Know the Signs

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As many of you in the psychiatric-therapeutic and stand up comedy professions know, there was an extremely lengthy process preceding the publication of DSM-V last May, the authoritative guide to diagnoses in the mental health world. And as everyone is coming together today to critique and make fun of Richard Cohen’s race column, I wanted to mention a new designation that was not included but almost certainly should have been: Progressive Senescent Columnist Fogeyism (PSCF), an increasingly common ailment in an aging America. (Sometimes Columnist is incorrectly referred to as ‘columnar’.)

The classic presentation is a pervasive ‘get off my lawnism’, columns beginning, ‘I ain’t racist, but …’ and frequent pining for the days when the ladies weren’t so uptight about a little pat on the behind.

The syndrome primarily affects white men at major regional and national newspapers. And though the severity is no greater, there is some evidence that the rapidity of onset can be greater among Ashkenazic Jewish men.

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