How unintelligent are they: Yesterday, Maureen Dowd opened her piece with the world’s dullest question.
It was followed by a type of answer from an intellectual giant:
DOWD (11/3/13): I asked Mike Nichols, the director of Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal” on Broadway, why love triangles have such a mythic hold on the imagination.Did Nichols actually say that? If so, was he kidding around?
“We’re born in a triangle,” he said about parents and a newborn. “That’s the most important one, the triangle that determines who we are, the one that affects the other triangles that you get into in your life. It’s all about that first triangle, what it gives you and what it takes away from you.”
We could have answered Dowd’s question better:
Why do triangles have a hold on Dowd’s “imagination?” Because she has nothing else on her mind? Because she cares about nothing that actually matters?
We’d be guessing! That said, Dowd’s column was so dull and so desperate that it put her readers to sleep.
Dowd offered a summary of recent gossip about shacked-up celebrities. This dated back to Johnny Carson getting “cuckolded” at some point in the 1970s.
Only 151 readers commented, a very low number for Dowd. Right away, one commenter offered these jibes. Easy to be hard!
COMMENTER FROM DC AREA: Sorry to say that this is an unappetizing stew of a column that signifies nothing. Combine the Brooks/Coulson affair, a stale account of the implosion of the Johnny-Joanna Carson marriage, and some inconsequential remarks by Daniel Craig. Stir and print.Such commenters frequently add the claim that Dowd can do better. Why would anyone think that?
What a waste of an enviable place on the New York Times’ global platform. Mo, you can and should do better than this.
Few other readers offered such comments; frankly, we were disappointed. But the overall lack of response to this dull, worthless piece provides some hope for the world.
As Ed might have asked, How dull was it? Dowd's column was so dull that it even put her own readers to sleep! But for unknown reasons, the New York Times put this worthless piddle on the front page of the Sunday Review.
The New York Times is desperate for eyeballs. Also, it isn’t real bright.
How unintelligent are they? We marveled at a piece in the same Sunday Review concerning the incidence of poverty in the United States. Or something like that.
We liberals! When we aren’t claiming that people belong to the Klan, we’re now engaged in the practice of swelling the poverty rate. For last week’s example, click this.
This piece was written by a professor at a well-regarded university, Washington U. in St. Louis. It reads like a parody of intellectual method. “Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans,” Professor Rank is able to say, by just his sixth paragraph.
At present, the official U.S. poverty rate is around 16 percent. A majority is commonly said to be more than 50 percent.
Sixteen is believed to be less than 50. Here’s how Rank was able to build a majority out of a much smaller number:
RANK (11/3/13): Contrary to popular belief, the percentage of the population that directly encounters poverty is exceedingly high. My research indicates that nearly 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 25 and 60 will experience at least one year below the official poverty line during that period ($23,492 for a family of four), and 54 percent will spend a year in poverty or near poverty (below 150 percent of the poverty line).Say what? “If we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events?”
Even more astounding, if we add in related conditions like welfare use, near-poverty and unemployment, four out of five Americans will encounter one or more of these events.
In addition, half of all American children will at some point during their childhood reside in a household that uses food stamps for a period of time.
Put simply, poverty is a mainstream event experienced by a majority of Americans.
Presumably, that statement is true, if a bit strangely constructed. Of course, if we add in the inability to purchase the Taj Mahal, over 99 percent of Americans “will encounter that event.”
That doesn’t tell us whether those are are living in poverty!
How do we build a majority out of 16 percent? In part, we stop asking how many people are living in poverty in any conventional sense. Instead, we start asking how many people will “encounter...related conditions.”
If you’re living in near poverty, it’s very much like you’re living in poverty! Once that general sleight of hand is accepted, we liberals are on our way!
That piece is just astoundingly dumb; the New York Times couldn’t tell. They put that dreck in the Sunday Review. Dowd’s piece was on its front page!
It’s counterintuitive, but stunningly plain. Many higher-ups at the Times just aren’t especially bright. That piece by Rank was dumbfoundingly dumb, but the New York Times couldn’t tell.
Can they tell at Washington U? How far does the poverty reach?
Killjoys in angry denial: Several readers felt fairly sure that Dowd was making important points.
Inevitably, a pair of killjoys appeared:
COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK CITY: How is writing a column gloating about a tawdry pair of tabloid editors being themselves caught in an affair made public not itself an exploitative exercise in titillation?We felt sorry for those readers. They remain in denial about the triangle which determined who they are.
COMMENTER FROM NEW YORK: I need a shower after reading this. Yes, so there are hypocrites. But somehow I don't think the rest of us come off looking good reading (or writing) about this stuff.