Percentages bollix the New York Times!


Also, how the late Bunny Mellon managed potato chips:
Nos morituri, we kid you not! Live and direct from our hard-copy page A3, this is one of the "Noteworthy Facts" in today's New York Times:
"The late heiress Bunny Mellon was known to offer guests at her Virginia farm a bowl of Lay's potato chips, but behind the scenes she ordered her kitchen staff to first remove all the broken chips."
That's the second entry on today's list of noteworthy facts! The third entry on the list goes exactly like this:
"440 Hz is the current tuning standard for the music note A."
Someone at the New York Times thinks these are noteworthy facts! Meanwhile:

Concerning Bunny Mellon's management of those potato chips, does the inanity of that noteworthy fact perhaps align with this bizarre confession from the October 9 New Yorker?
As I write this, I think of something that subliminally puzzles me as I watch [The Rachel Maddow Show]. Why do I stay and dumbly watch the commercials instead of getting up to finish washing the dishes? By now, I know every one of the commercials as well as I know the national anthem: the Cialis ad with curtains blowing as the lovers phonily embrace, the ad with the guy who has opioid-induced . . . constipation (I love the delicacy-induced pause), the ad for Liberty Mutual Insurance in which the woman jeers at the coverage offered by a rival company: “What are you supposed to do, drive three-quarters of a car?” I sit there mesmerized because Maddow has already mesmerized me. Her performance and those of the actors in the commercials merge into one delicious experience of TV. “The Rachel Maddow Show” is a piece of sleight of hand presented as a cable news show. It is TV entertainment at its finest. It permits liberals to enjoy themselves during what may be the most thoroughly unenjoyable time of their political lives.
What does it mean when "the nation's best magazine writer" is mesmerized by constipation ads, while someone at our brainiest newspaper thinks Bunny Mellon's past handling of potato chips is one of the day's "noteworthy facts?"

No, really! What does it mean when sheer inanity starts to define a powerful nation's upper-class journalistic culture?

(In our view, it helps explain how Donald J. Trump ended up in the White House.)

The inanity of that "noteworthy fact" should probably stand on its own at this point. That doesn't mean that we weren't saddened at other points as we fought through today's New York Times.

We were struck by the puzzling logic put on display in several Times reports. To cite just one puzzling problem, where else does "half" seem to end up equaling all?

That particular puzzler popped up in this utterly useless news report. For the record, the report appears in our hard-copy Times, though it isn't listed on the Today's Paper page or in the Nexis record of this morning's Times.

Where else except the New York Times does "half" seem to turn into all? We'll ponder that puzzler after lunch. For now, we'll leave you with Bunny's chips—and with this third "noteworthy fact," out of a list of seven:
"This year alone, the Romanian government has tweaked its tax code 22 times."
Within the context of American news and public affairs, does that seem like a noteworthy fact? No, really! As Ed might once have said to Johnny, "How noteworthy is it?"

There are seven allegedly noteworthy facts on today's "reimagined" page A3. We've shown you three of those facts.

To whom do they seem like noteworthy facts? Is that upper-end journalist drunk on last night's Cialis ads?


  1. The Online NY Times doesn't include "Noteworthy Facts". But, in searching, I found that the potato chip quote comes from a very long article about the Mellon Estate. The Romanian snippet comes from a long article about how Romania uses its tax code to help favored taxpayers. The one about A 440 comes from an article about a strange musical composition where 100 cars all play the note A, but at varying frequencies.

    What have I learned?
    1. The Noteworthy Facts come word for word from articles in the Times
    2. The source articles are quite interesting.
    3 Within the article, the quoted sentence is appropriate and sometimes interesting.
    4. As Bob points out, as standalone sentences, these Noteworthy Facts are dumb.

  2. "Low IQ progressives like to be told that they are above average. This susceptibility combined with lower intelligence makes them easy prey for carnival barkers."
    "The NY Times can turn out gruesome reporting because it can depend on the stupidity of progressives."
    "The Democratic party used to be a eugenic party, pro-sterilization and all that. Sometimes you'll still catch people making jokes about how you should "try not to breed" and spread your terrible mental retardation genres. Just to get elected Bill Clinton had to execute a mentally disabled man."
    Look at the weirdos, Bob. These are actual comments. Why are they attracted here?

    1. The third comment is factual. The prisoner didnt eat his last meal because he was saving it for later.

  3. Sometimes I find myself wishing that Somerby would retire. Other times, that he would go to hell. The endless destructive snark is less and less helpful in Trumpworld. Momentous things are happening, and Somerby chooses some inconsequential piffle he found rummaging through the Times to rail about. I bet there were more important articles in there that he could have examined; just a wild hunch.
    (Now cue the apoplectic Bobfans in 1,2,...)

    1. There are no longer any Bobfans here.

    2. I wish he would just stop with all the criticism of Rachel. Doesn't he realize it's hurting America?

    3. "Now cue the apoplectic Bobfans in 1,2,..."
      Right on cue.

  4. The GOP base read breitbart, not NY times. Is the argument the upper class should do a better job enticing Iowan farmers with their stories? Class is the problem, not culture. Democrats lost when they didn't address class.

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Yes, I am a fan of what Bob does here, which is why I read his blog. Agree or disagree with what he says, he is a genuinely and consistently brilliant writer.

    Your all-too-typical comments hardly make me apoplectic, as multiply predicted, just puzzled.

    You hate what Bob does. Fair enough. But why in heaven's name do you keep reading this blog, then? Just so you can condemn it for the bazillionth time? Why does that strike you as a good use of your time? Maybe so you can get strokes from "fellow travelers" with equally quizzical motivations? EARTH TO YOU BOB-BASHERS: you do know the internet is a pretty big place, full of other things to read and do, right? Things that might actually make you happy and/or strike you as otherwise worthwhile? And similarly, you do understand that since this is his blog, he can write about anything he likes, just as you are equally free to do on your own blog, should you see fit to start one?

    Who knows? Maybe in 20 years or so, we can compare notes on what you've done there, versus what Bob has created here. I wish you all the luck in the world with that. But please forgive me if I'm still betting on Bob.

    And to steal a cue from you, cue the weirdly motivated (but undying) snark in 3, 2, 1....

    1. That's the best you can come up with after 2 days?

      You got nothin'.


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