Cheap Laughs: A Weekly Review of the NY Times

Mark Nuckols
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Posted: Jan 24, 2015 12:01 AM
Cheap Laughs: A Weekly Review of the NY Times

I have been a loyal reader of the New York Times for decades, and I rely upon The Grey Lady for the news. Although it is the flagship paper of American Liberalism, it is also the paper of record, and at least in their international reporting their reporters usually get the facts straight. But the editorial pages of the Times are an entirely different story. I read the op-eds neither for edification nor for enlightenment (as their authors surely expect I should) but rather for cheap laughs. And in that spirit I want to offer Townhall readers a weekly review of the most ridiculous nonsense and even outright BS that the Times deems to publish in its august pages.

Literally, when I read most of the NYT house op-ed writers, I find myself laughing out loud, as in “WTF? How can someone really write something this inane and idiotic?" It’s a guilty little pleasure of mine, but not one I waste a lot of time on. Of course, the NYT publishes writers who are almost always predictably liberal and who reliably subscribe to Eastern Establishment Conventional Wisdom. But if you read regularly enough, you realize very quickly that their writers are almost always saying the same thing, over and over--literally. And so once you read the first paragraph of a column, you can pretty much recite the rest of the piece from memory.

Paul Krugman is the Princeton economist who is the darling of the Left. Krugman is an ultra-orthodox Keynesian liberal who has unlimited faith in the blessing of government spending and easy money. And he is a serial plagiarist of his own op-ed pieces. For the last seven years, almost every column he’s written has been devoted to one theme and one theme only: Austerity Doesn’t Work, Deficit Spending Does. And he shamelessly copies over and over and over not only the same argument, but even the same words, practically verbatim. Professor Krugman, I respect the fact you got a Nobel, but really, I got your point after about five columns. Isn’t 300 plus a bit much to make the same point?

Charles Blow also has one column that he writes over and over: Life Is Unfair For Black People in America. He is also fond of referring to his long suffering family and his hardscrabble youth back in the bayous of Louisiana. For example, this week his column is devoted to the pressing problems of his hometown, population 1000, and a potential environmental risk posed by a nearby defunct ammo dump being decommissioned by the Army. And Blow’s major complaint: it’s “unfair” that the Army located a large ammo dump in rural Louisiana instead of in Manhattan or Seattle. Sure, they should have put it somewhere heavily populated, preferably by rich white people or mean ole’ corporations, just to be “fair.”

Maureen Dowd also has basically one column, which is "Look How Clever I Am." She sees her self-anointed task as skewering the powerful in DC and NYC, and she has two time-worn techniques for doing so. One is to imagine the interior thoughts of, say, John Boehner. And predictably enough, her version of what John Boehner really thinks makes him look like a pompous and vain fool. Her other technique is to combine literary allusions, usually to Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and truly awful puns to show off her erudition. She is so busy trying to mock other people she doesn’t realize just how pompous, vain and foolish she sounds.

The Times also publishes some real gems from guest columnists, like the memorable piece by Fatina Abdrabboh, a student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. And Fatina’s urgent op-ed message to the World? When working out in the Harvard gym, she felt people were looking at her funny because she was wearing a hijab while running on the treadmill. During her workout, she dropped her keys on the floor. But then Al Gore, also working out that day, bent over and picked up her keys, and thus restored her faith in America. Really, you can’t make this stuff up.

Almost all NYT columnists are died-in-the-wool liberals. The lonely exception is David Brooks, who is an interesting writer, but I am not sure someone who openly admires and likes Obama is representative of the conservative world view. Really, for the NYT, a “conservative” is someone like Brooks who likes Obama but wishes Obama’s policies were a little less liberal or left radical. So much for diversity of opinion.

So I hope to give you a weekly round-up highlighting the most outrageous falsehoods, most ignorant assertions, and the most hilarious non sequiturs from the NY Times op-ed pages. That way you can have a few cheap laughs, without actually having to endure reading two full pages of mind-bendingly dreary blather every day.