The Guard was called out after a week of massive violence from the “peace” protestors. They have physically attack ROTC members and school officials, occupied and destroyed college buildings and the night before the shootings had rioted through the downtown business district stoning people, breaking windows and starting fires.

      Not only that, but after the local fire department tried to put out the Army ROTC barracks fire on May 2, their hoses were punctured and cut open, forcing them to leave the building burning.

      http://speccoll.library.kent.e…..index.html

      You tend to blow your moral credibility when you screw with people who risk their lives putting fires out.

      No one wanted to see Americans shooting Americans, but the Kent State kids were violent rioters and not the moral equivalent of MLK, despite what Cohen and Neil Young are trying to sell.

  21. This pandora article was written about me.

  22. Why do you think the students were shot that day? It’s a breeze to attack Cohen without putting your own view on the line. That’s the textbook definition of the Tea Party.

    1. According to John it is because the kids were dirty hippie terrorists, whereas Cohen says it is because the Great Silent Majority, or Tea Party time travelers, told those soldiers to.

      Oh jeeze, I just don’t know who to let do my thinking for me!

    2. Why do you think the students were shot that day?

      A bunch of National Guardsmen pointed rifles at them and pulled the trigger.

    3. A. Why do you care what I think?

      B. No one needs your permission to mock a columnist who deserves it, even if we refuse to “put our own view on the line.” My view is that the premise of this column is so stupid — and the writing so awful — that the origins of the KS shooting are beside the point.

    4. The same reason that British soldiers shot people in the Boston “massacre”. Frightened, young, untrained soldiers, put in a stupid situation by the authorities who requested them. And that is related to the tea party how?

      Cohen, and like-minded liberal apparatchiks are “the man” now. It is their establishment that is being challenged. The column reeks of fear. Not for the country, but rather for the possible loss of power.

    5. You’re right. It is a breeze to attack Cohen.

    6. Frank|10.5.10 @ 1:44PM|#
      “Why do you think the students were shot that day? It’s a breeze to attack Cohen without putting your own view on the line. That’s the textbook definition of the Tea Party.”

      Richard! Did someone tell you your column was being laughed at here?

    7. I think the students were shot that day because they were questioning the wisdom of the state, and the state and its defenders feared that and demonized that.

      And that would make Cohen the National Guardsman in the analogy, and no one in the Tea Party. Right?

      1. “But later they began doing things which were much less cute, like threatening to vote, and it became necessary to kill them at Kent State.”

        PJ O’Rourke

    8. Niven’s First Law-

      “Never throw shit at an armed man.”

    9. Frank,

      They were shot because they went on a violent rampage that overwhelmed the local police requiring the deployment of military units to restore basic order. When the governor of Ohio called them “brown shirts” he was being descriptive instead of pejorative.

      This created an environment in which a simple mistake in distinguishing ammunition cost lives. Had they been the actual peaceful protestors of the leftists mythology, nothing would have happened.

      Cohen is implying they were shot because of their efforts to secure a victory in Indochina for totalitarian, megacidal Communist regimes. They weren’t. That is just the egocentrism and hubris of the left that leads them to believe that the a bunch of leftwing kids are so important to changing the world that the powers-that-be had to have them killed.

      The real instigators paid no price for either their violence against civil discourse nor their support for the greatest proportional democide of the 20th century. In fact, a lot of the “peace” movement types went on to fame, wealth and power. IIRC, one of the leaders of the Kent riots is today a powerful Democrat insider running one their various “foundations.”

      If they had got the justice they deserved, they wouldn’t have been shot but forced to spend the last few decades disinterring the mass graves they worked so hard to fill.

      1. IIRC, I seem to remember running across some info that claimed that there were shots fired AT the guardsmen before the fired towards the students. Not sure how credible. . .

  23. Useful Info Nation Blog has another take of the ridiculous Cohen column.

    http://blog.usefulinfonation.com

  24. Beautiful, Moynihan.

  25. Good God, people. As a troll Max is barely trying. Why do you even bother?
    At least Tony and Chad sometimes make actual arguments.

    1. Max comes here for Abuse, not Arguments.

      1. No he doesn’t.

        1. Yes, he does.

          1. This isn’t an argument.

  26. Geez, is this guy the new Emily Litella?

    “What’s all this I hear about taking back our country?”

  27. “They (I assume Cohen and his ilk) have totally written out the violence of the new left in the late 1960s. The radical elements of the anti-war movement blew up buildings on multiple campuses and killed scores of innocent people.” John is exactly right.

