Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Night Before Night Before Night Before Christmas Edition


Before we get started on today’s New York Times, let’s talk about Christmas gifts. No, we’re not asking you for anything, though you should really get us something soon. We just wanted to tell you about a little thing we picked up for you called Hallelujah Sweet Baby Jesus There Is No Maureen Dowd Column This Week. See? We knew that was on your list.


Before we rage rage against the selfishness of the rich, we’re be remiss if we didn’t point you towards the NYT’s Neediest Cases Campaign. If you’re feeling curmudgeonly and no Christmas fucking spirt-y and have decided to completely ignore your family this year because you really do not want to talk about how the Duck Dynasty guy is like Rosa Parks, mebbe consider throwing a few dollars at this fund, which raises millions for seven New York City social services agencies or throw some at your local food shelf or anything really, because it will definitely make you feel better than talking to your uncle about politics ever again. (If your loathing of people is too high at the holidays, and really, who could blame you, consider throwing coin at an animal shelter, even if it is one in Brooklyn that gives famous names to dogs because people will probably adopt “George Clooney” before they will adopt “Fido.”)

Let’s keep on keeping on with a few more feel-good, or at least feel-neutral, kinds of things before we tackle the real estate section, shall we? We shall. We are thankful, this holiday season, for the fact that the Times spared us the thought leader changemakering clamor of another rich person explaining how they deserve to be a leader because they like to lead, which seems to be the sum total of most of those “Corner Office” interviews. This week, they corner officed Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker instead of a captain of industry, and it is not terrible because she doesn’t pretend that it is by dint of genius that she is rolling on a pile of money and actually just answers a question like a human.

What else are you looking for when you hire?

[…] I use this test: Your 11 p.m. flight is delayed, and you’re going to be sitting next to that person during the trip home. You’ve had a long day and you’re tired. Do you want to be traveling with that person?

That is probably not a bad way to think about people you would like to work with! Oh, except for the fact that we wouldn’t even talk to our own mother/husband/baby/best friend/pet sitter in that situation so perhaps the lesson is to hire no one whatsoever.

We’re not sure if we think it is naughty or nice that Lydia Lunch, the famously sharp-tongued sharp-edged doyenne of New York City’s late 1970s punk scene, is now a women’s empowerment guru, because yay for reinventing yourself, but boo for empowerment guru.

But Lunch insists that her second act as a women’s empowerment coach makes perfect sense: “I’m the No Wave Anthony Robbins,” she says. “My goal has always been to punch my way out of the trauma zone into the light.” During the three-day seminar, participants meditated, chanted and threw negative memories into a campfire. There were hugs, shoulder rubs and skinny-dipping. “Anyone who asks why we need a workshop for only women in 2013,” Lunch told me, “doesn’t realize the effect the patriarchy has had on our psyches.” […]

At Ojai, Lunch ranted about the state of the planet, then warmly encouraged the women to purge themselves of shame and anger. When “OOO-AAHH-AAAAA!!!” echoed from the avocado grove where some of the workshop attendees had gathered to do Butoh-inspired movement, Lunch looked up from her laptop and proclaimed the cry “the sound of feminine power being released into the universe.”

Well, if you’re going to get all female empowerment zone, it might as well be with Lydia Lunch.


We’re going to need some empowerment to get through the Christmas edition of the social etiquette column today, because that thing is supersized with terrible people being terrible at Christmas time. Sadly, no one asked our burning question, which is “if the whole family gathering has turned into Casual Racism: Duck Dynasty Edition, are you allowed to punch people in the face or should you simply leave without warning?” We do have, however, the dude that wants to give his special lady an IRA for Christmas (the retirement account, not the startlingly violent armed Catholics). The people who want their recently messily divorced parents to all come over AT THE SAME TIME to see their precious babbeh, and this gem:

My boyfriend and I have been living together for three years, and I am hoping he will ask me to marry him over the holidays. (If he does not, I will probably break up with him in January.) Is there any way I can raise the subject to see which way he is leaning?

We would like to send this lady to the Lydia Lynch empowerment zone so she knows how the fuck to ask for what she wants, or maybe we will send the dude on a cruise for Christmas where he might meet someone that does not expect him to just read her fucking mind. Either way, someone’s got to go somewhere.

