Sunday, March 13, 2011

Goodbye to All That


While I never actually admitted it, when I'd do my erstwhile long column on Sunday morning/afternoon, I'd poach from Frank Rich's column for ideas on where to go. Actually, "poach" perhaps is a too-larcenous word: Perhaps I should say I took cues from Rich's weekly Op-Ed and zig-zag off on my own lonely tangent ("The road less traveled"? I usually need a machete to go where I'm going.). And today, I'm about to do it again.

I was a relatively late newcomer to Frank Rich's genius. I didn't begin to read the Op-Eds until I became a political blogger over six years ago (rivaling Rich's 17 year-long tenure at the Times in blogger years). Later, when that venerable institution made the colossal blunder of trying to put their Op-Ed columnists behind the velvet rope of Times Select, thereby making them available only to paying subscribers, my interest in the Op-Ed, and Rich's canon, really took off. Back then we bloggers would vie to see who could poach Rich's byline first and get the coveted link (and maybe, Oh God, the Big Headline) on Buzzflash when it was still Buzzflash.

Rich didn't have the brutal elegance or write the perfumed poison pen belles letters of a James Wolcott nor did he turn into some tiresome nickname-slinging insider like Maureen Dowd. Somehow, over the course of nearly 20 years, he'd avoided espousing controversial, and bigoted, opinions that would end his career. It's to his enduring legacy that he never suffered the same fate as Helen Thomas.

Any newspaper is bigger than the sum of its parts but that hasn't been the case of the NY Times. They are no bigger than the sum of its parts, especially since Frank Rich has now passed into its hallowed Halls of Posterity. Rich, as one could expect, made a graceful exit, taking only one potshot at his former employer when he wrote in his swan song Op-Ed, "Neither it nor any other institution is infallible, as was illustrated most recently during the run-up to the Iraq invasion."

Indeed, not only had the NY Times dropped the ball on that, as it had during Vietnam, but also on 9/11, Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina (.pdf of the original article, not the silently-amended one in the Times' archives), etc. Judith Miller, in fact, was so embedded with the weapons inspectors and the Screaming Eagles that she was practically writing policy and was squarely in the middle of the Valerie Plame outing. And who that follows the Times can forget the fake articles of Jason Blair?

Not only that, to this day they're still censoring the late Molly Ivins because of a PG-13 joke about "chicken pluckers," hardly the grudge that one would expect for a newspaper branded for decades by conservative mouth breathers as being a bastion of liberal propaganda. Like Rich, Ivins, the ultimate liberal pundit, felt the Times was too claustrophobic and creatively stifling.

For 17 years virtually every Sunday, Rich produced hundreds of articles skewering Bush, the right wing and outrages that helplessly swam into his eagle-eyed ken. Making relevant connections between seemingly unrelated news items, Rich forced us to expand our outlook and to acknowledge the deeper connective tissue that drives our country and its policies. Rich was often at his best when he'd briefly slip into theater/movie critic mode and make some spot-on cultural reference such as the article almost exactly a year ago about Wall St. crooks running roughshod on Main Street and the late Stieg Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Four and a half years ago, when Obama still hadn't served out his third year in the US Senate, Rich had warned us that the junior senator from Illinois was "not a miracle elixir." Obama's two plus years in the White House has proven Rich to be a prophet in a par with Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce.

With Rich's departure after today's column, the NY Times has gotten a lot poorer. Maureen Dowd's never been the same since winning a Pulitzer for helping to almost take down the Clinton administration over a blow job. Bob Herbert's just tiresome. Paul Krugman's good for economic viewpoints but his acumen has been noticeably absent since the start of the Obama administration. And not too many of us are sufficiently intrigued with Middle Eastern/Asian affairs to much care what Nick Kristoff says about anything.

As the Times' Opinion Editorialist-at-Large, Rich spanned this great nation, its policies, its prejudices, its triumphs and its stupidities with sartorical humor and always controlled outrage. With a last tongue-in-cheek observation, Rich wrote, "That’s one reason America is so thrilling to write about." In other words, as the Chinese say, "May you live in interesting times."

The problem is, The Times isn't nearly as interesting now that Frank Rich has fled to New York Magazine.

4 Comments:

At March 13, 2011 at 3:04 PM, Blogger D. said...

He was originally the theater/drama critic at the Times; in fact I didn't know he'd gone to Op-Eds and politics until about five years ago.

Yes, that is a loss; and it means the bozos now outnumber the intelligent writers.

 
At March 13, 2011 at 4:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, More Ivinsque Bomb Mots!

 
At March 15, 2011 at 7:26 PM, Blogger Bukko Canukko said...

Rich and the other columnists behind the velvet rope back in 2006 was why I started reading your blog, when you were one of the more reliable pirate sources. And via you, the Rude Pundit and Teh General. And via them, many others. So I thank Frank, and you, for expanding my knowledge.

