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April 4, 2009
Solipsistic morality from the New York Times
Some newspapers are more equal than other newspapers. That's the only conclusion to be reached from the moral posturing indulged in by senior exexcutives from the New York Times Company.
The company is playing hardball with its employees, many of them unionized, at the Boston Globe, demanding pay cuts, or else the paper will be closed. Executed, if you will, in cold blood. Leaving hundreds of employees jobless and desperate in a bad economy. Exactly the kind of hardball the NYT routinely denounced in the past when less exalted companies made hard-=headed decisions costing union members their jobs.
But when it comes to the mothership, the moral calculus is entirely different.
Bill Keller, Executive Editor of the New York Times, addressing some journalism students at Stanford University said something so extraordinary that you might wonder if he was drunk. Or on drugs. Other explanations don't work.
This is the kind of metaphor that, when you read it, you're left stuttering in disbelief. You try and get your mind around it. Try to think what this man could possibly have been thinking. He's supposed to have a brain. He undoubtedly thinks it's a particularly large one.
But, there is no other possible explanation other than Bill Keller is a fool. A fool for all seasons. A global fool. A fool for the ages.
What could he mean by that? Saving Maureen Dowd's job and table at good restaurants = saving 500,000 living human beings?
Could he mean that Thomas Friedman, now because his wife's family's millions have evaporated and he has a much flatter wallet, should be the next poster boy for UNICEF?
It's hard to even joke about Keller's astounding stupidity. It's so off-the-charts.
We know that Darfur = genocide. We read that repeatedly in the pages of Keller's New York Times. So, let's examine that. Let's see Saving New York Times = Darfur = Genocide. Ergo, Saving New York Times = Preventing Genocide. It's pretty clear.
What other genocides are equal to the moral weight of saving a newspaper? Would Keller (circa 1939) said "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving the Jews of Europe as a high-minded cause"? Maybe. Maybe he would have.
How about this in the 1970s? "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving the Cambodians as a high-minded cause"? Of course he would have.
How about this, Mr. Keller. "Saving the New York Times now ranks with saving the Rwandans"?
No matter what imbecility is written by Keller's Kolumnist Kids (KKK) like Frank Rich and Bob Herbert, nothing, nothing can possibly, ever ever ever top the shear astounding magnitude, chutzpah, and self-centered pomposity, the moral solipsism, of this statement.
He's the all-time champ. Retire the crown.