Mercifully, no one wrote in with a rich person Christmas dilemma like “I have piles of money. How do I only spend it on myself this season and step on some little people while I am doing it?” but maybe that is because the real estate column on how to better cater to the obscenely wealthy covers that.

“Younger people with money are moving into buildings,” said Frank Monaco, a retired doorman who also worked as a representative for Local 32BJ, the service workers union, “and they want to make it a white-glove building. One of the things I hear from management is they want the staff to be very attentive. They don’t want them to be distracted by reading the paper. In the past it was different. People were a little bit more laid back, but that’s changing.” […]

New hires take a weeklong course to learn how to color-code residents based on their personality type. A red-coded resident needs to be validated and heard, whereas a blue resident simply wants the facts. Building staff members wear ear buds, so that if, for example, a porter spots a resident leaving his apartment, he can radio the front desk to suggest that someone hail a cab.

God forbid one of the red-ball red-pill red-code Masters of the Universe should have to see a doorman do anything but stand rigidly at attention or wait even one second to get a cab. In fact, they shouldn’t have to call downstairs to have a cab waiting. Nor should they have to see a lowly porter with a disgusting little earbud scurrying around to get them a cab. This is the fucking future. How much do they have to pay to just implant one of the little people with some sort of device where they can just be ordered about via the power of a rich person’s big brain, thus saving the rich person’s talking energy for more monetizing.


Speaking of monetizing, Thomas Friedman’s column this week is actually called “How to Monetize Your Closet” and it is in no way being silly or ironic or self-effacing or anything of the sort. Instead, it is more of Friedman on the “sharing economy” which mainly seems to be how the already rich stay rich by selling or trading their stuff to the slightly less rich.

“We have a section on the site for wedding attire,” she explained. “We have seen three brides wear the same dress.” The first bought a Vera Wang wedding dress for $8,000 and then sold it on Tradesy for $3,000. The second wore it and resold it for $3,000. “So the bride in the middle of that trade wore her $8,000 Vera Wang wedding dress for free.”

While that may seem like the easy-peasiest bargain fun times for Thomas Friedman, it overlooks that fact that everyone in this equation at some point had at least $3000 to spare, which is not necessarily true of everyone, except if you live in Friedmanville, in which case it is smart money management synergy bargain leadering.

Also when you are really rich, you don’t need to own things, because the hot new thing is just having all the stuff until you get rid of that stuff and get new stuff, because you can.

“For those at the cutting edge of this trend, durable goods are viewed as temporal objects to enjoy and pass on rather than ‘belongings.’ Personally, I no longer feel like I ‘own’ anything. I enjoy my consumer goods for a day, a week or a year, take good care of them because I assume they’ll go on to have another life with someone else, then share or sell whatever I’m tired of. I get access to goods and services that would typically be beyond my means, without accumulating a ton of stuff.”

We tried that, but we found it impossible to monetize our 15-year-old VW Jetta with all the door trim peeled off, both because no one else wanted the thing and because we couldn’t leverage its assetness to buy another car because if we were that person, we would have just had money to buy a fucking car.

Dumb and tone-deaf as Friedman is, he’s got nothing on Ross Douthat, who delivers a bouncing baby bundle of claptrap today about how only the intelligentsia are secular and the rest of the world loves Jesus and oh the intelligentsia are probably sad and empty and lonely and have no stars to look to.

Then, finally, there’s the secular world picture, relatively rare among the general public but dominant within the intelligentsia. This worldview keeps the horizontal message of the Christmas story but eliminates the vertical entirely. The stars and angels disappear: There is no God, no miracles, no incarnation. But the egalitarian message — the common person as the center of creation’s drama — remains intact, and with it the doctrines of liberty, fraternity and human rights.

This does not sound bad to us? Then again, we are not perpetual culture scaredy-cats/scolds like Ross Douthat, so we do not go around worrying that if people fail to love our particular version of a sky god enough they probably have no morality and nothing to live for and just have shameless shallow sex instead.


Throw in some references to a relatively unknown German scholar and some tired “the secular liebrul scientists are already losing their science-y religion” stuff at the end, and you have yourself a standard edition Ross Douthat column, just in time for Christmas. Is there somewhere in the sharing economy that we can monetize this shit and trade it in? Probably not, because what is worth less than a Ross Douthat column? We shudder to think.


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