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Bronze-level articleRoss Douthat

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One of the


Icon pundit.svg
And a dirty dozen more

Ross "Chunky Reese Witherspoon" Douthat is a conservative columnist for The New York Times, a position he earned by being safer than William Kristol.


[edit] Background

[edit] Harvard

Douthat attended Harvard from '98-'02, graduating with a concentration in history and literature. Douthat has written extensively about his time at Harvard; however, since using those sources entails reading Douthat's work,[1] his background remains a mystery to most.[2]

Douthat was a dedicated conservative even in college, a position that may have harmed his social life. Of course, his rampant self-absorption and apparent obsession with the film Gladiator probably didn't help.[3] Nor did his opinion pieces for The Harvard Crimson, which were an odd mix of articles on how awful Harvard and his peers were[4] and the occasional column arguing that everyone who didn't go to Harvard was a waste of skin.[5]

When the time came to write his first book - Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class - he chose to focus on the latter. However, that's a subject for another subheading.

[edit] The Atlantic

Douthat worked at The Atlantic from 2002 to 2009, rising to the position of editor. He was also a blogger on the Atlantic website, wowing the world with his observations on the dishonesty of a black woman[6] and the unfair lack of Muslim villains in films.[7]

[edit] The New York Times

Douthat moved to the Op-Ed page of the Times in April 2009. His first column was entitled "Cheney For President." Make of that what you will.[8]

On the other hand, his op-ed in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris is exactly spot-on.[9]

[edit] What does Reese Witherspoon have to do with anything?

Sometimes, a writer will pen something that will haunt him forever. Economist Brad DeLong managed to find such a passage deep in Privilege:

One successful foray ended on the guest bed of a high school friend's parents, with a girl who resembled a chunkier Reese Witherspoon drunkenly masticating my neck and cheeks. It had taken some time to reach this point -- "Do most Harvard guys take so long to get what they want?" she had asked, pushing her tongue into my mouth. I wasn't sure what to say, but then I wasn't sure this was what I wanted. My throat was dry from too much vodka, and her breasts, spilling out of pink pajamas, threatened my ability to. I was supposed to be excited, but I was bored and somewhat disgusted with myself, with her, with the whole business... and then whatever residual enthusiasm I felt for the venture dissipated, with shocking speed, as she nibbled at my ear and whispered -- "You know, I'm on the pill..."[10]

That passage went viral in the blogosphere. Today, anyone who pokes fun at Douthat is obligated to make a joke about it.[11]

[edit] Criminalizing homosexuality?

Ross Douthat is an outspoken opponent of same sex marriage[12] and gay rights more generally[13], and frequently writes about gay rights issues in his New York Times column (usually under the guise of "religious liberty"). On October 16, 2014, Ross Douthat, spoke at a fundraiser for the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund), a right wing legal funding group that supports the criminalization of homosexuality[14], among other far-right causes.

Douthat later apologized, stating that he was not aware the event was a fundraiser and would not have participated if he had known it was.[15]. However, Douthat has yet to repudiate his stance on homosexuality or state that he would not have spoken at a non-fundraiser event for the ADF.

[edit] See also

[edit] Footnotes

  1. A task on par with cleaning the Augean Stables in a single day.
  2. Including Wikipedia[wp]!
  3. [Gawker.com: archive.is, web.archive.org When Ross Douthat Was 'That Guy' at Harvard], Gawker
  4. Like this column, and this column, and this column, and this column.
  5. "The Harvard Syndrome", The Harvard Crimson, November 5, 2001. Don't read this if you have a low tolerance for insufferable smugness. In fact, don't read it even if you have a high tolerance. (Hint: the column can be summarised as "they're just jealous." It also uses the words "understandable arrogance" without apparent irony.)
  6. "The 'Myth' of Welfare Queens"
  7. "The Return of the Paranoid Style"
  8. Cheney For President! - In all fairness, it's not quite as bad as it sounds. Douthat thought that running Cheney for president and losing would have rejuvenated the moderate wing of the GOP.
  9. The Blasphemy We Need
  10. Fear of Reese Witherspoon Look-Alikes on the Pill
  11. The Internet will never let him live this one down. And Jim Toth is a very happy man.
  12. Ross Douthat's Fantasy World
  13. Ross Douthat’s Canny (and Utterly Dishonest) Defense of Homophobia
  14. A New York Times Columnist Spoke At A Fundraiser For A Group Working To Criminalize Gay Sex
  15. Columnist Ross Douthat Apologizes For Attending Fundraiser For Anti-Gay Legal Group
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