Monday, May 25, 2009

NY Times Post-Mortem

How much pause do you think the Bernie Madoff scandal gave the production team for the Lower East Side American Girl doll? Because you know the reason we're getting a second Jewish American Girl, rather than a first Muslim American Girl, is the deep pockets of those Jewish American grandmas. (For a romantic feminist, I'm certainly heavy on the materialist analysis these days.)

The "look, we're all nice now" article? The lamest in (non-)trend journalism. Remember how irony was over after 9/11? Uh, not. And, uh, advertising agency folk are not exactly unbiased experts--their job is to create such "trends," no? So don't you think they might have a vested interested in...eh, whatever...

Another "sell-a-relative-up-the-river" Modern Love, and they still make me queasy, even when said relative is heading up the river anyway, of his own volition.

On the other hand, I loved the People covers article, being the hard-core materialist that I seem to be these days. Facts! Stats! Interviews with the people who matter! Show us how base we really are! (Kirstie Alley is fat again?! No!!)

Turning to the Magazine, I have never watched Conan, have no interest in watching Conan, and this article did nothing to stimulate my interest, but man, he sure has a lot of guitars.

Going by the pictures, I think I'd rather go to the black prom than the white prom (snark aside, I thought this was a complicated, interesting, and sad piece).

Re: The Romanticization of Manual Labor, otherwise known as "The Case for Working With Your Hands": Yes, school is unnatural and does not serve many of our students, especially our boys. Yes, the "everyone needs to go to college" movement is fundamentally wrongheaded. Yes, there is an incredible satisfaction inherent in working with your hands. And yet...the idea that manual labor is fundamentally ethical is belied by the incredible amount of crap manual labor that is perpetrated everywhere all the time (I'm thinking Big Dig, for those of you who know what I'm talking about). And if manual labor is all that, why aren't you satisfied with it? Why the need to write A BOOK about it? Started out nodding my head on this one, and ended up pissed off, as usual.

Hmm, when I started thinking about this post, I thought I was reserving my main vitriol for the Book Review, only now I am out of steam. So I will simply say that I do not know why the NY Times Book Review garners such esteem, in certain circles, because their modus reviewandi is simply dumb. This book sounds like it could totally be my kind of book, except that I have no idea if it is any good, because the review is simply background and plot summary. Which is ridiculous and the reason I rarely actually read the Book Review.

Edited to add: I take it back: this is an exemplary review. Then again, this is quintessential Brooksian blowhardiness, though it does have an opinion. Maybe the issue is that the Book Review is stylistically incoherent (which could be a virtue), but tends toward plot summary (which is not).

1 comment:

Jackie said...

I thought the quote from the People guy about Farrah Fawcett was especially shameless!