I recently received a flattering note from a discerning Manchester reader, explaining that "you are one of the few reasons we keep buying the Commie Courant."
By "Commie Courant," I'm sure he didn't really mean that The Courant was part of the vast international communist conspiracy to unionize every public school teacher, but only that Cohen was a refreshingly conservative voice in an opining machine that tends to support bond issues for opulent senior centers and referendum questions asking for $37 trillion to "save" land for squirrel preserves.
"Who's in charge of your bio?" the discerning reader asked. "Why does it still list you as having been an aide to John Rowland?"
Comments to me from readers about that reference to John Rowland are almost as common as comments suggesting that I'm even better-looking in person than in the column photo, which was probably selected by some communist editor.
The suggestions to drop the Rowland reference come from critics, who suggest that I am even a bigger moron than they suspected, because I cling to my identity as a Rowland flunky; as well as friends and admirers, who suggest that I will never win my well-deserved Pulitzer Prize as long as I have that Rowland albatross to deal with.
The origin of all this discomfort, of course, is the resignation and eventual imprisonment of Rowland for felonious smoking of contractor cigars and other such stuff. The resumption of The Courant column when I resigned from my stint as a very, very special gubernatorial assistant, prompted a new little biographical squib that noted the government service.
And the bio remains the same. Except for the transport of several bags of gold to a secret Rowland bank account in the Cayman Islands, I did nothing that seemed out of order. I enjoyed my stay, along with the Swedish health insurance provided to all state employees. The people of Connecticut are better off for Cohen's stint at the Capitol (as they are for my stint at The Courant) and, more specifically, I believe that Rowland was a remarkable governor, except for the stupid stuff.
But nostalgia and revisionist history and other such diversions are irrelevant to the matters at hand: marketing, image, credibility. Should Cohen and/or the communist editors continue to identify him as a Rowland aide?
I don't have strong feelings about it. My primary concern is that the communist editors would simply drop the Rowland reference and leave me, naked and alone, to be a public policy consultant, which sounds like hard work that I would just as soon avoid.
I've spent most of my career as a professional writer who dabbled over the years in public policy and politics and journalism and public relations and college teaching. I even worked at The Courant back before my membership in the Communist Party expired.
Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose. I'm still the same ol' Cohen, including that part about Rowland. What parts of me belong in that little dribble of biographical description under my column?
I'm too self-absorbed and clueless to decide. And it's too important a decision to leave to the communists. The readers should decide.
Mull it over. In the same envelope in which you send your usual columnist gratuity, include your suggestions on how best to describe the man who brought the Golden Age of Opinion Journalism to The Courant. And send a copy to the editors. They're in charge. It's a totalitarian regime. You know . . . Commies.