"I don't believe in journalists having 'responsibility.'"
-Seth Lipsky, October 16, 2003

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll demanded on August 20, 2003, that Washington "finish the war" against "the Arabs."

Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll assembled their staff for a Champagne toast to mass death on the commencement of hostilities against Iraq. Stoll called it "my war." CNN maintains a running update here of Americans killed in Ira's war.

On February 6, 2003, Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll wrote, in all seriousness, of a pending anti-war demonstration that the "the New York City police could do worse, in the end, than to allow the protest and send two witnesses along for each participant, with an eye toward preserving at least the possibility of an eventual treason prosecution."

The June 9, 1995 Wall Street Journal quoted an SEC complaint against New York Sun backer Bruce Kovner as saying Kovner had "altered and destroyed" subpoenaed evidence. We wish you'd do the same to the daily print run of your God-awful newspaper, Bruce.

Also, Professor G. Harlan Reynolds alleged on August 27, 2002 - when the Sun was several months in publication - that Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll had not yet paid him for a piece authored for their inaugural issue.

 
 
   
 
Friday, April 26, 2002
 
Week 2 of the Friday film review section and ---what’s this?? Where’s Bowman?? Let go already? Overly taxed by the other day’s pro-Tom DeLay (or was it anti-Tom DeLay? Or was DeLay just the starting point for something or another about religion? Bowman, Sphinx-like, reveals nothing while revealing ALL—and by all, I mean I usually can’t figure out what he’s trying to get across) screed? Or is it simply early tobacco harvest time down Virginny way? Or maybe he’s just scared. His faithful readers, honor-starved, await his triumphal return.

In his place are the AO Scotts to Bowman’s Elvis Mitchell, the Roepers to his Ebert, Nathan Lee and Jason L. Riley. Nathan Lee (who shouldn’t have quit his previous position) looks at “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” about the birth of skate culture, and “Rain.” He disliked the latter, but Lee raves that “Dogtown” is “Essential viewing for anyone interested in skate culture and—if you’ve already caught “Y Tu Mama Tambien”—the most exuberant movie in town around for everyone else.” “In town around” aside (SETH! IRA! WAKE UP!!), I fear Mr. Lee has made a grave error—he has contradicted the views of the honorable JAMES BOWMAN!! In his review, Bowman wrote, “somewhere behind its momentary doubt there still lurks the hippie dream, … which was one of the two great delusions of the 20th century.” And, “it is the pornographic purpose which remains foremost.” And, “anyone who sees any ‘liberation’ in any of this will, I fear, never have much of interest to say.” Not to mention, “Nor do we get the ‘money shot’ associated with porn.” Mr. Lee, retract now, and preserve your honor.

(By the way, are you the same Nathan Lee who broke the big “U. Hawaii health center sponsors Condom Fair” exclusive for Ka Leo O Hawaii? If so, my friend, you are wasting your considerable talents on mere movie reviews.)

As for Jason L. Riley, I would be willing to blame his addle-patedness (“Legally Blonde” was “delightful?”) on alcoholism, which torments so many with his Hibernian surname. I must ask, though—are you the same, or a relation to, Jason L. Riley of The Wall Street Journal? You know, the one who has written editorials on how ending the use of SAT scores reflects a new form of racial discrimination—you wouldn’t mean the kind against whites, would you?; the Democratic Party’s tactics of attracting black voters by “nurturing” black feelings of “victimhood;” and of course “Do Black Americans Still Need Black Leaders?,” the surprising answer to which is…. No! Maybe it depends on the leader though…




 
We’re soaking the rich, says Steven Malanga on the editorial page. Really? Malanga, a lifelong apologist for inequality, fails to note the disparities in wealth that worsened (in New York, particularly) contemporaneously with the supposed increase of the tax assessed rich folk. While the accuracy of Mr. Malanga’s contention can be disputed, the moral cannot. The wealthy, a most estimable class of men, are more than entitled to their money, for they are responsible for the country’s wealth creation. It is their enterprise, financial innovation, and mastery of markets that will "spur an economic revival." Obviously. Of course Malanga - interred at the Manhattan Institute, which the Sun’s bagmen fund lavishly - believes cutting taxes on the wealthy would introduce some much-needed prosperity. I doubt it, though it would partly offset the money Steinhardt et al. have squandered on their awful paper. The Sun remains, at bottom, a third-rate indulgence of men with third-rate fortunes.

