It may sometimes seem like women face an impossible task: Whether it’s motherhood, professional life or just walking down the street, ladies are vulnerable to the conflicting demands and judgmental expectations of society. A woman is liable to be judged on tiny details — of speech, behavior, even the clothes she wears — and must negotiate the conflicting dangers of being labeled too butch or too feminine, too assertive or too timid, too prudish or too sexy.
But if you think that sounds hard, it’s nothing compared to what New York Times writers have to deal with. Just look at the first sentence of Ruth La Ferla’s article “Women Enjoy the Cool Comfort of Summer Dresses“: “Trends come and go, but the dress persists, secure in its status as a metaphor.”
Continue reading “What Not to Wear: From Hot-Pants Trashy to Pinafore Classy, the New York Times Way!”
Hello to all my new readers from Balloon Juice and elsewhere! Now that my long absence from the ‘net is over, and I have fully purged all my feelings about David Brooks’s back catalogue, I will be writing lots of fresh posts about everything that’s new and annoying in my daily paper.
Also, remember the IHateNYT illustrator? He hasn’t disappeared, but has been struggling with computer issues in several months(!). Maybe the computer offending will be fixed soon? Expect more great illustrations at an unknown date and time… probably just days, weeks or months from now… perhaps when you least expect it!
In the meantime, I’m curious to know what you, the reader, would like to read more about. The Vows section? Travel? Real Estate (somebody told me this was a great section to read; could never quite bring myself to do it)? Thomas Friedman? Ross Douthat? Dippin’ Dots as the latest trendy dessert? The impending hipness of the Finger Lakes region? The Ombudsman? Or just some more crap about sexting? Let me know in the comments, on the Facebook page, or on the new Twitter feed!
“The problem is it’s… I can’t think of a word to describe it. It’s… well, bizarre doesn’t even come close. Senseless doesn’t get close. I can’t identify a reason why it was written. I can’t figure out what inspired Brooks to write it, well, other than he had to write something. I don’t know who he expected to read it and comprehend it. I don’t even know how he expected the editors at the New York Times to actually publish it…. There is nothing that broaches sanity that explains this piece. There is literally no reason for it. The who, why, when, where, what, there isn’t any of that in it. The relevance to anything, it’s not.”
— Description of a David Brooks column by… Rush Limbaugh?!
Rush was describing one of Brooks’s occasional forays into film criticism (“The Flock Comedies“). But his critiques could apply equally to any Brooks column. Truly, as he says, there is nothing that broaches sanity that explains anything in his oeuvre, there’s no reason for it, and the relevance to anything, it’s not. These comments find Limbaugh in a strangely reasonable mode, conveying the reaction of a sane, intelligent reader on encountering a tissue of banality. In oxycontin, veritas.
But Rush’s opiate-addled ramblings, while true, aren’t specific enough. There are many flavors of inane claptrap, many ways to broach sanity and reduce people to indignant sentence fragments. In his prolific career, Brooks has discovered them all. Below, I provide a taxonomy.
Continue reading “The 10 Worst Things About David Brooks: David Brooks is an Idiot, Part II”