Sunday, September 11, 2005

NYT Sunday summary

We've got guests today going over this morning New York Times. Rebecca (Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude) wants to make a point right away.

Rebecca: If you have your TVs on as I'm saying this, you're seeing the Cheneys and the Bully Boys standing with right hand over heart, looking hung over. They're all squinting and someone should tell Lynne Cheney that bell skirt is not suited to her stocky figure. It's as ill fitting as the hideous dress that get a two page spread in the photo shoot in the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Even the flat chested, emanciated blonde can't carry off that dress that looks as though it was made from material pulled off a really ugly, really old couch. It's called a "plaid dress" and I don't know one woman that's ever said, "You know what I need? A plaid dress." The designer, Roland Mouret, speaks of interest in the English quirkiness. I'd say he'd watched too many episodes of Keeping Up Appearances before he designed this dress. The hem is loose and fraying. I can't believe such nonsense was photographed by the paper let alone pushed on a two page spread as stylish. This is truly the ugliest dress I've ever seen. The more I look at it, the uglier it gets. When I first looked at, I thought only of how it would look on me. I'm big breasted and there's no way that tie or scraft or whatever would look good with that hideous plaid dress. Then I started noting how it wouldn't look good on any woman. I'm wondering about the length because the model is laying on her side and the dress is pulled up at the hips. Even with the folds, it reaches the knee. I'm trying to figure out where it would end straightend out and am guessing mid-calf. It's an ugly dress. Next page, again, forget it for me. A woman has to have no breasts to pull off those fussy blouses with horizontal pleats. And I'm confused as to who would want to? Horizontal is never slimming. Next page, the model wears a sheepskin coat, with leggings -- are we back in the eighties? -- and a "broacde mini-dress" the latter of which I'll say look likes a used tampon. Then we have another two page spread where the model wears what,? I don't know. An "asymmetrical wrap skirt." It sounds as frightening as it looks. Diana Rigg couldn't pull of that skirt at her vintage best. I can't figure out what the shirt is. It's like a rubber top. Even the boots are hideous. Grown women do not need bows on their shoes but especially not on knee high boots. What a hideous spread. Whomever approved it to run either has no taste in clothes or hates women.
And shut up, Jim, you and Mike went off on sports one Sunday when you were helping out.

Ty (The Third Estate Sunday Review): Rebecca and I grabbed the Sunday Magazine. I found Mark Danner's "Taking Stock of the Forever War" which is interesting reading and nine pages of text although it takes up eleven because two pages are devoted to some graphic artist playing with tone and font. Here's a quote from page 47:

Four years after we watched the towers fall, Americans have not succeeded in "ridding the world of evil." We have managed to show ourselves, our friends and most of all our enemies the limits of American power. Instead of fighting the real war that was thrust upon us on that incomprehensible morning four years ago, we stubbornly insisted on fighting a war of the imagination, an ideological struggle that we defined not by frankly appraising the real enemy before us but by focusing on the mirror of our own obsessions. And we have finished -- as the escalating numbers of terrorist attacks, the grinding Iraq insurgency, the overstretched American military, and the increasing political dissatisfaction at home shows -- by fighting precisely the kind of war they wanted us to fight.

Elaine (Like Maria Said Paz): The New York Times finally manages to file their own report re: Tal Afar, "Iraqi-U.S. Units Battle to Clear a Rebel Area." Dateline reads "Baghdad." So this is an "As told to me" piece by Robert F. Worth. He writes "American aircraft pounded targets in Tal Afar as the assault began early Saturday, and an Irai-led force of 11,000 soldiers began moving into the city, supported by American tanks and armored vehichles from the Third Armored Calvalry Regiment." The article carries an inflated figure compared to other press press reports put the Iraqi soldiers at 5,000 and US at 3,500. Even added together that's not 11,000. Here's another thing, reporting from Baghdad, how does he know anything in that sentence? "The military told me . . ." might be needed as a preface to the sentence. Or possibly the "Associated Press reports" since the sentence, other than the numbers, looks like dangerously similar to one in an Associated Press report or Aljazeera. The reports I looked at last night all blur but that sentence is dangerously similar. Maybe they're all working from the same military briefing?

C.I.: I also find it interesting that a sentence speaks of "For days, American and Iraqi forces have been circling Tal Afar . . ." because of the reason Elaine notes, Worth's nowhere near Tal Afar if he's in Baghdad, maybe he saw some satellite photos from the same people who provided Coli Powell's for the 2003 UN presentation? But it's been happening "for days" and only now is the Times filing it's first piece. By the end of the article, as he's detailing what's happened elsewhere in Iraq, it's as though he's just summarizing reports. As Elaine did for The Third Estate Sunday review's news review, granted, but Elaine's not a reporter or posing as one.

Mike (Mikey Likes It!): The Times carries a Reuters report on what's going on in Belfast. They don't report themselves. Will they? Probably not. They'll continue the slanted "bad Catholics" coverage. My opinion.

C.I.: As are all statements here. Thanks for making that point Mike.

