Tag Archives: New York Times

CNN Reimagined

AKIE BERMISS: I’ve recently adopted a new coping mechanism for all the terrible news programs out there.  I now categorized my news sources in three basic groups.  There is the “What Is Happening” category – which is purely informative.  No…

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Liberal Opinion of Obama

AKIE BERMISS: I guess it would be hard for me to describe myself as a hardcore liberal. Not me. Certainly, born a Democrat, liberal-leaning values, and in my ideal world everything is green, recyclable government-by-the-people. However, whenever I start to consider problems in the imperfect and corporeal world before me, I become a sort of Democratic pragmatist. That is, I know that if I have some liberal fantasy I’ve been nursing in the back of my mind then there is problem someone out there with a non-liberal utopian paradise that they’d like to see. I think adhering to core principles is a great virtue especially as an academic or theorist, as a sophist or teacher, or something like that. But when it comes to governing — and, let’s be clear, by “governing” we mean ruling/guiding/helping/punishing a large group of people — there is simply no effective way to be both an effective idealist and an effective ruler. This sounds like pooh-poohing, I know, and my liberal friends have already condemned me to an atheistic perdition because of it. Nonetheless, I think if you really look at history, you’ll find it to be true.

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New York Times Digital Subscriptions

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely worship the New York Times. I adore the New York Times. Around 30% of the sentences that come out of my mouth begin with the phrase, “Did you see that article in the Times…?” As a New Yorker who currently lives in North Carolina, reading the New York Times reminds me of home. Not only that, but I have long felt guilty for spending many hours each weekend perusing the Times Online. “Why is this free?” I’ve moaned, to many a friend. “I feel like I’m taking advantage of them! This is top-notch, well-researched journalism. I love their columnists. Their website is fabulously well-laid-out and easy to use. I would PAY to read this newspaper online! They should be charging!”

EMILY SAIDEL:There has been a lot of discussion on the web about the New York Times’ imminent paywall. Pros, cons, and commentary abounds. Much of the con falls into two categories 1) that paywalls are anathema to the democratic spirit of the internet 2) that the pricing is too high. This second point is the far more interesting one to me. Continue reading

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The No Way To Win Diner

AKIE BERMISS: I’m no purist. Not by a long shot. But I’m not really a rebel either. This makes for a troubling situation overall, since most purists therefore view me as a rebel and most rebels view me as a purist. Its a numbers game really if you want to know where you wind up on the scale of things. That’s why dining out is hard for me, I have a lot of weird food issues and I’m a persnickety eater over all. I know its declasé to eat with your knife and fork held at the same time, that one should not mix up the various foods on the dish, that one should drink slowly and in conservative sips. And that one should order off the menu and eat it as the Chef designs it to be eaten. That’s why I stay away from the kind of restaurants featured in an article in the New York Times last week — restaurants where the Chef/barista is the law-giver and the customer has no say.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: I’m not suggesting that every restaurant (or any, for that matter) should be inflexible. To the contrary, I think any service industry establishment should be guided by the desires of its customers. Being “puritan” (or just plain unwilling to accommodate patrons) is an enormous risk. It’s less likely to succeed, in the traditional sense, than giving customers what they want. But if you let it go too far, then you risk becoming a doormat, which is also pretty bad.

NAVA BRAHE: I’ve witnessed more than my share of food proclivities over the course of my life, specifically those of my extended family. I have a cousin who is the quintessential picky eater and will likely make a scene in the most easygoing of eateries; yet she will periodically chow down on a Big Mac, fries and a Coke, and then proclaim she’s “hungry” after licking the last of the french fry salt off her fingers. Then, there’s my diabolically certifiable aunt, who’s a food hoarder of a magnitude where someone needs to dispatch an A&E camera crew to track her food-shopping exploits. Me? I eat whatever you put in front of me. I can’t remember the last time I sent back anything at a restaurant that wasn’t to my liking. Continue reading

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Woody Allen, Sans New York

AKIE BERMISS: As far directors go, there is probably no living director who is more synonymous with New York than Woody Allen. A majority of his movies pay deference to the great city and in turn we — the people of this city — pay Allen deference as the guy who can really shoot a New Yorker’s movie. And yet, as a the New York Times pointed out last week, several of Allen’s recent movies have been made abroad. So, it begs the question: what gives?

