Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The New York Whines

So my Pops always goes to get a copy of the New York Times every Sunday and reads the whole thing. Yes, my ultra-conservative father reads a newspaper I think is pretty much inconsequential, and spends hours trying to tell me what the NYT writers and editors think they need to publish today.

So, Sunday, he showed me a "telling" piece written by some "poet" from New Orleans. (FYI, to any bloody nose liberal and Blue Sky Coffee alum like me, alarm bells start ringing when those particular words are strung together...) This dude, a refugee from communist Romania, has decided that he will declare New Orleans dead and an "exquisite corpse" because the stuff that makes it inhabitable to folks like him will now go away. He makes this declaration from Baton Rouge.

Meanwhile, my favorite new commentator GulfSails, who is still working rescue boats in New Orleans had this choice response. I think everyone should read it. Most especially the editors up at the New York Whines.

Next time I'm in New Orleans, I am buying this cat a drink.


patsbrother said...

Patrick, after all the times you've called me naive it seems I now I get to return the favor in print. Two thoughts:

You say the New York Times is "inconsequential"? Disagree with its editorial staff and writers all you want, point to every factual misrepresentation in its old-ass history, the Times is not inconsequential. It reaches, what, 8 MILLION people everyday? I doubt anyone buys a daily coffee-table book; chances are good those people read some of it. Also, the sheer fact that your father, in St Simons Island, reads it religiously and talks about it at length goes against your characterization of it as "inconsequential". Media's primary function (besides making money, which the Times shistered a huge chunk of away from NYC recently), is to inform and influence. It does both, and the reason it annoys you so much that you call it "inconsequential" is it does it in spades.

Second, you have been living on the coast far too long, or maybe in la-la blogland (of which, it seems, I am now a part). How can I tell? You refer to Ed as "my ultra-conservative father". Ed, gun control-supporting, sandals wearing, Will&Grace watching, "Dammit, Kevin, everyone knows Adam and Eve is just a parable", "I don't care who you bring home, as long as she's pretty", Armstrong? You have spoken to the man, haven't you? Just because he says gee-tar, thinks butt sex is gross, and pretends to regret sending us up here to liberal Athens does not mean he's "ultra-conservative". Ultra-conservatives DO NOT vote for presidential nominees from THREE DIFFERENT parties in four elections. Your father is the swing voting, middle-of-the-road American that AVERAGE conservatives and liberals alike fall over themselves to get to. I think you should be more worried at how easy it is for a middle-of-the-road American to read the drivel of one slack-ass poet and believe the idiot is enough of a representative of the liberal mindset (which is what I believe you were getting at) to make it a talking point with his ultra-liberal/not-that-liberal son.

nikka said...

Since the original article isn’t linked by GulfSails or Pat, there’s the link. If you haven’t got one already, you’ll need to register for a free New York Times membership.

The most irritating part is that Codrescu pretends to speak for the entire artistic community of New Orleans. I'm curious, did he interview every writer, musician, visual artist, performance artist, actor, director, etc.; or did he simply tap into some kind of artistic hive mind (that all creative people apparently share) to get this information?

And as to the artistic community going "back to where they came from"... bullshit. They came from New Orleans, whether or not they were born there. For many of them New Orleans is home. Who the hell is this guy to say otherwise?

ruby booth said...

Codrescu is talking through his hat. I don't know why so many poets think they have to be fatalistic to be profound.

If he actually read the NYTimes instead of just blathering to its reporters, he'd have known that the musicians, at least, are coming back. Not just Fats Domino, either.

Best quote in this entire mess is Glen Andrews, a jazz trombonist evacuated from New Orleans to the Houston Astrodome, telling the very same New York Times: "I'm going home even if it comes down to walking to New Orleans ... I'm going to rebuild even if I have to hold a shovel and a horn at the same time."

Patrick Armstrong said...

To respond to the intangibles.

Bro, the NYT(W) reaches 8 million people in a nation of close 278 million. And 2 million of those cats are college students who are forced to buy a 'subscription' that sit idly in the halls of places like Baldwin Hall at the UGA campus. I know, mine is still there. (When I lived in the Promised Land in Athens, a roommate had a subscription, which really helped when I eventually recycled 1.03 TONs of unread newsprint over the course of three years...) And the only time I hear about it is when the editorial staff does something silly, like interview a Romanian on what's going to happen to New Orleans.

Maybe I was overstating things a bit, and the NYT(W) has a much deeper influence on Americans as a whole. I'll start asking everyone I run into during the course of a week when the last time they read a copy or thought about that paper. I think the number is going to be very, very low outside the upper middle class.

(Anyone wishing to respond to that poll, hit up on email)

Maybe, instead of saying "inconsequential" I should have said, "overrated."

I guess that means you "win." Score one for UGA law.

Meredith said...

"Contrary to popular New York myth, the Times is not omniscient."

That quote makes me laugh every time.

"It's funny cause it's sad."

That one too. Can anyone guess where they're from?

And as to the whole "New Orleans is dead, all the artists are gone. . . " Oh hush up, fools. You can stay gone. The ones who loved the city will be back to make it even more beautiful, and some of us just haven’t made it down there yet.