Sunday Bloody NYT Sunday: Special Old Man Yells At Clouds Edition
Oh, New York Times. We mock, but we love. Really, we love. But we love you like we love a great-uncle who is delightfully politically astute and well-informed, but stops himself mid-discourse on the intricacies of whether to succumb to censorship in China to sell your book there to shake his fists impotently at the sky and kids these days and what on earth are these two-wheeled vehicles clogging up my NYC roadways dammit.
It’s this bike program. The other day I stepped off a curb and a bike coming the wrong way down a one-way street passed so close I could feel its breeze on my back. It seems as though, every day, I’m almost hit by a bike. That’s a problem, but it’s not the problem.
As it happens, the bike was going the wrong way and I was crossing against the light.
That’s what New Yorkers do. When we walk, we don’t pay attention to lights. That is practically the definition of a New Yorker: when walking, ignores lights. These bicycles have made walking around the city much scarier. Helmets are recommended gear for bikers. These days pedestrians should be wearing helmets.
So, it was safe to ignore the lights when you might have been run down by a cab, but the bikes will kill you? Can some New Yorkers jump in and explain this to us? Oh wait. The real problem isn’t the bikes…it’s the color???
Nobody wears this color. Nobody paints his or her apartment this color. This blue is bank blue.
Odds are, in your favorite romantic Manhattan movie, you’ll see barely any blue.
Almost all directors and cinematographers know that, in a movie, the color blue pulls focus. If you place a love scene in front of, say, a blue bench, the audience will look at the bench and not the actors. Our city, if you look around, isn’t a blue city, or wasn’t until the bikes arrived. With the exception of Times Square, where loud clashing colors are the point, our city is browns, grays, greens and brick red.
So, the bikes that are about to run you down and stone cold murder you while you’re walking against the light should be better camouflaged. Got it.
Now, don’t go away mad, NYT. We didn’t say you were bad at covering ALL cultural things. You covered that sportsball thingy from yesterday quite nicely (and quite gracefully given that your city does not get to participate this time around). You have Ben Ratliff writing a really nuanced and thought-provoking article about Katy Perry’s new record and how her plastic construct, her bubble-gum persona, was both more authentic and more interesting than her new shift to the obligatory more stripped down and more inward looking “mature” phase of her musical career. But wow, your senior-year-sociology-paper about selfies is as too late as it is too long.
“There is a primal human urge to stand outside of ourselves and look at ourselves,” said Clive Thompson, a technology writer and the author of the new book “Smarter Than You Think: How Technology Is Changing Our Minds for the Better.”[…]
At times, it feels largely performative, another way to polish public-facing images of who we are, or who we’d like to appear to be. Selfies often veer into scandalous or shameless territory — think of Miley Cyrus or Geraldo Rivera — and at their most egregious raise all sorts of questions about vanity, narcissism and our obsession with beauty and body image.
Yep, sure. Whatever it takes to hit the 2000-word minimum your prof required, kid. We’re much more pleased with the paper your classmate turned in about celebrity sex tapes, pointing out that they’ve gotten kinda boring and we’ve run out of big names and are now down to watching fourth-tier starlets make videos just to leak them:
Take Farrah Abraham, a busty siren from MTV’s “Teen Mom,” who can thank her recent sex video (which she claimed was meant to be private, even though she hired James Deen, an adult-film actor, as her co-star) for getting her seemingly as much ink in the tabloids as actual stars like.
Let who among us has NOT hired a porn star for our private sex tapes cast the first stone.
The NYT is also giving us glimpses into the minds of thought leaders and innovators and job creators, and we now have a golden once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to find out their thoughts on jobs are as banal, if not more so, than our own.
How do you hire?
The first thing I need to know is, can they get the job done? I’ll listen to how they tell me the stories about what they consider their best accomplishments. I’ll ask what they like to do and don’t like to do in their jobs, because I want to understand what would make them happy in their jobs. I’ll ask them what they want to be doing in five years. I look for people who want to grow, who have a vision for something that they’re interested in implementing. I also want to hear stories of how people manage. So I’ll say, “Tell me about a confrontation you had to have with someone you worked with and how you resolved it.”
Ooh! So you learn if they can do the job, what they like about other jobs, how they want to grow in their job, and how they resolve conflict? UNHEARD OF GENIUS. Please raise your hand if these questions weren’t a part of literally every job interview you’ve ever had in the last 20 years. No hands? Good. Let’s move on.
Perhaps instead of reading a rather tone-deaf and obvious piece on how the big dogs hire other big dogs, you want to read a love story stuffed to the brim with self-congratulation and cliches? Of course you would! In case you can’t bear to actually read the thing (we’re demanding hazard pay for having had to look at it), here’s the synopsis. I am a powerful woman. I do not rely upon men, because other powerful women who rely upon men got dicked over, so I date wusses. But now I met a man who does not need me, so I love him, and he knows how to fix things, which I do not:
Randy said he appreciated my independence. A guy who liked to lean in himself, he ran a small medical-device company — a chief executive, yes, but one who wore shorts to the office, bought his shirts at Sears, liked little cars with big engines and had no need for a loan from me.[…]
Yet as the months passed and Randy didn’t disappear, it was hard not to lean on him simply because he could do so many things I couldn’t: fix a toilet, whip up a dinner without a recipe, suss a car problem by listening.
