Sunday, August 15, 2010

Calling Gray Lady "A Slut, Whoring After Youth," Essayist Joseph Epstein Cancels NYT Subscription After Nearly 50 Years.

At the age of 73, the famous writer/editor Joseph Epstein has gone public to declare that he will never read the NYT again -- after subscribing daily for almost 50 years to the paper.

Under the headline "Adios, Gray Lady," Epstein has taken to the pages of the conservative Weekly Standard to declare that he has "had it with the old broad."

Epstein -- an emeritus lecturer of English at Northwestern who has written 18 books, and for years served as editor in chief of The American Scholar, the magazine of Phi Beta Kappa -- says he once considered the NYT part of his "morning mental hygiene."

"But the Gray Lady is far from the grande dame she once was," Epstein declared. "For years now she has been going heavy on the rouge, lipstick, and eyeliner, using a push-up bra, and gadding about in stiletto heels. She’s become a bit—perhaps more than a bit—of a slut, whoring after youth through pretending to be with-it. I’ve had it with the old broad; after nearly 50 years together, I’ve determined to cut her loose."

Epstein's reasons have mostly to do with changes in the paper that he contends have weakened the product -- an emphasis on irrelevant feature stories on page one that don't deliver actual news.

Some of Epstein's specific complaints:

--"I long ago ceased reading the newspaper’s letters section in the hope of finding a man or woman after my own heart."

--"With the exception of David Brooks, who allows that his general position is slightly to the right of center but who is not otherwise locked into a Pavlovian political response, I find no need to read any of the Times’s regular columnists."

--"Every so often I check to remind myself that Maureen Dowd isn’t amusing, though she is an improvement, I suppose, over the termagantial Anna Quindlen, whom I used to read with the trepidation of a drunken husband mounting the stairs knowing his wife awaits with a rolling pin."

--"I’d sooner read the fine print in my insurance policies than the paper’s perfectly predictable editorials. Laughter, an elegant phrase, a surprising sentiment—the New York Times op-ed and editorial pages are the last place to look for any of these things."

Epstein declares that the "always dull" NYT Magazine is now dull "on the side of erzatz hipness." And for decades, he says, The NYT Book Review "has been devoted to reinforcing received (and mostly wrong) literary opinions and doing so in impressively undistinguished prose."

But wait, there's more: He attacks Frank Rich as "the liberal's Glenn Beck," and the Styles Section for its "forced gaity." Gaity, indeed!

The professor reserves some specific scorn for "The End of Forgetting," the recent NYT Magazine cover story by Jeffrey Rosen on Internet privacy.

"The article’s last sentence instructed that 'we need to learn new forms of empathy, new ways of defining ourselves without reference to what others say about us and new ways of forgiving one another for the digital trails that will follow us forever,' Epstein recalled. "Yes, I thought, and wet birds never fly at night."

We've emailed Epstein for further comment on his decision, and will update when we hear from him. He should have some spare time tomorrow morning.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

He's got it pretty much right. He left out how the public editor's been on the job for something like two months and still hasn't produced a column.

Anonymous said...

I can't match Epstein's longevity with the Times. I've been reading it regularly for only 30 years or so. In that time, I can't begin to recall all the people who have said or written that the paper was so much worse than it was and heading faster downhill. The truth is the paper is better than it ever was. Don't rely on jaded memory. Go back and read some editions from the '60s and '70s. Check the front-page story selection, seek out some of the old revered bylines. I can almost guarantee that you'll be amazed.

Anonymous said...

Epstein is over-selling his argument, but there's truth to it. Stories now appear in the Times that reporters wouldn't have even dared to pitch ten years ago.

Theophylact said...

And you damn kids get off my lawn!

Anonymous IV said...

Anonymous 2:

The issue of whether the paper is "better than it ever was" is not relevant.

The issue (I suspect) most of the pickers have is that the Times simply doesn't seem sane anymore.

An example of what I mean:

Judith Warner wrote a piece the other day about how the recession is bringing families together, how some families are giving up tennis lessons and foreign-language camp for trips to the beach and outings to the public library.

Think about the level of insanity that must be going on at the Times for that to get all the way from writer to public. Tennis lessons for Mom? Kids at language camp? Warner's living in a fantasy world. All that's missing is the plucky housekeeper, the six kids and the husband who's an architect.

It's a small example, but there are many others. And every time I see the Times running an article about how much house you can buy for $800,000 (do the math yourself on what the mortgage payment on that would have to be) near an article about someone else who has lost everything because the economy has collapsed, I get a little more disgusted with the paper of record because only crazy people would fail to understand the inappropriateness of what they're doing.

Patrick said...

