Photo illustration by Slate

Bad Column Bingo

Play along at home with America’s most respected opinion pages.

Bret Stephens has a new column out on Mona Charen at CPAC and illberalism. I can’t recommend you read it, since you assuredly already have, in some other form before. “Social justice warriors,” “the Enlightenment,” “free speech,” “William F. Buckley”—these are stock nouns in the as-yet-nameless genre of commentary that dominates America’s most respected opinion pages. Drearily familiar too are the concerns they’re deployed to elucidate. America, we are told, is being riven apart by political tribalism—as opposed to the deep cohesion and social harmony of, say, the 1960s and ’70s—and a left-wing identity politics that is increasingly driving extreme and terrifying behaviors: heckling, for instance. Or criticizing people online.

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This is the foggy lens through which our most sententious pundits are—week after week—doggedly committed to viewing the state of American society. Serious as they may be, it’s fully possible to have a bit of fun with this stuff. You could, for instance, play bingo. The words and phrases on the following cards are drawn largely, but not exclusively, from pieces by Bret Stephens, David Brooks, Bari Weiss, Jonathan Chait, and Andrew Sullivan.

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