Friday, June 28, 2002
If my sempiternally faulty recollection can in this instance be relied upon, today marks the first day a headline has ran the full width of the Sun
’s first page. Before getting to today’s paper, allow me to congratulate myself on my Jimmy the Greek-like prescience in correctly guessing
that Bruce Kovner’s daughter’s return to the Sun
’s august pages would be with a charter schools/school choice-themed piece.
’s staff does their overlords supreme justice
this morning, dutifully elaborating the prejudices of “Big Dick” Gilder et al. Their “reportage” is actually above and beyond the requirements. It’s hysterical. In a front page center editorial, Seth and Ira call yesterday’s ruling upholding the constitutionality of school vouchers “the greatest civil rights victory since Brown v. Board of Education.” The hyperbole is so great one wonders why the “ordinary semi-intelligent guy
” from the Worcester Academy
and Amity Shlaes’s henpecked husband didn’t simply start a warblog
and save their backers $20 million.
Elsewhere on the front page, staffer Caleb Rabinowitz abets Lipsky’s frivolous expenditure of resources by reporting one of the Sun
’s famous animal pieces first-hand.
Not on the front page is James Bowman. Why the hell not? If this outrage continues I may be compelled to break with my longstanding policy against the practice and send a letter to the editor. Seth, Ira, and Ellen Umansky: recognize that Wallace Matthews is less than one-sixteenth the writer Bowman is, and is unfit even to launder the Virgin
ian’s gym shorts. Act in accordance with that recognition when apportioning space on the front page.
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Anna Schneider-Mayerson appears not to have learned anything from media blowhard Steve Brill. Today she continues the proud Sun tradition of dealing freely in hypocrisy, proving herself one of the foremost practitioners in the papers newsroom while denigrating the rival Post
as "famously" being a conduit for owner Rupert Murdoch's personal opinions. Schneider-Mayerson, typing from her knees while before Rachel Kovner's dad and/or Roger Hertog and/or "Big Dick" Gilder and/or Joey Reich and/or "Handsome Joe" Steinberg and/or Chuck Brunie, etc., apparently fails to notice that her entire paper - not just its editorial page - is little more than a seriatim exhibition of the barbaric opinions of the aforementioned individuals. It is easily the least objective paper in current print, a claim that stands despite Tom Metzger's continued publication of WAR
Not only is it wholly without balance (or even the slightest measure of sanity), it is also devoid of grace and absent artistry. Why today Seth and Ira present us with four column inch front page story on an air carrier barring a pig from flying in the passenger cabin. Also front page-worthy is Nicole Graev's enjoinder to "Let Us Now Praise Famous Professional Fit Models," the fashion world's equivalents of the Sun's newsroom
- a body whose primary purpose is to flatteringly accept whatever is draped over it (the Manhattan Institute's retrograde theology, in the Sun's case) and whose vitality is secondary (or non-existent, in the Sun
The preceding, thankfully, is below the fold. Headlining is a wire item on the current flap over the newly declared unconstitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance by an appeals court. The disgrace of being unable to break your own headlining news is mitigated by the employ of the overused and predictable device of soliciting local reaction. Colin Miner
, so awful he must be a j-school freshman
, dutifully records the hyperventilations of the usual numskulls: a brainless democrat beholden to her constituents, an outraged Staten Island republican
, Carl McCall, a gentlemen with a Hispanic surname, and a reactionary defender of orthodox Judaism. Miner's facility in assembling this rainbow (a shame Omar Karsou couldn't weigh in here, Seth) coalition apparently demonstrates the evilness of those damn judiciaries; after all, it's a "a time when our troops are overseas in harm's way and our nation is under attack [sic]
." If the stupendously inefficacious War Against Terror is dependent on the patriotic energy spontaneously generated by an elementary school's rote recitation of a few words - penned by a socialist - then the depths of our troubles are far greater than initially anticipated.
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Who said the following about whom and in what context?
I'm not saying there are no poor, homeless [name of group redacted]. I'm asserting that overall, demographically, [name of group again redacted] are in the middle to upper income brackets with considerable influence with politicians, the media and in particular, Hollywood.
If the prose weren't so graceless, you would probably have guessed it was Alexander Cockburn talking about the Jews. It's actually the lovely Alicia Colon talking about homosexuals
. The quote is from a piece in which Colon argues against constitutional protection of gays on the grounds it exposes the government to challenges "by practitioners of sexual preferences that might not be so well tolerated, e.g. bestiality, incest, and pedophilia." Several questions here insinuate themselves, though I will leave it to others to ask them.