In Weekend at Bernie's fashion, Seth Lipsky props up a corpse named Max Singer to deliver Paul Wolfowitz and Richard Perle’s line on the necessity of agitating (if not participating in) a war in Saudi Arabia. This line, reported by Singer to be opposed by the "CIA, the State Department, and Middle Eastern Studies departments of universities," (i.e., people who can be said to have an understanding), is supported by humane scholars such as Bernard Lewis and Daniel Pipes, who have both studied the Middle East to fully inform and perfect their dislike for Arabs. Not only will the provocation of a war serve U.S. interests, Singer assures us that it would constitute "help to Moslems" (a curious variant) in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. Help of the sort we afforded the Bosnians and the peaceable Kosovar Albanians, benefiting the Balkans as a whole and earning America no small measure of endearment.

Thursday, April 25, 2002
 
As with its previous editions, today’s Sun begins with dubious reportage and follows with indefensible editorial opinion. Let’s take it in order.

A front-page piece by Seth "Zwanzig" Mnookin tells of a Lebanese claim against the International Herald Tribune and the disinterest of other newspapers in the matter. The IHT, reads the piece, had published an Anti-Defamation League advertisement in violation of Lebanese laws forbidding foreign publications from publishing items recognized as propaganda for Israel. In a nod to himself, the reporter falsely tells us no U.S. outlet, save the AP, has covered the controversy. Practicing his trade at a level far above such mundane journalistic principles as balance, Mnookin then lets an ADL rep whine about Lebanon’s "curbing" of press freedoms without, say, raising the question of whether an advertisement can sensibly be conceived of as constituting editorial content. I await the man’s take on corporate campaign contributions.

The Sun takes until page six to begin warmongering today. Seth Lipsky’s hostility to any truncation of Ariel Sharon’s war - which has devastated both the Israeli and Palestinian economies - is patent. Not content with just one murderous campaign in progress, Mr. Lipsky allows us a glimpse into the "strategic circles outside of the administration in Washington" in which he operates, cloak-dagger-and-fedora-style. Within those circles, plans are being readied for another intrusion upon the affairs of a foreign country: the provocation of a civil war in Saudi Arabia to break up the kingdom a la Yugoslavia. Lipsky’s appetite for adventurism is nearly on parity with Michael Steinhardt’s appetite for fudge. Can’t we simply find bin Laden first?

Wednesday, April 24, 2002
 
First allow me to note that Kurt Opprecht neglected to mention the city's premiere flafel vendor in his otherwise acceptable roundup. Mr. Opprecht would do himself well to visit Olympic Pita in Midwood, Brooklyn.

That aside, our Brad Olson has seen fit to address certain doubts as to our identities cast elsewhere:

As arts editor for Like Father, Like Sun ("a perfect triumph of justice"), I can tell Jesse Oxfeld that not only is Grady Olivier who he appears to be, I am looking at who he appears to be at this very moment, strolling (or as we like to say here, "Stolling") through the newsroom here at the vast Like Father, Like Sun complex outside Pawnee, Illinois. Even now, he is regaling Betty (our intern, a third year sophomore from Lincoln Land Community College over in Springfield, a heart of gold with teeth to match) with tales of how to properly cook kangawai and rapuo bread, of growing up in Aotearoa, of the appropriate weather conditions for eel-spearing. His thick Maori accent brought cheer to all of us here in the long months prior to the Sun's launch ('The Legend of Lipsky's First Fedora' was a particular favorite among the typesetters, I recall), and continues to do so.

And what kind of name is 'Jesse Oxfeld,' anyway? Sounds like a character in a mid-80s Swayze vehicle...Sir, what are YOU trying to hide?

