Wednesday's opinion section of The Washington Post carries a piece by Post columnist Eugene Robinson, a former Post reporter and editor of the Style section. Like clockwork, like reporter Paul Farhi yesterday, Robinson merges Michael "Kramer" Richards screaming the N-word at a black heckler with defeated Sen. George Allen's "Macaca" reference, alongside Mel Gibson's drunken anti-Semitic rant:
Look at the two celebrity blow-ups together, and maybe throw in Sen. George Allen's "macaca" moment, too. One thing they teach us is that there are no unguarded moments anymore. Richards's outburst was filmed by someone with a tiny digital camera, Allen's by a young man with a video camera. Footage of their indiscretions and facsimiles of Gibson's drunken-driving police report were disseminated to the world within hours via the Internet. You can't even run anymore, much less hide.
The other lesson is that in each case, something ugly erupted from somewhere so deep inside that I'm not sure Richards, Gibson or Allen even knew the ugliness was there.
...[Richards] didn't see the heckler as a man, he saw him as a black man -- one who needed to be reminded that once upon a time he might have been lynched for his impertinence, and who needed to be put in his place with the most explosive word in the language.
Gibson's rant about Jews was a similar thing. Allen's fumble was less unforgivable, but then again he's a United States senator, not an actor or a comedian.
Out of nowhere, for no apparent reason, come explosions of vitriol, suspicion and disdain, all aimed at minorities. Don't tell me that racism is dead. It just shuns the light of day.
It doesn't matter how many black friends George Allen has, how many black people endorsed him for re-election, how many blacks have denied they ever saw a racist bone in George Allen's body. There is, in the minds of The Washington Post crowd, a seething "Segregation Forever" George Wallace in there inside his head, and it doesn't matter if there's evidence to the contrary. They're going to just keep fiendishly pushing the "Macaca" button as if it proves Allen is forever tainted with a scarlet "R" for racist.
But the most ridiculous liberal Post columnist today is actually Ruth Marcus -- another former Post reporter -- who composed an entire hypersensitive column excoriating President Bush for removing the "-ic" from "Democratic" Party on the campaign trail. I'm not kidding.