Dear Dr. Politics: The column you wrote about Mitt Romney was vile and disgusting. Aren't you afraid that the next time you see him, he will slap you silly? I hope he does.
Reply: Writing mean things about a person while knowing you will have to see him in the future can be difficult.
But Dr. Politics sees journalism not as a profession or a craft but as a mission. And journalists must be true to that mission if we want to continue to be vile and disgusting.
Where do we learn how to be vile and disgusting? We read the comments that come after the stories on the Internet.
Our mission requires courage. Years ago, back in the era of newspapers, I once wrote: "What were the three most difficult years in Dan Quayle's life? Answer: The fourth grade."
Was I afraid when I next saw Quayle? No, I was not. Because I knew he did not read newspapers.
We realize politics is not easy. Decisions must be made. David Letterman says Jeb Bush is already asking himself, "How do I find a vice president as likable as Dick Cheney?"
But Mitt Romney is so confident about 2016 that he is already strapping his dog to the roof of his car.
Am I afraid that the next time I see him, Mitt Romney will slap me silly? No, I am not. He is too well-bred; he is too much of a gentleman.
I am afraid he will hire somebody to slap me silly.
Dear Dr. Politics: Don't you think it was sickening that Sony Pictures withdrew its movie about the assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un? Even President Barack Obama said Sony was wrong for caving in to North Korea's threats.
Reply: Yeah, but I didn't see President Obama offering to show the picture in the White House screening room.
Instead, Obama said: "We cannot have a society in which some dictator someplace can start imposing censorship here in the United States."
But I wonder what that reaction would have been if the North Koreans had made a movie about the assassination of Barack Obama and Sony had agreed to distribute it to U.S. theaters.
Would we have hailed Sony for its courage? Or would we have gone bonkers and yelled and screamed about how irresponsible that was and picketed any movie theater that dared show it?
Kim Jong Un is a whack job, but that does not necessarily mean we should hail movies about his getting whacked.
American critics have seen the movie, which is titled "The Interview."
USA Today said: "Far more lame and boring than incendiary, 'The Interview' is not very clever, funny or well-made."
The Wall Street Journal called it "remarkably dismal" and said watching it "is torture from almost start to finish."
The reviewer then asked the essential question: "So how did such a turkey ever escape the studio lot? A significant part of the answer lies in the dumbing-down of the audience that began decades ago, when studios discovered that kids would turn out to see almost any piece of junk on any weekend provided the marketing departments did their jobs."
Yes, it is disturbing that Sony pulled the movie. More disturbing is that Sony ever produced this dreck in the first place.
But my favorite reaction came from one human rights group that claims it intends to airdrop DVDs of "The Interview" into North Korea by hydrogen balloon so that the Korean masses can see the movie.
But the group had better also airdrop DVD players. And electricity.