Thursday, May 29, 2014

The New York Times as Binky

I’ve always known that there was something special about people who read the NYT other than the fact that they consider themselves to be well-educated and serious about the responsibilities of citizenship.  But today, glancing at the couple next to me in my favorite neighborhood restaurant, each scrutinizing his half of “The Times” over one of those leisurely week-end breakfasts that seem to have been designed to accompany the reading of the newspaper of reference, identical images contemplated over decades, whenever I was living in the United States, suddenly reappeared accompanied with a subtext: “The information herein comes with a guarantee of credibility, hence by reading this newspaper, I am perfectly informed about all that matters in the world, and can enjoy my Saturday or Sunday coffee knowing that my country has matters in hand.”

When newscasts tell otherwise: marshall law in Thailand, Boko Haram readying 280 Nigerian schoolgirls for forced marriage, Ukrainians preparing to vote for a new president - or not - under the guns of thugs avenging the defeat of the Third Reich, two killed in Brussels’ Jewish museum shooting, unprecedented floods in the former Yugoslavia as Europe’s national socialist parties prepare to  condemn the welfare state in European Union elections tomorrow, protesters around the world vowing death to Monsanto while demanding living wages to serve in MacDonald’s, etc. etc., the image of America’s well-meaning ‘liberals’ eyes glued to “The Times” as they reach for their coffee has never seemed so ludicrous.

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