Is it possible for Gail Collins, New York Times op-ed columnist, to write an article about Mitt Romney without making a joke about him, as she describes it, “strapping his dog to the roof of his car”?
Collins says the detail is a telling one and that it brings levity to her columns, part of her effort to write about politics in a way that doesn’t cause people “to want to throw themselves out the nearest window.”
But repeating the same joke every time you write about a person—that won’t make people want to jump out a window? Her increasingly heavy-handed efforts to repeat this joke fail both as humor and political commentary, coming off as an awkward obsession and distracting readers from any serious points Collins hopes to make.
Dude, I totally get that serious points can be made—heck, should be made—with a touch of humor once in a while. But by the fiftieth dog reference, I’m afraid the humor is long gone.
Collins is unabashed about her repetitiveness, considering it a challenge to find a way to squeeze a dog reference into each column. From what I’ve read, she’s not up to the challenge. Her dog references typically look like they were inserted by a computer program written by a fourteen-year-old, that inserts the awkward joke into random portions of any sentence within twenty characters of the word “Romney.”
I have been fortunate to have one essay accepted in the New York Times op-ed page, a few hundred words that were scrutinized line by line by a very attentive editor. Do the regular New York Times columnists not get similar treatment?