Richard Cohen Is Always Gagging on Something or OtherS

Yesterday, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote that "people with conventional views must repress a gag reflex" when thinking about interracial relationships. That got us wondering: What else does Cohen think might make people gag?

The results aren't pretty. As it turns out, Cohen is something worse than a casual racist: he's a blatantly shitty writer who keeps going reflexively back to the same tired metaphor. Diving into the Post's archives, we found that Cohen, and the many real and hypothetical subjects of his columns, have been gagging in print for over 25 years. Here, a complete list:

Gagger: "We"
Object of gagging: Wasting a dollar

The richest nation in the world cannot afford the most meager of social programs. We waste people and lives but gag at the thought of doing the same with a dollar. ("Money—or His Life," Feb. 6, 1985)

Gagger: "You"
Object of gagging:
References to Bill Clinton's time in England as a Rhodes Scholar

The references to Clinton's time in England as a Rhodes Scholar—a distinct honor, by the way—make you want to gag. ("A Chilling Disdain for Truth," Oct. 6, 1992)

Gagger: "You"
Object
of gagging: Cute answers

That answer, so cute as to make you gag, is the sort of thing parents are used to hearing. ("Two Bill Clintons," March 31, 1992)

Gagger: "You"
Object
of gagging: Pandering

Why lead when simply by stifling the gag reflex you can reach your goal by pandering? ("Sucker's War," Nov. 27, 1990)

Gagger: President George H.W. Bush
Object
of gagging: Parts of the ACLU's program

The ACLU has also worked the other side of the ideological street... Exactly what in this menu of causes prompts Bush to gag? ("Why Is Bush Saying Those Things About Dukakis?" Sep. 1, 1988)

Gagger: Political cynics
Object of gagging: President George H.W. Bush's remarks

Bush said how good it was to be out of Washington—"to be out where the real people are." The remark was like two fingers down the throat, a gag-inducer for even a political cynic. ("Treating Voters as Children," Oct. 26, 1990)

Gagger: Congressman Henry Hyde's conservative supporters
Object of gagging: Modernity

Modernity sanctions governmental funding of such exhibits. Hyde's forces gag at the prospect. ("Henry Hyde's Thoughtful Conservatism," Jun. 26, 1990)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: Then-Senator Paul Simon

I gag. ("Rhapsody in P.U.," Dec. 27, 1987)

Gagger: "The generally liberal academic establishment"
Object of gagging: Conservative writer Carol Inannone

A politically conservative chairman chose a politically conservative nominee—a polemicist certain to make the generally liberal academic establishment gag. ("Iannone: A Political Choice," Jul. 9, 1991)

Gagger: Adam Smith
Object of gagging: Cigarette capitalism

...the manufacture, selling and, most important, advertising of cigarettes would make even Adam Smith gag. ("The Tobacco Road," Nov. 20, 1992)

Gagger: "You"
Object of gagging: Virginians holding onto racial segregation

It was enough to make you gag. ("Who Needs Virginia Gentlemen?" Jun. 19, 1991)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: The phrase "the dignity of labor"

...phrases like "the dignity of labor" make me gag. ("B-52 Journalism," Sep. 15, 1991)

Gagger: "You"
Object of gagging: Mentions of God

Nary a public event can take place without someone mentioning the deity, often in a way to make you want to gag. ("God in the Bosnian Woods," Jun. 13, 1995)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: Lying politicians

But the point does come—or at least it ought to—when the gag reflex kicks in. I reached that point when, in speech after speech, the war in Iraq was described as a defensive one in which America had no choice. ("Grand Old Prevarication," Sep. 2, 2004)

Gagger: The United States
Object of gagging: Hypocrisy

The United States had to support Israel or gag on its own hypocrisy. ("Ben-Gurion's Lesson for Arafat," Dec. 6, 2001)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: Assistant Attorney General William Bradford Reynolds

Gag me with a towel. ("Throwing in the Towel," Jul. 5, 1985)

Gagger: Cohen and/or Maimonides
Object of gagging: The Linda and Gerald Guterman Scholarship Fund

As Maimonides might have said, Gag me with a spoon. ("What Price Charity?" Nov. 23, 1986)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: Praise for Ronald Reagan

Gag me with a spoon. ("Poetry of the True Believer," May 27, 1987)

Gagger: Le Monde
Object of gagging: Praise for Muammar al-Qaddafi

To this, the French newspaper Le Monde reacted with the Gallic equivalent of gag-me-with-a-spoon. ("France: Hypocrisy and Hostages," Apr. 13, 1990)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: The Gulf crisis

About two weeks into the Gulf crisis, the phrase that comes to mind is not some bloodcurdling Arab oath from the desert but a more prosaic one from the San Fernando Valley: "Gag me with a spoon." ("Nations Built on Sand," August 17, 1990)

Gagger: Sports fans
Object of gagging: Accepting the role of fate in sports

To acknowledge that choice is largely absent from sports would gag the fan. ("A Choice Decision," Oct. 8, 1989)

Gagger: Shoppers
Object of gagging: Encounters at shopping establishments

Stores can satisfy our need to mingle, to be in the company of other people, to hear the chance remark that makes you laugh or gag. ("Really Wired," Oct. 13, 1993)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: NPR's "NPRness"

Some mornings, in fact, I gag at the very NPRness of its report, yet another in-depth piece proving once again that life is unfair and that many poor people live in poverty. ("Empty Talk at NPR," March 25, 2004)

Gagger: "You"
Object of gagging: New York's new image

It's enough to make you gag. During the blackout, the new image of New York was reinforced over and over again in the media. ("...Enough to Make You Gag," Aug. 19, 2003)

Gagger: Cohen
Object of gagging: Hugs

Now someone you hardly know and who has not bathed since the day before yesterday comes up and hugs you, calls you Rich, says he loves you: I love you, man. My gag reflex is triggered. ("Presuming Too Much Intimacy," Feb. 18, 2013)

[image via AP]