Apr 30, 2020
Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special All Olympics All The Time Edition
Maybe you missed that there’s a sporting competition/clash of nations going on, so the NYT will make sure you have one million Olympics words to read. You think you don’t need to read those words because you already saw everything on TV, but you misunderestimate the NYT for their ability to run quirky pieces that get little details no one else does. Take, for instance, their piece on yesterday’s women’s mogul race. Did you watch moguls yesterday? Moguls are ridic, what with the skiing over horrifying enormous bumps and then also too needing to do flippy shit off of ramps mid-run. There was an American favorite in the race, Hannah Kearney, that you could not escape hearing about because American. The NYT covers a bit of that, but then goes on to tell you things like what music they played at the event.
Music played for the audience throughout the night — the competition started at 10 p.m. local time — and most of it was club beats layered on top of well-known pop and rock songs. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was turned into the sort of number one would hear at a rave.
God bless you, NYT. We would probably buy that soundtrack, and we’d definitely attend the late-night mogul rave party.
The Times also covers the apparently abundant (but unknown to us) rumors that the USA and Russia are in some sort of Olympics detente and are colluding to fix the figure skating results. Seems probable, if only for the reason that we can envision Putin threatening the lives of everyone involved until a Russian medal in the sport was ensured. Oh figure skating, you hotbed of intrigue!
Also on tap today, we learn that the nutritionist for the US Women’s Hockey team (who destroyed Finland yesterday) has a nutritionist who goes by Nutricia, which is awesome, and a piece on this year’s new snowboarding event, the slopestyle, in which the NYT is forced to wade through a veritable forest of surfer-type slang. Also there are like 47 other articles, so read about the Olympics to your heart’s content while we go on to deal with the Woody Allen open letter that is a response to Dylan Farrow’s letter about Woody Allen from last week.
We explained last week that we were not going to wade into this morass because the spectre of everyone using someone else’s tragedy to discuss themselves and their feels in detail is just too fucking awful and annoying in equal parts, and we renew that commitment today, and will not delve into a thinkpiece on the Allen/Farrow family. We will note, however, that Allen’s letter manages to be nebbishy and too wordy and tone deaf and whiny (bitching about child support mid-letter, really??) in equal parts, so basically the character Woody Allen often plays in Woody Allen movies.
There’s a delightfully well-detailed piece about how hard the next state dinner is going to be, etiquette-wise, for Bamz and Mrs. Bamz, because French president François Hollande cannot keep his dick in his pants:
When President Obama invited President François Hollande of France for a state dinner, the White House drew up a list of 300 guests to honor the visiting leader and his partner, Valérie Trierweiler. Engraved invitations, with the presidential seal in gold at the top, were printed and set to be mailed.
But there was an unexpected development. Mr. Hollande’s relationship with Ms. Trierweiler blew up in the midst of revelations of an affair with a French actress he had secretly been visiting by motor scooter. Suddenly, Ms. Trierweiler was no longer France’s unofficial first lady and no longer coming to the White House for Tuesday’s dinner. The thick ivory invitations with the words “The President and Mrs. Obama request the pleasure of” each guest’s company had to be destroyed and new ones printed without Ms. Trierweiler’s name.
What could be more delightfully French than sneaking out via motor scooter to see your mistress? OK, so spurned lady isn’t going to come. You have to send some new invites. Whatevs. Quityerbitchin White House. Oh, except there are Important First Lady Things that are planned that now can’t happen.
There will be no traditional coffee or tea for the spouse with Michelle Obama, and the American first lady will have no one to escort to a local school as she has done with previous counterparts.
We would be happy to step in and have coffee or tea or shots or anything, really, with FLOTUS if an extra party guest is needed for that.
Expect maximum garment-rending hyperventilating rage from conservatives this week over the fact that the Justice Department pulled a Beyonce and dropped a major announcement out of nowhere on the sly over the weekend by saying “oh, bee tee dubs, we’re extending a bunch more federal rights to the homosexxicans.”
In court cases and criminal investigations, for example, same-sex couples will be covered under what is known as the spousal privilege, a rule that says spouses cannot be forced to testify against each other. The Bureau of Prisons will extend the same visitation rights to married same-sex couples that it does to opposite-sex couples, Mr. Holder said.
The Justice Department will also recognize same-sex couples when determining eligibility for programs like the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, which pays people who were injured or made sick by the 2001 terrorist attacks. Same-sex spouses of police killed in the line of duty will also be eligible for federal benefits.
Man, we are going to have so many Bryan Fischer posts to write this week. It’s going to be great.
You know we always check out the social etiquette page for Bad People Behaving Super Bad, but there’s also a new thing, or a thing we’ve ignored thus far, called “The Workologist,” which covers much of the same ground, except in the office! Yay?! There’s some delightful synergy between the etiquette column and the workology thing this week, as both columns deal with people who just cannot let go of grievances. Workologist first.