 
At March 15, 2011 at 11:25 PM, Anonymous Dee in NJ said...

Wow. The only thing left for me at the times now is Paul Krugman and Dick Cavett. Sad.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

All Time Classics

  • Our Worse Half: The 25 Most Embarrassing States.
  • The Missing Security Tapes From the World Trade Center.
  • It's a Blunderful Life.
  • The Civil War II
  • Sweet Jesus, I Hate America
  • Top Ten Conservative Books
  • I Am Mr. Ed
  • Glenn Beck: Racist, Hate Monger, Comedian
  • The Ten Worst Music Videos of all Time
  • Assclowns of the Week

  • Links to the first 33 Assclowns of the Week.
  • Links to Assclowns of the Week 38-63.
  • #99: Dr. Strangehate edition
  • #98: Get Bentghazi edition
  • #97: SNAPping Your Fingers at the Poor edition
  • #96: Treat or Treat, Kiss My Ass edition
  • #95: Monumental Stupidity double-sized edition
  • #94: House of 'Tards edition
  • #93: You Da Bomb! edition.
  • #92: Akin to a Fool edition.
  • #91: Aurora Moronealis edition.
  • #90: Keep Your Gubmint Hands Off My High Pre'mums and Deductibles! edition.
  • #89: Occupy the Catbird Seat/Thanksgiving edition.
  • #88: Heil Hitler edition.
  • #87: Let Sleeping Elephants Lie edition.
  • #86: the Maniacs edition.
  • #85: The Top 50 Assclowns of 2010 edition.
  • #(19)84: Midterm Madness edition.
  • #83: Spill, Baby, Spill! edition.
  • #82: Leave Corporations Alone, They’re People! edition.
  • #81: Hatin' on Haiti edition.
  • #80: Don't Get Your Panties in a Twist edition.
  • #79: Top 50 Assclowns of 2009 edition.
  • #78: Nattering Nabobs of Negativism edition.
  • #77: ...And Justice For Once edition.
  • #76: Reading Tea Leaves/Labor Day edition.
  • #75: Diamond Jubilee/Inaugural Edition
  • #74: Dropping the Crystal Ball Edition
  • #73: The Twelve Assclowns of Christmas Edition
  • #72: Trick or Treat Election Day Edition
  • #71: Grand Theft Autocrats Edition
  • #70: Soulless Corporations and the Politicians Who Love Them Edition
  • Top 10 LA Radio Shows That Are Rated Higher Than Rush Limbaugh's
  • Top 10 Reasons Operation American Spring Went Flat
  • Top Ten Facts of the MH370 Air Disaster
  • Top 10 Tips for GOP Congressmen Running Against Women
  • Top 10 Signs Walmart's Mistreating its Workers
  • Top 10 Diversions John McCain Found During Syria Hearing
  • Top 10 George Zimmerman Excuses for Speeding.
  • Top 10 Reasons Paula Deen Got Fired by the Food Network
  • Top Ten Ways Pope Francis is Deviating From Convention
  • Top 10 Reasons For the Pope's Resignation
  • Top 10 Emails Hacked From the Bush Family's Email Accounts
  • Top 10 Lies Told by Mitt Romney at the 2nd Debate.
  • Top 10 Examples of How Hard the Campaign Trail is on Ann D. Romney.
  • Top 10 Ways to Tell The Boston Red Sox Are Finished.
  • Top 10 Things Mitt May be Hiding in His Tax Returns.
  • Top 10 Events at the Romney Olympics.
  • Mitt Romney's Top 10 Wild & Crazy Moments.
  • Top Ten Reasons Why Dick Cheney Got a Heart Transplant.
  • Top 10 Facts About Tonight's New England/Denver Game.
  • My Top 10 Resolutions.
  • Top 10 Rejected Slogans of the Romney Campaign.
  • Top 10 Reasons Herman Cain Suspended His Campaign.
  • Top 10 Trending Topics on Twitter During #OWS Eviction.
  • Top 10 Herman Cain Pickup Lines.
  • Top 10 Changes Since Anthony Weiner Decided to Resign.
  • Top 10 Inaccuracies re bin Laden's Death.
  • Top 10 Ways to Prevent a TSA Patdown.
  • Top Ten Things Not to Say When You're Pulled Over.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why Donald Trump Bowed Out of the Presidential Race.
  • Top 10 Ways Evangelicals Will Prepare for the Rapture II.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Today's Parliament Inquiry into News Corp.
  • Top 10 Reasons Why There Was No Vote on the Debt Ceiling Last Night.
  • Top 10 Revelations in Dick Cheney's Upcoming Memoir.
  • Top Ten Ways Americans Will Observe the 10th Anniversary of 9/11.
  • Top Ten Advances in Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia.
  • Top Ten Inaccuracies in Bill O'Reilly's Book About Lincoln.
  • Top Ten Suggestions From the Cat Food Commission.
  • Top Ten Worst Moments in George W. Bush's Presidency.
  • Top Ten Facts in George W. Bush's Memoir.
  • Top Ten Reasons Terry Jones Postponed His Koran Burning
  • Top 10 Causes for Dick Cheney's Congestive Heart Failure
  • Top Ten Ways That Jan Brewer Will Celebrate Cinco de Mayo
  • Top Ten Demands in Sarah Palin's Contract
  • Top Ten Whoppers in Karl Rove's New Book
  • Top 10 Items Left Behind in Rush Limbaugh's Apartment
  • Top Ten Things Barack Obama said to Rush Limbaugh in the Hospital
  • Top Ten Bizarre Promos Offered by the New Jersey Nets
  • Top 10 Bush Executive Orders Labor Wants President Obama to Repeal
  • George W. Bush's Top Ten Lesser Achievements
  • Boolean Bozoism