  28. Lately, [Internet radio station Pandora] has repeatedly played the Neil Young song “Ohio”: “What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground?

    This is just packed full of stupid. Pandora doesn’t play what the creators of the website want — you create your own stations that match your musical taste. You can play the “Trip Hop” station your entire life and never hear “Ohio” played — unless you kept thumbing up and down songs and adding content that eventually turned that station into an “Ohio” station somehow.

  29. Pretty sure no one at Reason Magazine is qualified to judge quality of writing. Seriously.

    1. Oh snap! Dude that was too harsh, man. You are a master, them guys was pwned!

      Do it again I’m thirsty…yeahhhh!

    2. I’ll be dreaming of you for weeks!

    3. is hurt.

  30. I always found it odd that people expected those green Nat Guard troops to just stand there while a bunch of provenly violent students advanced on them throwing rocks. If you check current protocols for paramilitary reaction, rock-throwing is considered potentially fatal and responding with weapons fire is now acknowledged as a proper thing to do.

    1. Heck, in a SWAT raid a barking toy poodle is enough cause to open fire!

  31. Actually, Gene Lyons would be a good pick for the “kneejerk anti-conservative bigotted columnist” award.

    The barking moonbat would win it hands down with little trouble me thinks … not that Lyons wouldn’t have a lot of competition for the award.

  32. Richard Cohen is absolute proof that humans should only be allowed to set foot on Connecticut Avenue a limited number of times. He stinks of DC worse than the rats that hang out by the Friendship Heighs library.

  33. It is hard to believe that someone would criticize today’s Tea Party by bringing up Kent State. If this does not prove that people like Cohen are stuck in the nostalgic past, avoiding present day realities, nothing does. Crazy… and pathetic.

  34. Take it back from statist thieves like Richard Cohen. There is a reason these people are so eager to take your guns away.

  35. I haven’t studied Kent State in detail, but if I recall what I once read those guardsmen were acquitted in about 4 hours by a jury of their peers. Seems the jury found the guardsmen in reasonable fear for their lives from the rioting crowd.
    Yeah, that’s the same as Tea Party protests against deficit spending.

    1. O.J. was acquitted by a jury as well. Our system is good, but not without flaws.

  36. Let’s not be too hard on poor Richard. As it is early October, I am willing to assume that he is recently enrolled in college and this is his first assignment for his ENGLISH 101- Freshman Composition course.

  37. What’s amusing is how these columnists think they are influencing the mainstream against the tea parties when all they are doing is engaging in the world’s largest circle jerk.

  38. Is Max somehow related to the flying monkeys on the evolutionary scale or is he simply pretending to be a complete barking moonbat jerk just to appear “progressively” cosmopolitan?

    BTW, apparently these lunatic leftist haven’t figured it out yet that they are the establishment and we’re merely speaking truth to morons by subverting their dominant paradigm of insanity. Trying to establish a velvet gulag under the general heading of “compassion” doesn’t strike me as very progressive or compassionate.

    And why is anyone surprised when the Communist Party USA gave the Obama/Democratic agenda a 100% approval rating and easily co-mingled with one another at that joke of a rally “One Nation”? Yeah, one commie nation.

    I am surprised, however, when Donks get so self-righteously enraged when we properly call them neo-coms (neo-communists) and socialists. It stands to reason when one embraces what are essentially collectivist/socialist policies it would make them socialists by default despite how much they pay lip service to the U.S. Constitution whose letter and spirit are diametrically opposed to the concept of ever rapacious big government running or ruining the lives of free Americans. Just sayin’.

  39. If this is what Mr. Cohen gets out of Ohio , I can’t wait to read the pearls of wisdom to come when 99 LuftBallons rolls to the top of the playlist.

  40. It’s columns like this that make me wish Ken Tremendous, Junior, and dak were libertarians and wrote a “Fire Paul Krugman” blog.

    I’d do it if I were witty or clever or even just a decent writer.

  41. The articles here are usually too cringe-worthy to make it through entirely, but the headlines are really some of the most awful in the world. Really phoning it in.

  42. Does Cohen realize this is ancient history to anyone 45 or younger?

    Does Cohen realize that since that time North Vietnamese Generals have attributed their victory to demonstrations like Kent State and the media supporting them?

