Illustration for article titled Please Join Me in Roasting Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Executive Editor Keith Burris, the Pigeon Shit Shoulder Boy
Screenshot: Fox News

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette executive editor Keith Burris, if you might recall, is America’s worst newspaper person, and the one responsible for the shit show at that paper this summer. On May 31, Alexis Johnson, a reporter who happens to be Black, tweeted an image of the Pittsburgh-infamous aftermath of the annual Kenny Chesney concert at Heinz Field—a cheeky reminder that one form of looting is definitely given much different media coverage than another. I live a half-mile from this stadium, and these pictures actually understate the mess they cause there every year.

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Johnson was punished for this, as she was taken completely off the coverage of the protests. Colleagues who defended her were reprimanded too, including Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Michael Santiago, who was also taken off the protest coverage (and also happens to be Black). As the story became a national one (a “National Embarrassment” according to Newspaper Guild of Pittsburgh president Michael Fuoco), all Johnson and Santiago wanted the Post-Gazette to do was apologize for their treatment. Burris refused, Santiago eventually quit, and Johnson is suing the paper she still works for.

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During this time, Burris has gone on a one-man grievance tour, appearing on Fox News to defend his whiteness, and occasionally writing op-eds so terrible, so clueless, so funny, that you could step back and appreciate them for the performance art it is. I’d be fascinated with how his brain works if I wasn’t already convinced it was just an arbitrarily racist hedgehog with a pinball machine.

Burris’s latest piece begins how most Serious Newspaper Thoughts by Serious White Men With Dire Concerns About the Death of Editorial Objectivity and Totally No Concerns Whatsoever About Their Pathological Inability to Do Their Fucking Jobs do, and that’s with some flaccid, self-congratulatory pablum about Dr. King and dreams and shit.

A friend called me the other day ex­cited about new sup­port for the Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment. He said he has not felt so hope­ful since the 1960s.

Former Pres­i­dent Barack Obama says he, too, is buoyed, es­pe­cially by a new gen­er­a­tion of young civil rights lead­ers.

There is great hope in this mo­ment. It is a move­ment and mo­ment that could change Amer­ica.

But there is also a cur­rent of ex­clu­sion and in­tol­er­ance afoot in Amer­ica to­day, and it is deeply trou­bling.

Mar­tin Luther King Jr., and many oth­ers — An­drew Young, Ba­yard Rustin, Rosa Parks, to name a few — built a move­ment of broth­er­hood and mercy.

The ques­tion is: Will the im­pulse to build carry the day, or will the im­pulse to con­demn and de­stroy prove dom­i­nant and ir­re­sist­ible?

This, so far, is standard privileged white male editorializing. Nothing you haven’t read a thousand times before. Bret Stephens burps this in his sleep. But then, a few paragraphs in, it changes form and becomes...something else. Something greater. The world’s whitest butterfly, emerging from a friendless racist caterpillar.

Fas­cism can come from the far right or the far left: Au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism from the right, and purges of thought, peo­ple and speech from the left. Through most of my life in news­pa­per­ing, most of the bul­lies came from the far right. To­day, in Amer­ica, they come from the far left, though the fas­cist im­pulse is still from the far right in most of the world. But here, to­day, it is the “woke” who speak openly of si­lenc­ing po­ten­tial apos­tates.

Let me tell you about a few of the tac­tics of the cur­rent woke mob: They bomb your e-mail with what can only be called hate speech. They twist your words and ac­tions. They make up things that you al­leg­edly said and did that you never said or did. They tar­get you and your fam­ily on so­cial me­dia. They bully those in their num­ber who seem not an­gry or de­struc­tive enough into sub­mis­sion. They leave anon­y­mous phone mes­sages dur­ing hours when they imag­ine you are not in (they hang up when you an­swer), and they say things like this: “I am so happy you are suf­fer­ing. No one de­serves it more than you. I want you to suf­fer more. I know that you will be fired soon and that your name will be be­smirched for­ever. This makes me very happy. I hope all this makes you sick and you die.”

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Let’s forget, for a moment, that the greatest bully in America today, with the largest platform and the most power, ain’t the “woke mob” but the actual, literal president of the United States. Instead, please join me in marveling at the fact that the millionaire head of a major newspaper—one whose incompetence and ego might very well end the paper—wrote a whole-ass paragraph in a whole-ass op-ed about his feelings getting hurt by meanies with memes.

I can almost imagine young Keith talking to his mom about neighborhood bullies:

Keith: Mommy!

Mom: Yes, son.

Keith: The kids, they’re teasing me again.

Mom: How old are they?

Keith: 11 and 12.

Mom: How old are you, again?

Keith: 26.

Mom: Just making sure. (Sips whiskey.) What did they say this time?

Keith: That I’m racist. And dumb!

Mom: Well...

Bullying is bad! It really is! Seriously! There are anti-bullying commercials and everything. But I’m going to make an emergency ruling here, and declare that the bullying of Keith Burris is not bad, but actually good. And not only just actually good, but necessary. Please, I demand you, tease and roast this motherfucker into the cosmos. Shame his shoes. Tell him he smells like rice. Find some pigeons, learn how to speak pigeon, train them, and urge them to shit on his shoulders. And then, from that moment forward, we’ll call him Pigeon Shit Shoulder Boy.

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In fact, let’s not even wait for the pigeons. I’ve never trained one, but I assume it can be time-consuming. From this moment forward, Keith Burris shall be named Pigeon Shit Shoulder Boy.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for GQ.com, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

LOL

Yes, because we must have free speech at any cost. If that means white people regularly using ‘nigger’ like they use mayo on their unseasoned chicken, then damn the racism, full speed ahead.

Keith, my man, I can only guess how you got to where you are, because you clearly don’t have enough brain cells to walk and breathe at the same time. You should be more worried that pandering to the ‘free speech always’ crowd will not save you when it comes time for them to pitch your ass under the bus.

And this ‘we must always show respect to both sides’ sort of pity party shit when one of the sides is a inbred group of snowflakes who can’t even read those bibles they love to thump, much less follow what it says is stupid. Hands down stupid, almost as stupid as engaging and trying to reason with G/O’s Media’s ever growing roster of trolls.

Obama’s greatest mistake was not giving the GOP the finger and going balls out, because regardless of their hang wringing, that’s been the GOP’s mission statement for the last 60 years. Your mistake is thinking you are a victim when in realty, you are not.