The latest pathetic example: The New York Times doesn’t care for Texas.
Last year, its former editorial page editor toured the country making absurd, deeply clueless remarks about the Lone Star state’s public schools. It was easily one of the dumbest such outings in post-journalistic history.
Last Sunday, the nation’s dumbest newspaper managed to strike again.
It found a very silly boy to write a silly profile of Dallas, the famous “city of hate” which simply will not reform. It ran his piddle in the Sunday Review. This is the way the deeply pitiful James McAuley started:
MCAULEY (11/17/13): For 50 years, Dallas has done its best to avoid coming to terms with the one event that made it famous: the assassination of John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963. That’s because, for the self-styled “Big D,” grappling with the assassination means reckoning with its own legacy as the “city of hate,” the city that willed the death of the president.Somehow, McAuley already had the word count from tomorrow’s ceremony. In the nut country known as the New York Times, none of this writing seemed odd.
It will miss yet another opportunity this year. On Nov. 22 the city, anticipating an international spotlight, will host an official commemoration ceremony. Dallas being Dallas, it will be quite the show: a jet flyover, a performance from the Naval Academy Men’s Glee Club and remarks from the historian David McCullough on Kennedy’s legacy.
But once again, spectacle is likely to trump substance: not one word will be said at this event about what exactly the city was in 1963, when the president arrived in what he called, just moments before his death, “nut country.”
Two days after McAuley’s profile appeared, the Times published a pair of letters disputing its central contentions. This is how some of McAuley’s contentions struck one Dallas resident:
LETTER TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (11/19/13): As Dallas prepares for the 50th anniversary of that horrific day, Mr. McAuley writes that “pretending to forget has helped Dallas achieve some remarkable accomplishments” in the years since the assassination. “Pretending to forget”? It’s been front-page news for months.It’s true. Near the end of his childish profile, McAuley wrote this about that Lehrer-fueled symposium:
The Sixth Floor Museum and John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza (designed by Philip Johnson) have been considered landmarks here for decades, and popular tourist attractions. Local theaters and talk shows are putting on all kinds of productions on the theme. A symposium on Dallas’s reputation as “the city of hate” was held this month.
Of all this, Mr. McAuley acknowledges only the symposium, but in passing, sniffing that it was held “quietly.” Please. It was well advertised, drew 500 people, including the journalists Jim Lehrer and Hugh Aynesworth, and was prominently covered by the media.
“This year Dallas has a chance to grapple with the painful legacy of 1963 in public and out loud. Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to happen, although the city did quietly host a symposium on whether it really deserved to be labeled ‘the city of hate’ earlier this month.” Our emphasis.
Parsing McAuley, Dallas has been refusing to discuss its reputation as the one-time “city of hate” by holding a symposium on whether it deserved to be called “the city of hate.” The problem is, they did it quietly!
This is how children tell stories.
No one but the New York Times would ever publish such piddle. Frankly puzzled, we decided to find out who this “McAuley” was.
Sad! In this instance, the Times commissioned the judging of fifty years in the history of a large city to the self-absorbed musings of a 22-year-old child who seems to be trying to work out his feelings about his Grandma and Pop-pop.
That said, the lad in question graduated from Harvard last year, which is all it takes at the Times. You can read his profile of Dallas to marvel at his vast self-absorption. Beyond his oddball family portraits, here’s an example of the reasoning abilities of today’s Harvard man:
MCAULEY: For the last 50 years, a collective culpability has quietly propelled the city to outshine its troubled past without ever actually engaging with it. To be fair, pretending to forget has helped Dallas achieve some remarkable accomplishments in those years, like the completion of the Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, the development of the astonishingly successful Cowboys franchise and the creation of what remains one of the country’s most electric local economies.Ignore the problem with sentence structure in that highlighted passage. Instead, consider the logic:
But those are transient triumphs in the face of what has always been left unsaid, what the now-defunct Dallas Times Herald once called the “dark night of the soul,” on which the bright Texas sun has yet to rise. The far right of 1963 and the radicalism of my grandparents’ generation may have faded in recent years, they remain very much alive in Dallas. Look no further than the troop of gun-rights activists who appeared just days ago, armed and silent, outside a meeting of local mothers concerned about gun violence. If this is what counts as responsible civic dialogue, then Dallas has a long way still to go.
A handful of people staged a dumb public vigil in Dallas last week. To this pitiful child, this means that “Dallas” did it.
McAuley’s profile is deeply childish. When we googled the lad, we discovered his last known assault on the MSM.
We refer to his gruesome tribute to himself, the one which appeared in the Washington Post on the occasion of Nora Ephron’s death. Pretending to wrote a remembrance of Ephron—he’d been pestering her since he was 12—McAuley composed a humblebrag tribute to the greatness of himself.
The humblebrag headline announced this fact: “Nora Ephron changed my life. Really.”
Be sure to have a gag bag handy! Thus prepared, you can click here.
Yesterday, the Times commissioned an actual grown-up to do an actual news report about the ways Dallas has changed in the past fifty years. That report stands in intriguing contrast to McAuley’s profile.
In the news report, you can consider the thoughts of Ron Kirk, Dallas’ first black mayor (1995-2002), later a Senate candidate. In the profile by our young lad, you can read this sad account posted below of the way the current mayor recently had his time wasted.
We’ll read between the lines for you:
MCAULEY: [W]hen the national cameras start rolling on Nov. 22, Dealey Plaza, the abandoned, almost spectral site of the assassination and now of the commemoration, will have been retouched in a fresh coat of literal and figurative white paint. Cosmetics seem to be all we can expect.You have to feel sorry for Rawlings! He agreed to have lunch with the New York Times scribe. He then discovered his time was being wasted by a silly colt.
“This is not a group psychology lesson,” Mike Rawlings, the mayor, told me over lunch recently. “We can do what we can do. I guess I could bring up all the relatives of the people that said bad things. But why would you do that?”
To which, of course, there is nothing to say.
Needless to say, there’s a lot to criticize about Texas political culture. That said, we’ll suggest that you read McAuley’s piece as a profile of the New York Times itself.
There’s nothing so dumb that the Times won’t run it if it comes from a recent Harvard grad, or if it dumps big piddle on Texas. Our conclusions, and they are two:
The Times remains our dumbest newspaper. Also:
A certain self-involved young climber will be tormenting the nation’s interests over the next fifty years.