The Corner

PC Culture

Gene Weingarten Deserves Our Pity, Not Our Scorn

The Washington Post Company headquarters in Washington, March 30, 2012 (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

David’s piece on the home page rightly points out that the backlash against humor columnist Gene Weingarten — for dissing all Indian food in a sweeping, misinformed, and rather silly statement — was more than a little overheated.

The dust-up followed a familiar sequence. Weingarten wrote something insensitive. He was called a racist. He held his ground. Then he didn’t. He apologized.

Read David’s piece for the details. But even though Padma Lakshmi likened the writer to a “colonizer,” it’s safe to assume that a guy who praised India’s vast contributions to civilized society in the same breath as he knocked its cuisine probably isn’t a raging racist.

What’s more demonstrable is that Mr. Weingarten simply has terrible taste — for which there’s no accounting, I realize, except here. I feel bad for the man. His buds are burnt, his palate’s parched, his life must have fewer dimensions than an A-ha video. He’s gone tongue-blind if he can’t find something to appreciate from India’s rich culinary canon.

His pre-apology follow-up tweet, later deleted, confirms it:

Took a lot of blowback for my dislike of Indian food in today’s column so tonight I went to Rasika, DC’s best Indian restaurant. Food was beautifully prepared yet still swimming with the herbs & spices I most despise. I take nothing back.

That’s one of the best restaurants anywhere. Not opinion. Fact. (The owner is staging an intervention, as it happens). You give this guy Shakespeare, and he calls it Goodnight Moon.

Not always one for subtlety, Preet Bharara handled this best:

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