Mike: This looks like a shorter version of the Globe & Mail's Reuters' story, I think that's where I read this last night. Like Elaine, it's all a blur now. If that's the same story, it's interesting that they leave out some details but manage to get in their IRA slam. The IRA isn't involved in this violence and the article, as edited, fails to inform you that the loyalists -- that would be the people involved in this clash with the police, the actual subjects of the report -- haven't disarmed their own paramilitary groups.

Ava (The Third Estate Sunday Review): I was slid James C. McKinley Jr.'s latest bit of nonsense entitled "Where Poverty Drove Zapatistas, the Living Is No Easier". . . "One of these mornin's you're gonna rise up singing/ Then you'll spread your wings, and you'll take to the sky."
McKinley's posing shock at the life of the Zapatistas. They're poor! he proclaims over and over. The Chipas has always been a very poor area but maybe McKinley's education failed him. The Zapatistas were not under the impression that they would become rich, over night or otherwise. They were fighting for control of their area and their lives. That's why they refused government assistance. To come along with this ill thought out article that's supposed to portray the movement. He offers this ridicoulous fact that people are concerned with daily lives, as though that's any different than anywhere else, and not a revamp of the constitution. Isn't that what we hear from the Times on Iraq as well? Instead of going for a "It's a Small World After All" theme, McKinley acts as though he's encourtered something unique and telling. He bought his perspective used, at a tag-sale, and it doesn't fit.

C.I.: "Summertime," music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and Du Bose Heyward. The latter of which Kat cited in the book feature at The Third Estate Sunday Review.

Kat (Kat's Korner of The Common Ills): I had no idea. Heyward helped write the lyrics to a great song and wrote The Country Bunny and the Little Golden Shoes. The arts section is like the TV listings. A paragraph here, a paragraph there. As they run down movies, TV shows and CDs upcoming. After their still not corrected lie last Monday about Greg Dulli -- he did not have a CD coming out and the CD they listed has been on sale since Septemeber so why they felt the need to say it was coming out on Tuesday . . . At any rate, we get a lot of "funning." Madonna's new album, she's not preaching on this one! She returns the dance floor! Since she's hardly been Bob Dylan, I'm finding a hard time grasping when she did preach. She even told "Papa Don't Preach." When I read a line like that, or the bitchy remarks re: Dashboard Confessional that wouldn't pass for humorous in a room full of stoners on strong weed, I'm reminded of how inferior the Times arts section truly is. It's where mental midgets go to avoid being drawfed by the average. Who's the guy on Meet the Press?

C.I.: Tim Russert?

Kat: No, not Friar Tuck. Although he's got a frightening flip going on with his hair on the left side. Very Cathy Rigby. Oh, I think it's Arlen Specter. I'll table my comment there since he has health problems and instead note that if Tim Russert's double chins get any greater, you won't be able to see his shirt collar.

Jim (The Third Estate Sunday Review) : Barak Obama's on This Week. They're showing footage of him and Bill Clinton from September 5th visiting the disaster sites.

Rebecca: Hold on! I want to get a look at George Steph! A friend said he really needs botox on his forehead. Barak looks good. Where's Steph? There's the back of his head while he holds his chin and stares at the monitor Barak's being shown on. Ugh. Forget the forehead, it's the whole face. He looks like a tired Wilam Dafoe. Ewww.

Dona (The Third Estate Sunday Review): I'm not sure this is what C.I. was hoping for with this discussion.

C.I.: It's fine, I'm laughing along with everyone else.

Rebecca: Bob Sheiffer's doing his commentary on Face The Nation, his skin looks better than George Steph. What happened to Steph?

Dona: I grabbed the book review. What stands out is the pretentious piece by Suzy Hansen, an editor at The New York Observer, who reviews a book that will probably only get this kind of coverage in the Times since it's a book by the Times -- New York Stories: The Best of the City Section. "New York Stories': Tales of the City" is the name of Hansen's review. Following a misuse of the term "soppy," Hansen goes on to begin a sentence with "Still, it would be a shame to toss this book aside . . ." She's striving for a gentility that she can't pull off. The Times shouldn't review books comprised of text that appeared in the newspaper. Soppy, for the record, means "sentimental or mawkish." Since no one feels sentimental about paying property taxes, Hansen has misused the term.

C.I.: Jess?

Jess (The Third Estate Sunday Review): The only thing of value I found in the news section was Carlotta Gall's " Attempt to Kill Defense Chief Raises Tension in Afghanistan" and the headline tells you everything because the article itself is rather short. From the Week in Review, I'll say well done on the editorial "Revising 9/11" and note that Nicky K's off on another "I just discovered! I am the first! I and I alone have been giving this issue focus!" rants with "The Storm Next Time." The topics worthy, global warming, it's his style that's off putting.

Rebecca: Agreed. It's like the Ted Koppel joke Audrey told in her first appearance on Ellen. "It's like there's only one opinion in the world and it has to be Ted's."

Jim: And I'd stress that the best article in the sports section is Bill Pennington's "In Recruiting, a Big Push From Small Colleges, Too." After that, read Lynn Zinser's "U.S. Olympic Officials Raise Bidding Concerns" to learn what poor sports and big babies we can be. Some cities are bidding for the 2016 games, decision comes down in 2009. Lot of whining about "unfair" rules. You learn that New York spent 35 million trying to get the games for 2012. Wah-wah-wah should be the title of the article.

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