Colon penned a follow-up
to the piece, denouncing the "hate and filth of gay rights extremists." The filth in question comprised a mailing of "'feelthy pictures' of handsome young men in compromising positions." With the poverty of Colon's writing and her less-than-skillful employ of subheadings, we can only guess the hate factored somewhere in this episode Colon relates: 'I ended my column with the defiant words, "I'm here, I'm square, and I'm in your face.' This time, the letters called me a thug from the mean streets of Spanish Harlem where I grew up." Atavism incarnate getting "in your face?" Sure sounds like thuggery to us.
Colon tries to shield herself against the inevitable charge of homophobia by stating that most of her friends were at some undisclosed time gay. She then betrays her unfamiliarity with the defining event in the gay liberation movement by faultily rendering it the "Stone Streets riots in Greenwich Village," simultaneously betraying her further unfamiliarity with New York City history and culture generally.
Ah, another recipient of the Steinhardt-Kovner Genius Award, as administered by Seth Lipsky and Ira Stoll.
saves us from the normal Wednesday masochism of reviewing Amity Shlaes's latest (writing in part today
about the Archies
). He gets what passes for a banner headline at the Sun
when he relates "How Cheney Saved Bush's Mideast Speech - In The Nick Of Time." This was done with excision of all parts construable as "criticism of Israel" and filling the resulting lacunae with impossible demands on the Palestinian people. Bush's speech, itself essentially the 'run' in a cut-and-run, will likely be taken by Sharon as an approval to continue his operations on the Palestinians so long as the latter continue to in their stubborn refusal to get with the program. Sharon, of course, is doing everything inhumanly possible to prevent the enactment of the program.
But Ira really isn't interested in parsing the president's speech. He's here to brag. Cheney's editorial intervention was relayed to Stoll by none other than Omar Karsou
, a nonentity thrust upon the world as the last chance for redemption of the Palestinian people by editorial writers at the Wall Street Journal
and the Jerusalem Post
. Any time the Sun
talks to anyone they presume important, they feel a compulsion to transcribe the proceedings on the paper's front page. They did this in their very first issue, when Peggy Noonan (who wisely seems to have cut and ran from the Sun
in an effort to spare herself embarrassment) air kissed the troglodytic Lech Walesa. Now Stoll lets us know he's been in personal communication with the almighty Omar Ibrahim Karsou, a currency speculator whose name was wholly unknown before Journal attempted to outfit him with Wizard of Oz-style machinery in May. Getting Karsou to sit for an interview is about as impressive as getting a Jehova's Witness, or even Ahmed Chalabi, to speak with you. This is journalism?
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Seth and Ira, fastidious as always, catch un-elected president Bush making a few errors in his speech of the other day, most notably "suggesting that in the absence of a peace agreement its is somehow inappropriate for Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria." Some people would of course disagree
. Not Like Father Like Sun though. We propose to go one further and resettle Judea and Samaria with Jebusites if not Canaanites. What with the recent advances in cloning
, and with the ceaseless forward march of the twin sciences of bioarcheology and forensic anthropology, some genetic material from these long subsumed and vanquished peoples must have been recovered for use in reconstructing their populations. We fervently await the reconstitution of these peoples as well as the satisfaction of their valid land claims.
We do get reader response after all, though most of it reads like overflow from Robert Fisk
. We receive this portion with gratitude, and we print of multiple copies of each angry missive on the same Zerkall paper that Nature Boy Bruce Kovner had those fancy bibles impressed upon. We also get the odd (meant in the most robust sense of the word) piece of fan mail. These are printed on paper of a lesser quality, soaked through with creosote, and then burned en masse behind the Like Father, Like Sun compound by Sparky, our overly-fond-of-fire copy boy. Brad Olson
has been known to boil the water for his customary Hot Toddy
over the flames on colder days.
The above two classes of correspondence, heavily weighted toward the former, constitute the bulk of mail received. Today we received a note from a person whose work was used in the Sun
and who was miffed that we put her/him to such harsh usage. That person convinced us of their fundamental decency as well as the possibility of suffering a dent in their wallet should their other customers find their supplier savaged so. In criticizing that person, we stated their work was so poor, it must have come from a relation of Bruce Kovner's - a charge of such severity that it should only be made after extensive consultation with the Mormons
. We were wrong to make it and we greatly regret maligning an innocent so badly. We believe our characterization of the piece featured by the Sun
to have been accurate, though study of their further works showed the piece in question was atypical of that person's output as a whole.
Monday, June 24, 2002
Nuttiness in the Sun
today, folks. Seth and Ira forego their precious animal stories and begin with a headline that reads "Bush Set To Back Provisional Palestinian State As Aide to Bin Laden Issues New Threats," as if the two events were connected at any substantive level. That the pair commit the possible realization of the aims of a nationalist political movement and the lunatic threats of an amorphous program of irrational terrorism to the page with the same stroke of the pen is telling