January 27, 2011 at 11:37 pm (By Miles Lascaux)

Apologies to Flaubert, or to anyone sick of my occasional complaining about co-workers; all quotes guaranteed authentic.

ART – must express political indignation or offend local sensibilities to be any good. Art has a duty to not merely explore and express the wounds in the nation, but to create new ones.

BLACK REPUBLICANS – only can be explained by reference to Uncle Tom or some sort of self-loathing complex that requires therapy. Fair game for every sort of hateful stereotype and epithet. Anti-Israel Jews, however, are proof that being anti-Israel is never the same as being anti-Semitic (see JEWS).

CANADA – has no crime, no poverty, no racism, no militarism. “I would move there in a minute if it wasn’t for _______.”

CHILDREN – your progressive views about public education, diversity, tolerance, SUVs, and affirmative action do not apply in situations that involve your children.

CHOMSKY – God. Only Stephen Colbert outranks him.

CHRISTIANITY – only idiots and bigots believe in it. Westboro Baptist is a typical church. Any public expression of faith is aimed at intimidating atheists and other non-Christians. The world won’t improve till people stop listening to preachers. None of the above applies to black denominations.

COMMUNISM – ancient history. Dismiss it quicky and move on. “Real communism was never tried.”

CONDI RICE – not really black, of course, but really a war criminal. Bad example to young minorities. The only public political woman it is legitimate to call “ugly.” All taboos against race-baiting are suspended in her case, provided they are uttered by people of sterling liberal Democratic credentials.

DEATH PENALTY – immoral and a sign of America’s hopeless cowboy culture. Unless the subject is Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, or Rice.

DEMOCRATS – never do any of the mean political tricks and underhanded stunts that are the basis of any Republican success. Until they actually are convicted of them, in which case everyone does that.

DICK CHENEY – shout “war criminal,” flush red, and swear every time you see his face on television. Or else just say, “shot a guy in the face.” Hypocrite because he has a lesbian daughter yet remains a Republican.

EUROPE – proof that socialism is better. Workers get 2 months of vacation and 4-day work weeks. Any European is smarter than every American. Anything that goes wrong in Europe is a result of American policies or pressures.

EXCEPTIONALISM – American exceptionalism is a myth. Unless you mean America is exceptionally violent, ignorant, racist, and militaristic in comparison to the rest of the world. In which case American exception is an ironclad truth.

FASCISM – use it often; change the definition to fit the target. The real definition is, “whatever it is about my enemies that most reminds me of what little I think I know about fascism.”


GAYS and LESBIANS – always more enlightened, intelligent and sensitive than those who aren’t. Improve property values by their mere presence. Anyone who makes generalized statements about them is a homophobe.

GEORGE W. BUSH – “Where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when we need him?” Responsible for a climate of intolerance and personal violence in America, and even for road rage. “If I had a gun, I’d shoot him” (see GUANTANAMO).


GUANTANAMO – after you say something nasty about GEORGE W. BUSH (q.v.), say, “I better shut up or they’ll send me to Guantanamo.”

HUGO CHAVEZ – a leader of the people and an honest socialist. “At least he was fairly elected, unlike George W. Bush.”

ISLAM – they just want to be left alone. If anyone points out that it involves everything that makes liberal secularists loathe Christianity, and in greater degree, as well as many worse things not found in Christianity, shout “SARAH PALIN.”

JESUS – never existed, and if he were alive today he would be one of “us.” Everything Christians do is contrary to his teaching.

JEWS – always excluded from any demands for more “diversity” or “multi-culturalism.”

JOHN BOEHNER – Orange crybaby. Don’t take seriously.

KARL ROVE – tried to kill Valerie Plame.

KURDS – run them down if someone brings them up; ignore them otherwise.

MICHAEL MOORE – sensitive, independent documentary film-maker, not an grandstanding propaganda hack. Defend everything he says and does, repeat his assertions as fact, claim that everyone who aspires to have an opinion about anything can’t really know anything about it without first viewing Moore’s work. Then deny that he is at all influential or representative of “progressive” opinion.

MILITARY – blacks who enlist are falling for the recruiters’ trap in a desperate bid to escape poverty. Whites who enlist are knuckle-dragging, crypto-fascist gun-nuts.

NON-PARTISAN – always claim to be this. Prove it by saying something balanced and bad about both parties, such as, “Republicans are granny-starving, soul-less, totalitarian hypocrites and the Democrats are too disorganized to beat them.”


