The New York Times, pondering hair: As it turns out Andrew Lloyd Weber has a lot of explaining to do. In a column in yesterday’s New York Times, Julia Baird starts to lay out the charge, then poses some thoughtful questions:
BAIRD (2/26/16): In “The Woman in White,” the character Marian Halcombe is described as having “dark down on her upper lip” that “was almost a mustache.” Yet when Wilkie Collins’s 1859 story was adapted as a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 2004, this aspect of her appearance was ignored so that the audience would not be “distracted” by her facial hair.Our view? All in all, that may have been the craziest column we’ve ever seen in the Times. It’s amazing to think that somebody wrote it, astounding that it was published.
Why do we consider a mere hint of the hirsute such a disgrace for women when men can mooch about our cities with goatees, mutton-chop whiskers, navel-skimming beards and even “man buns” with little comment? We think of ourselves as liberated, yet it is still considered embarrassing and shameful for a woman’s upper lip to be imperfectly depilated.
In hard copy, it was published as the day’s most prominent column.
On the facing page to that column, an editorial was calling for Candidate Clinton to release the transcripts of her very important speeches. For reasons we expect to explain next week, we thought that editorial was pretty silly too.
That column by Baird is very strange. Because it seems to support a laudable principle, some editor couldn’t tell.
It’s now Potemkin all the way down in our journalistic/political culture. That said, the Times has been creating this culture for a very long time.
How did it ever get this far? We the liberals weren’t able to tell!