    Does Cohen realize that the North Vietnamese victory led directly to the deaths of millions of innocents in Southeast Asia?

    or is all of this lost in grooving on the really cool time he had helping write misleading stories that lead to those deaths?

    1. They were going to die anyway. Couldn’t be helped. Now watch this shot.

    2. History started and stopped with his moment of glory.

  43. Right-wingers always attack the messenger.

  44. “all this talk about ‘taking back America’ (from whom?)”
    From the parasites who don’t pay the bills, I guess. Though it’s probably be easier just to join them and let survivors of the collapse start over.

  45. What else Republicans really want:

    No Environmental Regulations
    No Social Security
    No Public Education
    No Regulated Banking
    No Medicare
    No Healthcare for the poor
    No Regulations for Wall Street
    No Regulations for Insurance/ Healthcare Industry
    No Taxes for the Rich who make wealth by plundering the poor
    No Regulation of private business
    No Civil Rights or Hate Crimes for gay people.
    No Union protection for workers
    Etc, etc.

    1. Given this list, and the site you’re posting on, I have no choice but to conclude you are a Republican shill.

    2. Plundering? I’m in if I get to wear a Pirate hat.

    3. You can do better on your third try. Try telling us what the Democrats want.

      Example: Higher taxes to punish the poor who are trying to get by.

      You get the idea.

  46. horridly simplistic, if not stupid piece. poorly written, even more poorly thought out. just a screed attacking cohen. won’t make the same mistake reading this guy’s drivel anymore.

    1. …but i can’t find the shift key1

  47. Let’s not be so hard on Cohen. I remember those very same emotions about Kent State. And boys killed in Vietnam. And a carload of kids killed on Prom Night. And a girl stabbed to death.

    None of whom I knew, of course. But at 15 I had a head full of mush and a heart full of soul; and I was longing, aching, for real drama in my life. And I was always on the lookout for somebody else’s misfortune, so that I could open my heart and latch on to their misery.

    If I could bootstrap their horror into my life; if I could summon enough sympathy and feel their pain, then maybe I would be wounded too. And then maybe I would be a figure of great interest, perhaps even vaguely attractive to those inaccessible long-haired beauties, who just might be moved by my sad plight to Heal My Hurt. That is, if I could convince them I HAD a terrible loss.

    So let’s not be too tough on Richie. He’s just experiencing that desperate need for self-referential drama that so many adolescents need to validate themselves and prove they are deeply serious and so very, very caring. I’m sure a lot of you did the very same thing.

    Of course, if you did, it was probably no later than your mid-teens. So Cohen might want to think about why it is he still needs to manufacture a big hole in his heart when he’s 70 years old. Is he still hoping to score with the 70-year-old version of those long-haired beauties who were so moved by displays of pain and loss?

    1. Cohen would be better served by emo music vs 60s protest music. His heart’s that big, folks.

  48. My first thought was: Who wrote the Richard Cohen parody? Reading more closely, it was clearly Cohen himself and he means every word. When will the Baby Boomers stop talking about Vietnam and the protests? Is the bike bit supposed to persuade us that he is still young and with it? BTW, Cohen, the protesters carried North Vietnam and Vietcong flags–enemy flags. Why did the young patriots do that?

  49. “The massacre at Kent State, Cohen says, was the byproduct of the extreme rhetoric of the late 1960s right”

    yes, lets all pretend for a moment that the Kent State protestors didn’t surround the Guard and chant “Kill! Kill! Kill!”

    Wapo is dialing in their propaganda these days. And Cohen is really this stupid.

  50. I don’t know that I’d declare this column the “worst of the year,” while Mr. Cohen has an additional three months yet in which to surpass himself.

  51. The delusional insane Left.

    They think this is anger? LOL!

    The fuckers haven’t seen anything.

  52. Whenever I hear stoned-out sot Neil Young whining about Ohio, I turn on Sweet Home, Alabama for an antidote. Works every time…!

    Cohen has that Alfred E. Neuman What-Me-Worry? look about him that spells dodissimo.

  53. I included your article and my own comments in a letter I sent directly to Mr. Cohen. No response from him yet.

    You can read how I take this pseudo-journo to task here:
    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=822290681#!/profile.php?id=822290681&v=wall&story_fbid=131604200223676

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  59. I included your article and my own comments in a letter I sent directly to Mr. Cohen. No response from him yet.

    You can read how I take this pseudo-journo to task here:
    http://xn—-ymcbam7ans2mxa.co…..4200223676

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