PRESIDENTS – if the incumbent is a Republican, all troubles in the world are his fault. If the incumbent is a Democrat, all troubles in the world are the fault of the previous Republican incumbent.

RECYCLING – conservatives and Christians never do it.

REPUBLICANS – always preceded by “evil” or “fat-cat.”

RICH – got that way by cheating the poor or rigging the system with the help of their GOP friends. Unless they are Democrats, in which case they earned it honestly by their talents and prove their entitlement to it by their political philanthropy.

RONALD REAGAN – whenever his name comes up, say, “Ketchup is a vegetable.”

SARAH PALIN – whenever you’re stumped in a debate or cornered in an argument with anyone measurably rightward of you, and you don’t have a response, just shout her name like a magic incantation to banish your opponent to a lower plane of existence, then walk away triumphantly. In general be obsessed with her and never let her name go unuttered for more than half an hour.


SEPTEMBER 11 – a tragedy, but we deserved it for lack of universal health care, not signing Kyoto treaty, etc. Unless we did it to ourselves. We’ll get back to you on the conspiracy theories when we figure out whether they’re right-wing (dismissable) or left-wing (plausible).

SOUTH – “We should have let them secede. I wish they would leave again.”

SPORTS – always hate the Dallas Cowboys (“America’s Team”) and the New York Yankees (“Yankees”). Anything else is up to you. Never like NASCAR.

TAXES – are good, because they take wealth from those who have it and distribute it in ways that are useful to those who do not have it. Deny strenuously that this involves wealth redistribution.

TERRORISM – “Terrorism, schmerrorism; it’s all Bush’s fault.”

TRANSGENDER – should not be treated as anything but what they say they are. To think about the details of this and ask practical question like “ought the plain definition of ‘woman’ include ‘man who wishes he was a woman?'” is to be homophobic.

UNIONS – answer to all this country’s past, current, and future economic troubles.


  1. michael reynolds said,

    Is this is how they talk at Fox News?

    Or the Wall Street Journal?


    The post-Graham Washington Post?

    You did say, “an” American Newsroom, and I’m sure you don’t intend to generalize from one relatively small newsroom at an old-school newspaper.

  2. mockturtle said,

    I love it! :-D

  3. Maxwell James said,

    I’m sorry your coworkers are so boring.

  4. wj said,

    Well, I can sign on to the part about loathing the Dallas Cowboys (if only odds and ends in the rest of it), so I guess I’m qualified to run an American newsroom. ;-)

  5. realpc said,

    That describes all my relatives and most of my co-workers.

  6. Melinda said,

    Okay, so, Miles, in other words, uh, let me see if I’ve got this straight, call me madcap but…are you saying your co-workers are a buncha knee-jerk lefties?

  7. PatHMV said,

    The definition of Art is insufficient. It needs a disclaimer that the need to create new wounds and offend local sensibilities does not apply to Muslims or any other population group which reacts violently towards artistic criticism.

  8. mockturtle said,

    PatHMV–astute and necessary observation. Nothing like acts of terrorism and death fatwas to stifle creativity ;-)

  9. david said,

    So I’m guessing you don’t work for Fox News…

    Oh, wait. Michael already said that.

    In defense of Jews: Oh, never mind…

  10. Alan Gottlieb said,

    I’ve worked in a bunch of newsrooms and even my college newsroom didn’t sound like this. Perhaps a few individuals, yes. But I’ve also worked with gun-toting NRA adherents that would clear the streets of illegal immigrants using lead, etc. Newsrooms are populated by interesting and often extreme characters spanning the ideological spectrum and sharing only one trait: Skepticism bordering on cynicism. And there are exceptions to that rule as well. There are reporters in every newsroom who fawn all over their sources and are all but owned by them. Grossly over-generalized posts like this one do nothing to advance the debate. It’s one long string of tired cliches.

  11. Lynne said,

    Well, I don’t know about grossly overgeneralizing, Amba. I worked at a noted private University for 15 years and any/all of these ideas came out of the mouths of my coworkers daily. (Except for the Sarah Palin stuff; I left before she entered the national debate.)
    A big part of the reason I left was because if most of the staff so much as suspected you adhered to different ideas, the attacks became personal. You could get a facefull of insults just for walking into a room, even if you hadn’t said a word. You were only spared if you were perceived to be “on-side.”
    And that was just the management….:)

  12. amba12 said,

    Wasn’t me who called it gross generalizing. I quite believe it.

  13. Lynne said,

    Whoops, it sure wasn’t! My bad for not properly reading the comment.
    Talk about undermining your own point (now cringing sheepishly).

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: