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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"The New York Times is looking to add to its list of 132 Pulitzer Prizes — by far the most of any news organization — when the 2022 recipients for journalism are announced on Monday. Yet the war in Ukraine..."

"... has renewed questions of whether the Times should return a Pulitzer awarded 90 years ago for work by Walter Duranty, its charismatic chief correspondent in the Soviet Union. 'He is the personification of evil in journalism," says Oksana Piaseckyj, a Ukrainian-American activist who came to the U.S. as a child refugee in 1950. She is among the advocates for the return of the award. 'We think he was like the originator of fake news.'"

NPR reports.

This is a stick-up.

I'm reading "Like Marie Antoinette," a book review written by Mario Puzo in 1968 and published in the NYT. The book under review is "The Jeweler’s Eye," by William F. Buckley Jr. 

There are a lot of things I want to blog about this morning, so why am back in 1968? It's because of the first thing I wrote about this morning, the NYT obituary for Kathy Boudin. I was struck by the sentence, "During the stickup, the gunmen killed a security guard, Peter Paige." Stickup? That strikes me as gangster slang, lacking the formality I would expect from the NYT in the account of this event that took place 4 decades ago.

Does the NYT generally use "stickup" to describe serious matters? I searched its archive, and the Mario Puzo article caught my attention:

What gives this book a sort of special charm is that Buckley, like Marie Antoinette before him, is more innocent than malicious. His philosophy may be pure but it is surely impractical. Would a Negro fight in Vietnam for the freedoms granted him by the state of Mississippi? Would anybody, if Mr. Hunt* has all the money, fight Russia and Red China to save Mr. Hunt's money and none of their own? Sure they should, as good Buckley Americans. But would they? Buckley is as royally condescending to his betters as he is to peasantry. He derides Arthur Schlesinger for talking such nonsense as that the best defense against Communism may be the social welfare state. Again this is surely innocence at work. He doesn't quite get Schlesinger's drift, which is, obviously, that when a force stronger than yourself says, "Your money or your life," you hand over the money, and if you're really smart you hand over some of your money before anybody gets tough about it. It would [seem] unnecessary to simplify in such a fashion, but Buckley still thinks he is being begged for a handout; Schlesinger knows it's a stick-up. I do not mean to cast aspersions on the welfare state with this analogy; after all, a stick-up within the legal framework of our society -- via the vote, etc. -- is the last word in exercising individual freedom.

It's a gangster word, and Puzo knew it. He had "a forthcoming book on the Mafia," it says. This book, with the familiar title, "The Godfather," came out in 1969. 

"Stickup" makes the Brink's robbery seem like a tawdry street crime. I would see it as heartless murder and part of a commitment to terrorism. But those who were committed to the values of the Weather Underground might object to "stickup" because they had such grand goals. To take Schlesinger's idea seriously, it was something akin to tax collection.

* Mr. Hunt was H.L. Hunt. He one of the richest men in the world (with something like $2 billion). As you can tell by the "Mr. Hunt," Puzo had already referred to Hunt:

In another essay, "Let the Rich Alone," [Buckley] argues that billionaires like H. L. Hunt should be allowed to make as much money as they please. Ten billion? Twenty billion? It doesn't matter, just let the poor guy alone. But then Buckley whirls around and says that college students should not be allowed to invite Communist speakers to address them.

"Asked about his high points as [NYT] executive editor, Baquet cited the [Harvey] Weinstein investigation and the Pulitzer-winning 1619 Project."

"Both efforts, said Baquet in an interview, became 'bigger than newspaper stories. They changed the whole conversation'.... Another high point for Baquet was the [Bill] O’Reilly exposé.... O’Reilly was dethroned as king of cable news.... Routine political coverage in Baquet’s Times occasionally showered undue respectability upon false and authoritarian pro-Trump talking points.... A Harvard study found that coverage in the final months of the 2016 campaign was a feast of false equivalency in which Trump’s controversies received slightly less attention than Hillary Clinton’s controversies...."

Writes Erik Wemple in "Dean Baquet’s hands-on Times run is coming to a close" (WaPo).

"Quiz: How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change? See how your food choices compare with those of other Americans."

I took that NYT "quiz":


It was hard to look at their choices and pick what was "most similar" to what I ate yesterday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, especially since I don't eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but also since none of the choices were much like what I eat. If I ate 3 meals a day of the sort that they are displaying, I think I would gain a pound a week.

ADDED: The very next article I read in the NYT was "Feeling the Squeeze? How to Be a Thrifty Traveler as Prices Soar/Inflation is here and it’s wreaking havoc on travel budgets. Our Frugal Traveler columnist on how to strategize in a world of rising prices." 

Where's the guilt-inducing quiz about the contribution to climate change for this one? There isn't even a passing mention of climate change, even though the obvious "thrifty" answer for folks "feeling the squeeze" is to go nowhere. The food quiz pushes you to give up meat. 

The food quiz pushes you to give up meat. Why not give up travel? Then it won't "wreak havoc" on your budget and — what should be more important within the NYT system of virtue — it won't wreak havoc on the climate.

But how could the NYT give up promoting travel? All those articles and ads. I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy, not expecting anything to change. Other than the climate.

"Joe brings impeccable news judgment, a sophisticated understanding of the forces shaping the world and a long track record of helping journalists produce their most ambitious and courageous work."

Says A.G. Sulzberger, the publisher of The New York Times, quoted in "Joe Kahn Is Named Next Executive Editor of The New York Times" (NYT). 

Mr. Kahn, 57, currently the No. 2-ranking editor at The Times, will take on one of the most powerful positions in American media and the global news business. He is to succeed Dean Baquet, whose eight-year tenure is expected to conclude in June... 

Mr. Kahn has in recent years spearheaded the paper’s efforts to re-engineer its newsroom for the speed and agility required of modern media. He dismantled the print-focused copy desk, expanded the use of real-time news updates and emphasized visual journalism as much as the written word.... 

At the same time, The Times is grappling with shifting views about the role of independent journalism in a society divided by harsh debates over political ideology and cultural identity. Mr. Kahn said securing the public’s trust “in a time of polarization and partisanship” was among his top priorities....

I've been relying on the NYT for longer than Joe Kahn has been alive, and I have never seen anywhere better to go to follow the news and the culture. I criticize what I find in the NYT. That's the #1 thing I do on this blog, but I dearly hope for it to be as good as possible, and I wish Joe Kahn the very best.

"This crackling revival of 'American Buffalo' highlights by contrast the devolution of Mamet’s craft that coincided with the shift in his worldview, from red-diaper baby to apologist for billionaires."

"How could the man who showed us how the powerless are crushed by the lessons of the powerful now argue, both in plays and on television, that the problem flows in the other direction?"

From the NYT review of the current Broadway revival of "American Buffalo" — "Review: In ‘American Buffalo,’ Grift Is the Coin of the Realm/Sam Rockwell, Laurence Fishburne and Darren Criss star in an electric revival of the David Mamet play about capitalism in a junk shop." 

Here's the second-highest-rated comment over there: "No no no. I am happy to cancel this bit of culture out of my life. I will not reward this man. His insanity is detrimental to society at large. My choice. He is the epitome of a ruined legacy." 

And here's something from David Mamet's new book "Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of a Free Lunch":

In 1977 we held the opening night party... for my play American Buffalo. It starred Bob Duvall, Kenny McMillan, and John Savage, and it was some show. 

Brilliant opening night. The cast went to Sardi’s for the traditional party and the reading of the reviews. One after another came in and was a rave. But the mood was restrained, and my father asked why. 

“Well,” the producers explained, “the only one which counts is that of The New York Times.” 

“Hold on,” my dad said, “this one review could close the show?” 

And the producers nodded sadly....

"Today, New York Times honcho Dean Baquet ordered a company-wide 'reset' in how his staff should think about Twitter...."

"Most of the people who work for him are very bad at being on Twitter, and their tweets truly are just not good. And then their bosses are so obsessed with Twitter too, and on edge about it. A cycle of humiliation ensues. They spend all that money on editors and then people just write stuff willy-nilly online? Whatever for?! Twitter looms prominently for journalists because it’s how they get jobs, distribute their work, and make friends. Twitter also helps journalists feel and be seen inside a system that will otherwise make them feel invisible.... Reporters confuse their Twitter audience for the actual world. For obvious reasons (Caucasity), most of these reporters are on the joyless, scold-y White Twitter, which is the opposite of all this.... There’s a meme, certainly popular inside the Times, that Twitter instills some kind of self-feeding censorship. Baquet might hate this most of all; he despises fearfulness."

Writes Choire Sicha in "Journalism’s Twitter Problem Is the Journalists" (NY Magazine).

Does Sicha really know Baquet's motive? Here's more about Baquet's memo at The Hill. The memo made Twitter and other social media optional, and the reason given was that journalists were relying "too much on Twitter as a reporting and feedback tool" and creating "echo chambers." It said those who do stay on Twitter ought to "meaningfully reduce" the time they spend there.

There's also the question of disparate impact: If women are more likely to be harassed on social media — or even if they just worry that the are — then a requirement (or near-requirement) — to tweet is something management might want to avoid. If efforts are made within an organization to create an inclusive, comfortable climate for different kinds of workers, then perhaps it should avoid forcing them into the hostile environment that is Twitter.

There's a certain way that people talk at each other on Twitter — that is rewarded on Twitter — so a requirement to tweet favors the kind of people for whom that kind of talk comes easily. Why would you want that to infect the structure of success in your business? 

To return to Sicha's hypothesis: "Baquet... despises fearfulness." He could just as well be yielding to fearfulness. There is complexity to the fear of social media!

"There is no legal prohibition on Mr. Trump assembling and publishing photographs that a White House staff member took during his tenure; under federal law, those photographs are considered in the public domain..."

"... and not subject to copyright. There is a public Flickr account, now managed by the National Archives, that has 14,995 photos from the Trump White House, a third of them listing Ms. Craighead as the photographer."

And that's the main thing you need to know, squirreled away in the 16th paragraph of "She Took the White House Photos. Trump Moved to Take the Profit.The former chief White House photographer made plans to publish a book of Trump photos. The former president had other plans" (NYT).

We, the People own these photographs. Go ahead, go into that Flickr account and pick out whatever you like and make a book! It's perfectly free. It's in the public domain!

Were they really this desperate for another get-Trump story? I was almost too jaded to write this. Ridiculous!

ADDED: Why say "considered in the public domain"? They are in the public domain!

Here's the part of the NYT's "17 New Nonfiction Books to Read This Season" that got the most attention from the commenters over there.

Here's the part of the NYT's  

There are not a lot of comments over there, but here's the one with the most up votes, and it went up 2 days ago: 

Here's the part of the NYT's

Maybe very few people care about actually buying books anymore, or maybe the book-buying public waits until it gets the hard copy of the NYT Book Review, which is part of the Sunday NYT. (Sunday is the 27th; the article went up on line on the 25th.)

But it amazes me that having the pretense of erudition —opining on which new books are worthy — the NYT doesn't monitor the comments and fix errors like this. 

By the way, here's the subheadline for the article: "Two journalists dive into George Floyd’s life and family; Viola Davis reflects on her career; a historian explores the brutal underpinnings of the British Empire; and more." For a moment there, I thought the NYT was recommending 2 books about George Floyd's life. But it's just one book with 2 authors. 

I'm guessing the headline writer thought it was important to use the active voice and to maintain parallelism. So if Viola Davis reflects and a historian explores, then 2 journalists must dive. The authors all simply wrote, but there's an idea out there that says you ought to use vivid verbs, so "write" is systematically converted to metaphor: dive, reflect, explore. That desire for vigorous activity dictated a structure with the writer coming first in the phrase, and that created the ambiguity that made me think there were 2 books about George Floyd.

So the subheading begins "Two journalists dive into George Floyd’s life and family; Viola Davis reflects on her career...." and the poor NYT reader must struggle not to feel that the newspaper is force-feeding anti-white-fragility medicine. But hang on: There's also "the brutal underpinnings of the British Empire; and more." And more! AND. MORE...

"Jews built Hollywood. So why is their history erased from the Academy’s new museum?"

That was the headline in The Forward, last fall, quoted in "After Criticism, Film Museum Will Highlight Hollywood’s Jewish History/The new Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, which tried to present an inclusive history of film, overlooked the role Jewish immigrants played in creating the industry" in the NYT. 

“We want to ensure that we are taking an honest, inclusive and diverse look at our history, that we create a safe space for complicated, hard conversations,” the museum’s director, Bill Kramer, said the day after the museum opened as he welcomed guests to a panel discussion titled “Creating a More Inclusive Museum.”

But one group was conspicuously absent in this initial celebration of diversity and inclusivity: the Jewish immigrants — white men all — who were central to founding the Hollywood studio system. Through dozens of exhibits and rooms, there is barely a mention of Harry and Jack Warner, Adolph Zukor, Samuel Goldwyn or Louis B. Mayer, to list just a few of the best-known names from Hollywood’s history....

Some historians said the omission appeared to be the latest example of Hollywood’s strained relationship with its Jewish history. “You have to understand that Hollywood in its very inception was formed out of a fear that its founders — and those who maintained the industry — would be identified as Jews,” said Neal Gabler, the author of “An Empire of Their Own: How the Jews Invented Hollywood,” a book about the Jewish studio heads. “It’s almost fitting that a museum devoted to the history of Hollywood would incorporate in its very evolution this fear and sensitivity.”

I think the omission was based on a real concern that calling attention to the participation of Jews in the industry would feed anti-Semitism and could very well be perceived as anti-Semitic. The achievement of this group is so strong and so long-standing that it is downplayed, not celebrated. The conventions of present-day inclusiveness were designed to hearten — and appease — groups that have not done well in the past. If you emphasize that Jews were the studio heads, won't you look as though you are blaming Jews for the exclusion you are dedicated to stressing? 

The NYT article doesn't address this obvious problem. I'd say it pushes the insight farther from the reader's view in the third sentence: "But one group was conspicuously absent in this initial celebration of diversity and inclusivity: the Jewish immigrants — white men all — who were central to founding the Hollywood studio system."

White men all! 

ADDED: It was only last month that Whoopi Goldberg got scathed for saying Jews are white.

ALSO: Will the museum's tribute to Jewish studio heads include Harvey Weinstein?
"Quiz: How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change? See how your food choices compare with those of other Americans."Here's the part of the NYT's "17 New Nonfiction Books to Read This Season" that got the most attention from the commenters over there.

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