Interlude—Troubling shoes: At some point, we humans need to come to terms with who and what we are.
This very morning, page A3 in the (hard-copy) New York Times gives us a chance to do that.
First, a quick bit of background. When the Times "reimagined" page A3 this summer, it launched its new format under this controversial motto:
You are the dumbest people on earth.This morning, the Times seems to claim that it was right in its controversial assessment of us, the newspaper's readers. In its daily feature, The Conversation, the Times attacks us in the following way:
We at the Times want to serve you.
The ConversationGood God. That piece about Mrs. Trump's high heels was yesterday's "most read article" across the whole New York Times!
THREE OF THE MOST READ, SHARED AND DISCUSSED POSTS FROM ACROSS NYTIMES.COM
1. Melania Trump, Off to Texas, Finds Herself on Thin Heels
Eight of the 10 most read articles Wednesday focused on Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. The most popular, written by The Times's fashion critic Vanessa Friedman, concerned the optics of wearing stiletto heels to a disaster area—and why the first lady's sartorial choices matter in our current moment of political division. Commenters were struck as much by the ostentatious footwear as by the sheer impracticality of wearing heels in a flood zone.
Needless to say, the nonsense doesn't stop there. The precis which we have posted was accompanied by a photograph of Melania Trump boarding Air Force One in Maryland, where it was raining a bit. Rather clearly, the photo supports the false impression that she wore her very high heels in the disaster area, in the actual flood zone.
Which, in fact, she didn't. Until you read the brainless remarks by readers of the Times—brainless remarks which are reinforced all through this morning's precis.
How about more background? Vanessa Friedman is the soul of the Times' plu-foppish upper-class culture. To its credit, though, the Times is willing to tell the truth today about its subscribers and readers:
Yesterday, this silly analysis piece by Friedman was the most-read ("most popular") article in the paper's whole empire! As it tattles on its readers, the Times seems to say it was right all along when it reinvented pages A2 and A3 in the dumbest possible way.
Let's get clear on what the Times has told us today. Friedman's discussion of Mrs. Trump's shoes wasn't the most popular article among Those People, the dumb/stupid folk who voted for Trump, the nincompoops found Over There.
Friedman's piece was the "most popular" article among our tribe Over Here! We brilliant Times readers selected that piece over all other displays.
To its credit, the Times was willing to make that confession about its own dull-witted base. On the down side, the unnamed person who wrote that precis mistakenly implied, at two separate points, that Trump had worn those very high heels down in Texas, which in fact she did not.
The photograph pimped that false belief further. This is the way the Times rolls!
Let's be fair to the Times. The silly piece by the upper-class Friedman did not appear in the paper's hard-copy editions. By way of contrast, the Washington Post positioned Robin Givhan's equally unfortunate piece on the first page of yesterday's Style section in our hard-copy edition.
That's the section the Post mainatins to show that it can be just as foppish as the Hamptons-drenched Times. Givhan's piece was headlined thusly:
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOKMelania's shoes eclipsed common sense? So did the Post's decision to rehire Givhan in 2014, after giving readers a four-year reprieve from her important work. Remember when Givhan shot her wad, in 2007, about Senator Clinton's cleavage?
In this case, fashion sense eclipsed common sense
More props to the Times! In today's paper, the Times runs a letter, from a Trump non-supporter, complaining about the inanity of Friedman's piece. But above all else, we note that key fact:
Of all the material in yesterday's Times, the lordly Friedman's discussion of heels was the piece we rational animals read more than any other. At such moments, we may start to get a sense of who and what we actually are.
Are we being unfair to Times readers today? Our lizard brains will always insist that we liberals are very bright, while the dumb ridiculous ones are widely found Over There.
Like script, lizards never sleep! But in this moment, we're able to see the hive mind which crawls around the glorious Times. Also on today's A3, we get this bit of help:
Here to HelpThe New York Times is here to serve—and the newspaper knows who we are.
HOW TO START A FANTASY FOOTBALL TEAM
We mention this matter today for several reasons. In a more rational world, the Post and the Times would have been savaged, long ago, for the way they frisked every article of a certain candidate's clothing during Campaign 2000.
His boots, his suits, his troubling polo shirts? The number of buttons (three) on the jackets of his suits? The troubling fact that he sometimes wore earth tones?
The height at which he was hemming his pants, the better to show us his cowboy boots? The unholy signals his troubling wardrobe was sending to female voters? In the end, when the deviants finally went there, the sock he'd stuffed in his pants?
Your nation's major mainstream "journalists" spent months discussing these crucial matters. Over Here, in our liberal tents, we sub-humans sat there and took it.
We were too dumb to speak up or complain as our major mainstream "journalists" conducted this ludicrous war. Yesterday, we brilliantly flocked to Friedman's thoughts about you-know-who's ill-chosen shoes.
We mention Friedman's ratings triumph for a second reason. The popularity of her piece connects to Hillary Clinton's new novel—and to our tribe's increasingly sad desire to swallow whatever we're served.
How in the world did Donald J. Trump ever end up in the White House? The Friedmans and the Givhans are one part of that story, along with the nameless editors who shovel their prose into print.
More than anything else, though, we the liberals were the key players in that decades-long story. Yesterday, we gobbled the porridge we were served about Mrs. Trump's hideous heels.
We're also being asked this week to swallow Candidate Clinton's guff about her second debate with the ridiculous Candidate Trump. As we rush to swallow her (truly sad) novel, the dumbnification of us our tribe is more and more complete.
In case you haven't noticed yet, a modern society can't function this way. Tomorrow, what actually happened.
Tomorrow: What actually happened