As far as I can tell — and I'm guessing because I don't see the value of looking too long into chaos — the younger generation just doesn't read the word "conventional" the same way we oldies do. (I'm 62, and Cohen is 72.) The sentence that got him in trouble with the sensitive youths of America was:
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.I suspect that Cohen thought he'd found a cute and clever way to kick conservatives and had zero reason to think that his readers would do anything other than assume that he was kicking conservatives, since that's what liberals always do. I have a hard time understanding why anyone would think that old Cohen would do anything other than state a... conventional view.
Okay. See what I did? I used "conventional" in the pejorative way that oldies do. I happen to like to kick liberals, mostly because they think so damned well of themselves and I find that tedious and cloying.
Richard Cohen — the one we're talking about here (i.e., not my ex-husband) — is the sort of liberal who says the usual things that liberals say. It's quite dull. Why would he suddenly be anything else? To me, he is conventional, a conventional liberal, and older folks think we're sticking in the dagger when we call people "conventional."
But when Cohen (complacently, predictably liberal) said "conventional views," he didn't mean liberals, even though liberals (including, notably, him) are quite conventional. He meant those other guys — the bad guys — and he had no idea that anyone could think of him as anything other than one of the good guys — the liberals — because that's how conventional he was!
Now, I will close the door on these boring people and let them fight amongst themselves. I hope they benefit from the exercise and emerge from it with more vigor and discernment.