January 11, 2006

The Souless Susurration of the Times' Editorials

AFTER MANY YEARS of reading the editorials of the New York Times with interest and attention, both my interest and attention began to drop below absolute zero after several months of sour grapes following the 2000 elections. Soon after that my interest and attention in the paper itself went even lower until, after nearly three decades as a daily reader of the Times, I decided that the money spent on the paper could be put to better use buying lap dances for indigent friends. At least they'd get a little pleasure from the money.

Since early in 2002 I've not spent a penny on the paper, but I do read it online from time to time just to assure myself that its death spiral continues unabated. Lately, since Publisher Pinch (Super-Genius!) has decided to let the once marginally successful online Times joint the death march of the print edition by walling up the columnists behind a "pay" wall, I've taken to imbibing the Times in the least lethal dosage available; RSS Feeds.

RSS readers, for those who don't use them, bring in the main headlines of a site with a brief bit of copy attached. This enables one to scan through news items quickly and choose those which may be of interest. This format, however, is its own unintended literary form with, in the case of the Times, a scintillating and brief synopsis standing for the whole. Since my particular RSS reader (NetNewsWire) stores items for a set number of days, I can catch up on a week's work by the Times in a very few minutes. It also means I don't have to check in on the paper every day, an added plus.

On the negative, very negative side, is the fact that when I do check in I get an especially heavy dose of the rankled and rotten ideological pestilence that has evidently poisoned the mind of the Times right down to the medulla oblongata.

I once thought that the worst job you could have at the Times would be that of the personal shopper for Publisher Pinch (Super Genius.) Alas, this morning's RSS scan of the last four days of editorials that have come spurting out of the Times shows me that the worst job has to be writing them. It is, I know, an editorial "board" that supposedly creates these droppings, but be it one man or a legion of persons, it still has to be a job in which those who perform it must wade in bile so deep that a snorkel has long since been given over for a wet suit and SCUBA equipment. Here's the full and mercifully brief RSS feed from The New York Times editorials for the last four days:

Editorial: Fairness in the Alito Hearings : "The biggest concern in Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation proceedings is not whether they will be fair to him, but whether they will be fair to the American people."

Editorial: Lost Time, Lost Lives in the Mine : "The pro-company bias of the Bush administration is itself a factor in the deadly mine disaster in Sago, W.Va., deserving full investigation."

Editorial: A New Friend With Good Advice : "If German Chancellor Angela Merkel feels strongly about the disgrace of Guantánamo, she also feels strongly about the importance of trans-Atlantic relations."

Editorial: President Bush at Recess : "President Bush has used the recess appointment power to rescue egregiously bad selections that would never pass muster on grounds of experience and competence."

Editorial: Recklessness in Indonesia : "The environmental damage caused by Freeport-McMoRan, an American company that operates a giant open-pit copper and gold mine in Papua, has been breathtaking."

Editorial: Honing the Proper Punishment : "The Securities and Exchange Commission took an important step in the fight against corporate malfeasance by issuing guidelines on when and why it would impose fines."

Editorial: Judging Samuel Alito : "The Senate has a duty to delve into the many areas in which Judge Samuel Alito Jr.'s record suggests he is an extremist."

Editorial: Marines Without Armor : "American marines have every right to expect the Pentagon to provide them with the most effective armor available to maximize their chances of staying alive and in one piece."

Editorial: Newt as Diogenes in a Dark Capitol : "It was a measure of the failure of Congressional leadership on both sides of the aisle that Newt Gingrich, the disgraced former speaker, lectured House Republicans on the siren lure of lobbyists."

Editorial: An Anemic Jobs Recovery : "The bigger picture on job creation is not so pretty."

Editorial: New Jersey's Medical School Mess : "The scope of the wrongdoing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey is staggering."

Editorial: Working Together for the Average Joe : "The gadget contest doesn't have to be a zero-sum game. The sooner the geeks figure that out, the better off we'll all be."

It's hard to imagine a bleaker and more embittered world view. There's no good in it. Nothing is ever right to it. Nobody ever acts from the more noble emotions. Anything human is always seen from the underside.

All endeavor is futile. If we have more jobs, we don't have enough. The "geeks" need to "figure it out" to make the us all better. The capitol of the United States wanders in a darkness so deep Newt is the new Diogenes. By the way, watch out for doctors and dentists from Jersey. Alito's an extremist with a rusted coat hanger up the sleeves of his robe. The Pentagon is saving nickels on armor in order to endanger soldiers that it spends hundreds of thousands to train. Corporations... well, bad, except for ours. Especially those mining corporations. And then there's George Bush who was busy last week doing what he was elected to do and pumping CO2 into American mine shafts in his spare time.

Oh, dark, dark, dark,
They all go into the dark....

You know, if you read just a little bit of this unrelenting tripe with it's side of fuming bitter gall on the rocks and off its rocker, you can feel yourself sinking ever lower into the slough of despond. Even the most liberal supporters of the Pinch Brigade at the Times probably have to fortify themselves with three Quaaludes and a a cup of ether after a full morning's portion of this Bitches Brew.

God. if God could get in the door at the Times, knows how these paniced paens are actually written day after day, week after week, and on and on until the last ding-dong of Bushian Doom. I can't imagine a more soulless task. Nor can I imagine that those who perform it have any souls left. Then again, since I am sure that the policy of the New York Times on that question is that there is no such thing as the soul, it may well be the only job the writers of these messages are suited to do. Indeed, the absence of a soul is probably one of the things carefully vetted for before they let you sit at their table. It would be most unfortunate should a speck of a soul show up at those meetings. Nobody likes Marley's ghost at the Spanish Inquisition.

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Posted by Vanderleun at January 11, 2006 5:13 AM | TrackBack
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

I find nearly the same sunny, optimistic attitude on NPR.

"Numerous vibrant cultures in Africa are being decimated by vulgar American culture."

"Numerous exotic species of wildlife are going extinct due to American expansion into the rainforest."

"Numerous orphans are being exploited by American corporations."

Numerous Americans are tuning out in droves. You can keep your damn tote bag.

Posted by: Mumblix Grumph at January 11, 2006 5:28 AM

Amen! truth, is it possible.

Posted by: jeffersonranch at January 11, 2006 6:00 AM

I'd like to mention that I'm indigent.

Posted by: Eric Blair at January 11, 2006 8:06 AM

Check out the NYT headline generator at peoplescube. LOL

Posted by: Duhgee at January 11, 2006 8:51 AM

Carbon Monoxide = C01, not C02.
Otherwise you are right on. Pessimism sells. Flinging wild ideas against the wall accomplishes purpose.
"In Washington, you are presumed innocent until you are investigated" [or accused by the NYTs?] -- From the hollywood move-on-type propoganda machine via Syriana movie based -- but not based -- on See No Evil. Not to mention its ironic speech on the value of corruption.

Posted by: Robert at January 12, 2006 5:22 AM

To be fair, the corruption at UMDNJ is tremendous and may cause the closing of at least one hospital in Northern NJ.

So, they got one right. But I think 1-12 is a bit below the Mendoza line.

Posted by: Paul at January 12, 2006 8:51 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated to combat spam and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

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