The tragedy of mindlessness, Act II

Nick Coleman’s self-parodic column on homelessness — discussed here in “The tragedy of mindlessness” — prompted critical responses from many Star Tribune readers. Coleman takes on his readers in today’s column: “The gospel truth about some readers.”
In yesterday’s Best of the Web Today, James Taranto included the headline for Coleman’s Wednesday column as an entry in the “Homelessness rediscovery watch” series that he’s been running since the election of President Bush in 2000. Here’s Coleman’s description:

[I]t’s only because the Democrats have been laid low by Republicans that we are hearing anything about homeless scum now. That’s what one Christian columnizer wrote on the Wall Street Journal online opinion site Thursday, citing my homeless column in little old Minneapolis as proof of a four-year-old prediction that the Democrats would crank up homeless stories if George W. Bush were elected.
I guess inoculating yourself against stories about a problem is easier than doing something about a problem.

Coleman’s description of Taranto’s treatment in yesterday’s BOTWT column doesn’t give me much faith in Coleman’s fairness summarizing the gist of his readers’ criticisms of his column. But it does raise the question: What precisely has Nick Coleman done for the homeless other than using them as a horn with which to trumpet his moral superiority to the great unwashed inhabiting the market dominated by the Star Tribune?
Coleman concludes his column today with a striking gibe at his readers:

I guess the point these compassionate Christians are trying to make is that Jesus wouldn’t give the homeless a second glance if he came back. And you know what? They might be right. Jesus might walk right past the homeless, the poor and the sick, and march straight into our churches.
Because he’d have a lot of tables to overturn.

Coleman’s judgment on his readers is that they are Pharisees (as the gospels portray the Pharisees). Coleman clearly places himself on a somewhat higher plane. Those of us who are in need of healing may touch the hem of his garment at 425 Portland Avenue.


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