My husband has problems dealing with a former colleague — from more than seven years ago, if you can believe it. He rants about how this long-ago subordinate — my husband was his boss’s boss — was a jerk, ticked everyone off, had issues reporting to women, etc. The person in question was given a very poor appraisal and eventually resigned — but managed to get a good job in a large multinational company.
My husband couldn’t believe that the guy managed to get a job so easily. The episode still seems to evoke a lot of anger, and has figured into almost every day of our lives since. He recounts the same things over and over.
Dude. Every day of your lives? For SEVEN YEARS? The workologist does not say “sweet Jesus run for the hills,” which is what we would advise, but does say that this is messed up and maybe counseling would be cool, huh?
Meanwhile, over in social etiquette land:
My wife and I are dear friends with a couple we cherish. At our son’s bar mitzvah last October, they approached my wife and told her they had forgotten their gift and would get it to us. When they came to dinner two weeks later, they had forgotten it again. We have seen them several times since, but the topic no longer comes up. We accept that they are never giving a gift; we love them anyway. Still, after every evening together, my wife points out the elephant in the room: “Still no gift.” How do we get past this, so it’s no longer on our minds? Should we say something?
Social etiquette guy, who we like and feel sorry for in equal parts, say, nicely, for fuck’s sake stop obsessing over this. Social etiquette guy also has to field a work question, which seems like he’s poaching the workologist guy’s turf, but we’re sure they’ve worked it out on their end. Social etiquette guy handles a well-meaning but ultimately still weird and rude question delightfully, so we’re going to break with tradition and include some of his answer here.
Q. My husband works with a man who is rude, pushy and insensitive toward others. We discovered that he is proposing marriage to a co-worker whom he’s been dating for a few months. The young woman is kind, thoughtful and extremely sweet. We know nothing about their relationship, but we were aghast to hear about the proposal. We fear this man may somehow bully or dupe her into marrying him. Or perhaps she’s not aware of the ugly aspects of his personality. Is there any appropriate way to intervene?
A. Unless your young lady is Dorothea Brooke from “Middlemarch”: a 19-year-old so sheltered from the world that she has no idea what marriage is, stay out of it.
Remind us to work Middlemarch-based cracks into our future work.
We don’t care all that much about this week’s Rich People Buy Absurd Houses section, except to note that if we met the guy who lined his man cave walls in brown leather, we’d laugh at him.
Before we deal with the columnists today, let’s detour over to the really sweet lesbian wedding story where one of the sweet old ladies is 61 and the other is 87 and it took them a long time to deal with their age differences until they just said YOLO and tied the knot and we love them.
Weirdly, we do not hate Thomas Friedman’s column, we think maybe? It’s tough to say since it takes him SO LONG to get to his point and because every Thomas Friedman column stars Thomas Friedman, but basically what he’s on about this week is that nature — storms, water runoff, you get the picture — gives zero fucks about human-drawn borders.
[W]ho knew that when you flush the toilet in your hotel in the eastern half of Jerusalem the wastewater likely ends up in the Dead Sea — untreated? […] Germany offered to pay for a treatment plant, but for the past 20 years Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not been able to agree on how to split the treated water — which originates in both Jewish and Arab drains, so nothing has happened.
Delish! Feel free to go read a many more examples in Friedman’s column, or don’t. We’ve already given you the gist of it.
It’s also our job to give you the gist of Ross Douthat, who will bore you to death this week with some economics thinking. It’s classic Ross, starting with some relatively tepid discussion of Obamacare and the “perverse” result that many workers may choose to work fewer hours, or leave their jobs entirely, but soon Ross gathers steam and explains, of course, how liberals are mushy-headed lazy fools while conservatives love work.
On the conservative side, things are somewhat clearer. There are libertarians who like the basic income idea, but only as a substitute for the existing welfare state, not as a new expansion. Both “rugged individualist” right-wingers and more communitarian conservatives tend to see work as essential to dignity, mobility and social equality, and see its decline as something to be fiercely resisted.
The question is whether tomorrow’s liberals will be our allies in that fight.
Yes, making sure people do not die on the streets or go without health care just because they do not currently possess a job means that we hate work, per Ross Douthat. Here’s the real difference between conservatives and liberals on this: the latter generally do not believe that needing a social safety net means you are lazy and, more so, do not believe that the social safety net is for me but not for thee. Or, put another way, shut the fuck up Ross Douthat.
Speaking of shut the fuck up, Maureen Dowd is out with media criticism a la MoDo, and it is as incomprehensible and hectoring as you might think. Times reporter Dave Itzkoff has a new book, Mad as Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies,out shortly, but MoDo doesn’t get to that part until 2/3 of the way through the column, preferring instead to expend many many words fantasizing about what the author of Network, Paddy Chayefsky, might think about Kim Kardashian or TIME magazine or Chartbeat. We will read Itzkoff’s book, but we do not want to read MoDo on Itzkoff (or anything else, really).
OK, we’re out to gorge ourselves on Olympics the rest of the day, because Johnny Weir is providing color commentary for NBC, and he is wearing something that looks like a blazer over a ladies’ silk shell with an enormous twist of gold chains and he is the best.