I went back to my childhood neighborhood recently and discovered that some idiots had changed it, ruining my nostalgic trip. I think Mr. Epstein is experiencing the same emotion. ALL newspapers carry more "trivia" content these days, it's part of how they survive. The more depressing prospect is a Times that had not changed with the times. This is a column about Mr. Epstein growing old, not the NYT growing whorish.

And Anonymous IV: America is increasingly a country of dramatically polarized standards of living - and an effective way to display that is to juxtapose an article on a family of economic struggles with one on an $800k house. You may not want to know about an $800k house, but I do (and not because I want to live in one.)

Anonymous said...

Patrick, you miss the point almost entirely. If the Times "juxtaposed" one article on $800,000 houses with one article on some woman who worked her whole life and is now about to become a bag lady, that would be terrific. The Times does not do that. The Times runs (at a guess) at least 10 stories of wealth and overconsumption for every story of the reality of going hungry, losing your housing, etc.

What the Times does is akin to the old once-a-year food drive so that everyone can feel good about themselves while shoveling in the mashed potatoes and turkey. "Oh, I'm a good person. I gave a can of creamed corn and some lima beans to the local food drive." And I voted against that sales tax increase. They'd just waste the money on social services.

Anonymous said...

Oh, you must mean like Bob Herbert’s passionate and finely written columns or stories like these from the past few weeks: “More Workers Face Pay Cuts, Not Furloughs”; “99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation”; and “Frustration and Despair as Job Search Drags On.”

If you're going to criticize the paper, you probably should at least read it.

Anonymous said...

The Gray Lady pisses on your phi beta kappa.

Only thing it ever did for HER was delay her orgasm. Teach her to be a dumb quack.

Epstein got this far by tagging on to others' genuine output, and by flicking off the potentiality of youth like dandruff on a rotting corpse.

He's another counter-cultural wanker whose confuses his morning ejaculate with his daughter's mental emancipation. You like her deaf and mute or ducktaped and tucked away, like a proper Grand gathering dust while you jerk to real sluts? Eh?

We can wait for ya to McFade, or make your obit juicier than needed and ahead of schedu, what say ya Mofo? Your eyes wide enough to read this, or you need a lapboi to enunciate for ya?

What does Pavlov have to do with your enlarged dick? You don't like the new cues to squirt? Calm down, and tell us what it takes, exactly what you're used to, an old man's sperm is a starving Dog's breakfast.

Anonymous said...

He needs to read:"No, No Daddy, No" to backfire and let his seed gush forth... Absent that, he needs to identify with a protagonist saying: "Bitch, slut, ho, etc..." to release the accumulated boys sharing the love through his thin tight canal out his pipe and onto the cereal bowl. Come on Gray Lady, how do you feel about taking it like a little girl for Average Jo to stay pacified. Tell him what you'd do for him. Besides ignoring his needs, crushing his hairy balls, divorcing his fat ass, invoking children's need to not be disappointed with the system's latter day phallus.

Hang in there, jojo, your next fuck is on the way, so long as your heart beats and your blood pressure is within range, and the viagra tablet streaming, someone'll work you to your grave.

Anonymous said...

He might be rooting for more language about why the wifi should be kept a potato, her fat tube of a midriff, pathetic hair routine, nagging, thinking she's sexy when she's an angry McDaisy, anything but writing about McFatwas, and counterfeit dubaibuck$, or worse, women who are Fluent, who understand the understatement and who didn't need to want to have to McSpread it for McDaddy Nobody to become masters of their own and to own their own pleasure, that turns off McProf and undermines his own scoring system for his paying recruits....

Cancel my membership, and and watch what happens to yours.

Anonymous said...

Feel free to twitch to these unprovable insinuations, as you default on your mcSharia family sphere, your rotary laundered action potential, your hackjob of a career, her currywurst hamstrings and your independent mortgage condition.

Wha?

Francesca said...

Maybe he's jaded after a lifetime of signaling that he's waiting for his grandkids to be sent to be rited, while Dr. DSM makes sure their remembrance of it is discredited, so his bank account reaps the Garden's benefits. OR Maybe he's like huh? I wuz just dissecting the mechanics and fantastics of arousal...

Kate said...

He lost me at calling Frank Rich "the liberals' Glenn Beck". One of these men is a lunatic who makes up fantastical theories based in nothing but his own bigotry. The other is an elegant writer whose columns are based in facts which are easily verifiable given his article's copious links to other sources.

Connie Boyd said...

Epstein is a sexist old asshole.

Anonymous said...

NYT SUCKS. ITS JUST A PROPAGANDA ARM OF THE DISGUSTING FASCIST REGIME OF THE MODERN "USA".