 
Daddy’s Girl Rachel Kovner gets a sweet lick of that shiny brass ring, headlining with a story on what many see as the imminent ouster of Schools Chancellor Harold Levy. Riding in tandem with Ms. Kovner is Katherine Eban, who follows jab with uppercut, alleging Mr. Levy failed to seek recovery of $1.5 million paid to a school construction contractor. The much-hectored Mr. Levy was already at the bottom of a pile-on. His load is made heavier by the articles of Mme. Kovner and Eban, each reminiscent of a Beginning With Children Foundation (founded by Sun backer Joseph Reich) or School Choice Scholarship Foundation (funded by Sun backers Roger Hertog and "Tommy Boy" Tisch of the bumbling Tisches) press release. Satisfaction will elude some people until the day the world is paved over with charter schools.

The editorial page left our mouths agape - wide enough, actually, to receive one of Seth Lipsky’s nifty hats or even a forkful of food as apportioned by Michael Steinhardt. The editorialist wonders why the Palestinians were less than compliant with the Israeli Defense Forces’ destruction of the Jenin refugee camp. We wonder as well.

How exactly does one effect the rescission of kindly words committed on an earlier date? One week ago, I complimented the Sun on its employ of low-rub inks. Today’s Sun rubbed horribly, marring a fine pair of trousers. Absent quality ink, the only redemptive asset available the paper is Errol Louis, whose column is today devoted to current system by which City judges are selected. I remain skeptical of Mr. Louis’s recommended physic, though any system - including conjuring the late Roy Cohn with a Ouija board - is preferable to the one which presently obtains.


Tuesday, April 23, 2002
 
Ellen Bork delights us with a treatment of contemporary European opinion on Israel and Palestine that starts on a low note from which it descends precipitously. In the first paragraph, she states Israel is presently "defending itself against a terrorist entity that aspires to statehood," which is a way of putting it that conveniently withdraws the Palestinian people from consideration. I am proposing to mail a copy of Ernest Gellner’s Nations and Nationalism to Ms. Bork care of the Sun, including a copy of Edward Said’s collected essays for good measure. Ms. Bork, herself a Woman of the Book, could stand some remedial reading.

In another misspecification, Ms. Bork proves Ira Stoll to be asleep at the fact-checking desk by identifying Nobel Prize winner José Saramago as Spanish. He is in fact Portuguese. In homage to Mr. Stoll’s smartertimes.com, I will file Ms. Bork’s outing under "Culture, Lack of Basic Familiarity With."

Monday, April 22, 2002
 
Nearly a week into its existence, the Sun finally unveils its most formidable ordnance and enlists a "history major" to deploy it. In an opinion piece titled "Academia v. Israel," surely the most obvious mismatch since Gatti-Gamache, The Major presents us with 500+ words of indignation over several Columbia University professors canceling their "official duties" to attend a rally supporting the Palestinian cause. As official duties at a modern academy amount to little more than boring undergrads with readings in ones own text book (which heroically stakes claim to a marginal difference from prevailing opinion), I’m as yet uncertain as to whether the Columbia Community suffered any actionable harm.

That aside, allow us to contend with The Major’s assurance that "the professors aren’t protesting the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but the existence of the sovereign nation if Israel." Well of course! This sentiment on the professors’ part is legible in the placards the Columbia Spectator reported as reading "Stop the crime! Israel out of Palestine," obvious euphemisms for statements more sinister.

Browsing the Columbia Spectator’s website - the Sun noted The Major was a former editor there - one can find several of The Major’s efforts. Present are recycled attacks on Edward Said, defenses of David Horowitz, and several other unremarkable bleats. "Free Expression in Academia," however, leaves the poor Major hoist with his own petard. Within, he presumes that the "university, ideally, protects the free expression of ideas, permitting for debate that will lead to the discovery of truth or understanding." Except when those ideas are supportive of the fundamental justice of the Palestinian cause; with expression of those ideas, the university ceases to serve as a "framework where all views may be presented and evaluated" and is transfigured into "a bastion of anti-Israeli hatred."

 

 
   
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