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  • RSS Taking Offense

    • Taking a Knee
      If you’ve been hoping I could make sense of the passing scene, lo these many weeks, your long wait is over. At last, events have crystallized and I can now take on the most important issue confronting the nation (as President Nixon, Watergate raging, famously said to his Cabinet about inflation three days before he […]
    • My Slant on Matal v. Tam: Welcome to My T-Word X-Word G-Word O-Word Z-Word Co., Inc., or Death to the Happy-Talk Clause
      It’s old news now, having happened about 30 hours ago as I write, but my long absence from the blog this spring shows that this first day of summer I’m moving at superluminal speed. I do so to bring you important news about the legal status of raw offensiveness: The Supreme Court, presumably once and […]
    • The Winter of Our Disconnect
      My Trump Timeout has timed out. It’s high time to get on with things. A few of my more daring friends are way ahead of me, and one or two never tuned out. They’ve actually been reading the papers every day. The president, they tell me, has reassured us all: things couldn’t be better. (The […]
    • The year of living offensively
      Offensiveness won. Or lost. It’s really the same thing: it just depends on how you come at it. For more than a year, the press has treated Americans to a tsunami of stories about offensiveness. Though many of the stories were one-offs, they centered around two motifs: the hothouse atmosphere on college campuses, and the […]
    • Gingrich Gets Giddy
      Offense of the Month: July 2016 I never supposed a top Republican could outdo Candidate-Presumptive Donald Trump in offending American citizens with political rhetoric, but I’m willing to name Newt Gingrich as just that man, and declare him to have delivered the Offense of the Month in calling for a national test of “every person” […]
    • An Inoffensive Road Trip
      Just returned from a 4,000-mile round trip to the Rockies. It took us by car from the east coast to Cleveland, Ann Arbor, Chicago, Omaha, Lincoln, Cheyenne, Boulder, Denver, and back via Colby (KS), Kansas City, St. Louis, Springfield (IL), Champaign, Louisville, and home (via Charleston and western Maryland) — 14 states in all and […]
    • Donald Trump, Olympian Offender
      Offense of the Month: June 2016 He’s back — well, at least in my columns. He’s been daily on your other screens, I know, though we can pray that two or three years from now today’s junior high school students will wonder who he was. But at least for this month he’s back, having taken […]
    • Scrub ’em clean
      I’ve been away from the blog for a couple of weeks, writing the first draft of the proposal for the book Taking Offense. During that time, I’ve been musing about a problem that has loomed large in the news this spring, the problem of when to scrub away the names or symbols of honorees whom […]
    • Less Majesty, More Speech in Germany
      Offense of the Month: May 2016 Have you heard the one about the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan? No, that’s not an insult; that’s his name. But just about anything else said of him can land you in hot water in Turkey, where it’s a crime to insult the Turkish nation or government institutions. […]
    • AO in One Easy Lesson
      I missed it at the time, so this is a retrospective reflection on a curious blunder last March, when Microsoft unleashed an AI bot to talk to millennials on the Web. (Now there’s a nine-word phrase my parents would never have understood: for you elders, an Internet bot [short for robot], is an automated software […]