  • #19
  • #18
  • #17
  • #16
  • #15
  • #14
  • #13
  • #11
  • #10
  • Kindle in the Wind, my dedicated site for my novels.
  • Christwire.org: Conservative Values for an Unsaved World.
  • Esquire's Charles Pierce.
  • Brilliant @ Breakfast.
  • The Burning Platform.
  • The Rant.
  • Mock, Paper, Scissors.
  • James Petras.
  • Towle Road.
  • Matt Taibbi's blog.
  • Avedon's Sideshow (the new site).
  • At Largely, Larisa Alexandrovna's place.
  • The Daily Howler.
  • The DCist.
  • Greg Palast.
  • Jon Swift. RIP, Al.
  • God is For Suckers.
  • Think Progress.
  • Hullabaloo, Digby's place.
  • The General.
  • The Rude Pundit.
  • Driftglass.
  • Bildung Blog, some of the funniest and sharpest captions in the b'sphere.
  • The Carpetbagger Report.
  • Newshounds.
  • Sadly, No!
  • William Grigg, a great find.
  • Oliver Willis, "Like Kryptonite to Stupid."
  • Brad Blog.
  • Fark.
  • Down With Tyranny!, Howie Klein's blog.
  • Wayne's World. Party time! Excellent!
  • Busted Knuckles, aka Ornery Bastard.
  • Mills River Progressive.
  • Right Wing Watch.
  • Earthbond Misfit.
  • Anosognosia.
  • Utah Savage.
  • Echidne of the Snakes.
  • They Gave Us a Republic.
  • The Gawker.
  • Outtake Online, Emmy-winner Charlotte Robinson's site.
  • The artist formerly known as Politits. The politics are still liberal.
  • Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
  • No More Mr. Nice Blog.
  • Head On Radio Network, Bob Kincaid.
  • Spocko's Brain.
  • Pandagon.
  • Slackivist.
  • The Randi Rhodes Show.
  • WTF Is It Now?
  • No Blood For Hubris.
  • Politickybitch (Nunya).
  • Lydia Cornell, a very smart and accomplished lady.
  • Roger Ailes (the good one.)
  • Michael's Moore's official website.
  • BlondeSense.
  • The Smirking Chimp.
  • Hammer of the Blogs.
  • Blue Gal's Blog.
  • Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.
  • Argville.
  • Existentialist Cowboy.
  • The Progressive.
  • The Nation.
  • Mother Jones.
  • Vanity Fair.
  • Salon.com.
  • Raw Story.
  • Watching America.
  • Citizens For Legitimate Government.
  • News Finder.
  • Newsy.com, comparative, nonpartisan analysis of the media.
  • Indy Media Center.
  • Urban Dictionary.
  • Lexis News.
  • Military Religious Freedom. What Mikey Weinstein has found will make your head explode.
  • McClatchy Newspapers.
  • The New Yorker.
  • Bloggingheads TV, political vlogging.
  • The Pensito Review.
  • Find Articles.com, the next-best thing to Nexis.
  • Altweeklies, for the news you won't get just anywhere.
  • The Smirking Chimp
  • Don Emmerich's Peace Blog
  • The Talented Cafe, a resource for writers and artists.
  • Wikileaks.
  • The Peoples' Voice.
  • Dictionary.com.
  • CIA World Fact Book.
  • IP address locator.
  • Tom Tomorrow's hilarious strip.
  • Babelfish, an instant, online translator. I love to translate Ann Coulter's site into German.
  • Newsmeat: Find out who's donating to whom.
  • Wikipedia, an invaluable research tool.
  • Uncyclopedia.
  • anysoldier.com
  • Icasualties
  • Free Press
  • YouTube
  • The Bone Bridge.
  • Powered by Blogger

    http://DeeperLeft.com