Randy didn’t need me in any material way. What he needed, it seemed, was to take care of me. Within months of our meeting, he had added a pot rack to my minuscule kitchen. I didn’t own a microwave so he bought one, popped it in my never-used oven (the only available space) and wired it up.
He put your microwave oven IN your other oven? NEW YORKERS IS THIS REAL LIFE?? After proving her independence by becoming a freelance writer something something, our lady correspondent explains that because of that, she was able to treat her man right when he got home.
Maybe that’s why, after a productive day at my computer, when I spied Randy’s convertible coming up the drive, I closed my laptop and met him at the door with a vodka martini, bone dry, rimmed with slices of cucumber, the way he liked it.
“Don’t get used to this,” I warned, but his smile was worth the cliché, even as he said with affection, “My little wifey.”
We don’t want to think about this couple any more. Ever. Ever ever. Let’s go think about (shudder) Tom Friedman instead. Tommy would like you to know how versatile his big brain is:
I’VE spent most of my career covering Middle East politics. I always thought it was its own unique field. But, in the last few weeks, I’ve felt myself to be at a real advantage trying to explain American politics.
Color us surprised. Before we get to learning about how the big brain on Tom can help us understand ‘Merica, we’re treated to a lengthy detour through a past Friedman column about how monoculture crops are just like Arabs. Yes, you have that right. Tom Friedman is citing Tom Friedman so that Tom Friedman can talk about how Tom Friedman’s thoughts on the Arab peninsula are rich sources of knowledge for domestic politics. Tom Friedman! Is there nothing he can’t do? If you can make it through Tom Friedman breaking his arm patting himself on the back, there’s actually some good thinking in the column:
It’s striking how much the Tea Party wing of the G.O.P. has adopted the tactics of the P.O.G. — “Party of God” — better known as Hezbollah.[…]Ultimately, Hezbollah could only win a minority of seats, but today it uses its arms and pro-Syrian allies in Parliament to block any policy it doesn’t like. As Hanin Ghaddar, the Lebanese Shiite writer who edits NowLebanon.com put it to me: “Hezbollah’s rule is: if we win, we rule, but if you win, you’ll think you rule, but we will do anything and everything to hinder you, and then we rule.”
We would have just cut to the chase and said they’re terrifying nihilists, but pretty much we agree with this assessment 1000%. Friedman often gets too caught up in the preciousness of his own metaphors (coughWorldIsFlatcough) but here he’s spot on.
Would that there were any nuance to be found in ham-fisted weak-chinned Ross Douthat’s column today. Did you know that it has been hard to roll out a nationwide database that links to oodles of other government databases and private insurers in order to determine how and when people can buy health care? Ross Douthat knows it! (Let us never miss the opportunity to point out that single fucking payer solves all of these problems. Thank you.) Ross would like you to know that the fact that Bamz has had difficulty with a task that no one actually ever did before is just like Bush failing to think about what happened after we bombed the snot out of Iraq:
Except this time Team Obama didn’t. Like the Bush administration in Iraq, the White House seems to have invaded the health insurance marketplace with woefully inadequate postinvasion planning, and let the occupation turn into a disaster of hack work and incompetence.
You know, sometimes we have really clever ways to tell off Ross Douthat, and other times we are so disgusted and so hampered by our general principle not to actually wish physical harm or lingering terrible illnesses upon someone that all we can really say is eat a giant bowl of hot, salted dicks, Ross. Yes, having trouble with a computer rollout TO GIVE PEOPLE HEALTHCARE is just like basically wiping a country off the map and failing to plan for those little things like electricity. Asshole.
Maureen Dowd is probably in luck this week because likely nothing will make us as irritated as Ross Douthat today. Oh, MoDo. You’re really sort of phoning it in by now, aren’t you. MoDo MadLibs: Acknowledge that Obama did a huge thing by, you know, getting a continuing resolution and getting the government back open, but then find a way to undercut big achievement by whining about how Obama does not treat you nice enough at dinner parties or ask you on dates anymore.
Washington is surpassingly nutty right now, but the founding fathers did build a system designed for factional warfare. When sweet reasonableness doesn’t work, Obama’s default position is didactic disdain. He underuses the fear and charm cards. When he first saw the White House movie theater, he was surprised there were so many seats beyond what the first family would need. Bill Clinton, on the other hand, probably would have built a balcony and auctioned off seats, if he could have.
We have no idea how those two concepts go together, and want to take a red pen to this whole fucking column. We think it means that Bamz should have gotten in the trenches more on the budget deal and showed more shirtsleeve-rolling-action like MoDo finds sexy, and somehow Bill Clinton would have…rolled up his sleeves and invited everyone to a movie? Do we have that right? MoDo’s real complaint seems to be that the President doesn’t want to engage people whose belief systems range from Obama will wreck the USA to Obama is literally Satan and will wreck the world. Perhaps MoDo would like to explain how that engagement should work, beyond her weird assertion that it should be sweaty.
There’s nothing wrong with a president breaking a sweat somewhere beyond the basketball court.
Maureen Dowd, please never tell us ever again about who you would like to see sweat. We’d rather watch z-list starlet sex tapes forever than thing about that. Oh, who are we kidding. Like we weren’t going to watch those sex tapes anyway. Gotta do something with the rest of our Sunday.