Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Today's Times headline: Car bombs may lead to cuts in life expectancy

Don't you love the New York Times? And the pompous, self-important way it advertises itself? As if you'll grow a new brain if you subscribe. I love that line in their TV ad when an astonished Yuppie woman exclaims, "The news of the world, brought right to my door!" Yes, Jessica, it's called a paper route. " ("Really?! I thought this spaceship dropped my paper from the ionosphere.")

But while the Times thinks of itself as a news organ of cosmic significance, giving the clueless masses the real scoop, what it really is, is an in-house newsletter for the ruling class. A way for Ivy-educated aristos to send love letters to each other while implicitly endorsing the Darwinist crony capitalism they call the "free market." (This is true of the publishing world in general, especially of tonier publications such as The New Yorker, in almost every article of which you can expect to see a sentence like this: "I know [subject of glorifying profile] from our days at [Harvard][Yale][the Council on Foreign Relations]." Often, they'll preface this with the words: "Full Disclosure." No shit, Sherlock.) So it's no wonder why they all took a pass on the Iraq invasion.

The Times people -- I'm including the readers, some of which can only aspire to the upper class -- have concocted their own shimmering parallel universe that bears only the faintest resemblance to what I'll call "prole world." They remain hermetically protected from the consequences of cataclysmic decisions being made by a handful of old, vampiric, mostly white men, but assuage what pangs of conscience they still retain by say, traveling to a Third World country and writing about it. Illegal war? Capitalist exploitation of sweatshop labor? Soul-destroying consumerism? Storm the op-ed pages! "What's happening in Darfur is such a tragedy. It's so terrible that it may win me a Pulitzer!!"

This drift out of Earth's orbit also explains the plethora of “Duh!” headlines that use convoluted, pseudo-elevated language to describe facts that are transparently obvious to a four-year-old. Like: “Car Bombs May Lead to Cuts in Life Expectancy.”

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