HOWARD MEGDAL: Akie is right, and let’s start with the understanding that Whatever Works is one of the lesser recent films Woody Allen made, a pale echo of the vital Vicky Cristina Barcelona. So New York is not the magic ingredient to making his films good recently. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 9 in Review

SONIA BRAND-FISHER: In typical “The Trouble With Harry” fashion, Ms. Blankenship’s body is awkwardly muscled around, shifted, thrown, slammed and ultimately wheeled into the great beyond. When Don Draper mutters “poor thing” under his breath as he sees his deceased secretary face down on her desk, I misinterpreted one of the secretary’s weepings for giggles, as they happened to mirror mine. The dark humor of this event was highly welcome after the dark, deeply depressing thematic happenings of Season 4′s episodes of “Mad Men.” Episode 9, I feel, incorporated many different possible moods and tones into 47 minutes: shock, fear, excitement, glee, disturbance, and total catharsis as Joan Harris, in that infamous red dress, in a moment of passion, gives herself to Roger Sterling behind a city stoop. In one of my favorite episodes of this season thus far, my heart broke for almost everyone between the laughter and the tears.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I am in agreement with Sonia on the overall quality of (and notably, the range of emotional notes hit within) the episode, but wish to focus on a few other aspects of this week’s show. Namely: Peggy Olson’s political awakening. Continue reading

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Having Stuff Vs. Doing Stuff

AKIE BERMISS: I resent the frequent assertion that buying “experiences” gives more lasting satisfaction than buying “things.” While it makes sense from a pop-pysch stand point (wouldn’t we all like to believe that its the experiences that matter and not what we own) I think its a load of crap. To paraphrase the song, give me the finer things in life — and I’ll be happy.

CHRIS PUMMER: Your happiness is probably related to your quality of life. My iPod certainly improves my quality of life. Continue reading

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AKIE BERMISS: We, twenty-somethings! They speak ill of us. Our youth, our beauty, our unbridled exuberance. They are jealous of us, of course. It was ever thus. To be old is to be cynical — and much of that cynicism is aimed at the young. Of course, dependents are off-limits. Even 18, 19, and 20 are still considered childhood (mostly) in our society. Soon as you his 21 — that magic number — suddenly you are no longer above (or is it beneath, perhaps) reproach. Everybody knows how to do it better and everyone thinks you’re doing it wrong. That’s fine — that’s what being 20 is all about. Gotta let all the old-timers take pot-shots at you.

NAVA BRAHE: For those of you who are of my generation: born in the late 60s, screwed over in the late 80s, prosperous in the late 90’s – until the bottom fell out 2 years ago, you’re probably wondering what all this “emerging adulthood” business is about. Let me put it in a somewhat generational perspective for you, reminiscent of Gilda Radner’s beloved Saturday Night Live character, Emily Litella: “What’s all this I’m hearing about ‘emerging adulthood?” Well Emily, it’s just the 20-somethings’ way of postponing the inevitable; winding up like me.

THOMAS DELAPA:: I agree that generational generalizations can be simplistic and even misleading, but it’s one way (of many) of grappling with and understanding social trends… A lot of what we’re discussing seems to involve the changing American Dream for ordinary workers, young and old, if not its collapse. The financial stress and crushing foreclosures many people are experiencing mirror the monstrous national debt the country is facing. Individuals spent all that money on whatever (SUVs, big homes, home theaters, college, stuff) without thinking about the consequences, betting their home prices and wages would continue to rise. Likewise, the US of A. $1 trillion for a war in Iraq? No problem. Just borrow it. Whatever you do, don’t tax anyone to pay for it. In fact, lower taxes to get (re)elected. Continue reading

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Best Friends: Magnificient? Or Menace?

AKIE BERMISS: Say what you will about sex, drugs, money and fame — I think the greatest currency on the planet is friendship. You can’t get no where with out the stout support of your friends. Even horrible, psychotic criminals and terrorists have friends. People that they confide in, spend time with, and depend on. I guess in broad sense that could include quite a few people, but I think most of us have a discreet upper echelon of friends for whom all things are forgivable and with whom all things are better enjoyed. Those are our friends. Our good friends.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I was frankly terrified by the recent New York Times article which discussed ways in which parents and teachers are encouraging their children to be friends with “everyone” rather than having one particular best friend. Continue reading

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Compensation For Writers

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: It has recently come to my attention that the New York Times is planning on charging for access to its online content in the near future. Although I am a big fan of free, learning this filled me with relief.

STEVE MURPHY: Lots of people agree with Molly, and believe that high-quality content is so valuable, it shouldn’t be given out for free. But that assumes that value can only be set by the end user of the content. Continue reading

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