Category Archives: Times (New York)

An American in barbaric Paris

A breathless New York Times ninny on a visit to the French capital writes that the Centre national de la danse building (Jacques Kalisz, 1972), at which she

stared open-mouthed

for a long, long time,

radiates childlike exuberance.

Dalrymple remarks:

Anyone who can see childlike exuberance in such a building is capable of seeing the milk of human kindness in a Nuremberg Rally.

 

Handmaiden to the wholesale collapse of æsthetic judgement

A silly woman from the Times newspaper of New York gushes on a visit to Paris as she ‘gazes in awe‘ at the ‘ugly-beautiful’ modern buildings. Dalrymple comments:

They are not ugly-beautiful; they are ugly, without any æsthetic qualification, and grossly dysfunctional to boot.

From fear of making an unequivocal judgment that might cause her to be branded conservative, backward-looking, or naïve, this New York Times nincompoop acts, says Dalrymple,

as a praise-singer to the collapse of æsthetic ability and appreciation.

 

From Germany, hope for insomniacs

The federal foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier

Zzz zzz zzz… Verbal anæsthesia: the federal foreign minister, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, delivers an address that is well-timed (coming shortly after the British voted to leave the European Union), and in duration no longer than about an hour-and-a-half, concerning the glories of the European Union. Zzz zzz zzz…

Zzz zzz zzz zzz…

Picking up a copy of the Paris daily the Monde, which he describes as the French equivalent of the Times of New York, though

still rather more interesting,

Dalrymple comes across an article by the Bundesminister des Auswärtigen, Frank-Walter Steinmeier. To read it, Dalrymple says,

is to enter a world of grey thought, evasive cliché, Soviet-style slogans, verbal anæsthesia. I think you could put almost anyone to sleep by reading it aloud to him.

Steinmeier’s remarks are intended to be

a stirring call to readers, like de Gaulle’s radio broadcast from London.

There are passages such as this:

We are committed to making Europe better. This is the direction taken by the proposals put forward by Jean-Marc Ayrault [the Ministre des Affaires étrangères et du Développement international] and myself. We have ideas on improved internal and external security, an active migration policy and a policy for growth and employment. We look forward to receiving lots of constructive ideas. A better, more flexible EU will respect differing views on the further progress of Europe and will allow for different speeds, without excluding anyone or leaving anyone behind. Instead of arguing about what the ultimate goal of European integration should be, we should work towards tangible results. It is only by working together that we will make progress. That is why it is so important for us to consult each other in the group of 27, to listen carefully to each other, and then take joint action.

Hergestellt in Detmold, Deutschland

Hergestellt in Detmold, Deutschland

Zzzz zzz zzz zzz… Dalrymple comments:

I do not know Mr Steinmeier and have no animus against him. He is probably a perfectly decent man, as politicians go. What intrigues me is whether his article corresponds to any thoughts that actually ran through his head. If they did, one can only pity him: how boring it must be to be Mr Steinmeier.

But Dalrymple does not want to be accused of selective quotation, so he closes his eyes and lets his finger alight at random on part of the article. Here is the passage:

We are looking back on an unprecedented 70 years of peace and stability. More than 25 years have passed since we brought an end to the division of our continent. The process of European unification is an unparalleled success story. At its core is an agreed political framework under which the member states come to Brussels to manage their relations and settle their conflicts — and do not head off to the battlefield. This agreement has lost none of its utility or significance. The European peace project must be passed on intact to the generations who will follow us.

Zzz zzz zzz zzz… Dalrymple says that to combine, in such a way,

soporific banality with cunning evasiveness takes, I suppose, talent of a kind, the kind of talent required to rule without appearing to want to do so. It is a dull talent, and one that I cannot much admire.

The tedious New York Times

Pedantic layout

Pedantic layout: Dalrymple likens the front page of the Times to a particularly verbose Victorian tombstone

One does not, writes Dalrymple, look to the New York Times

for elegance of writing, perhaps not even for mere accuracy, though its layout looks as if it was designed by a professor of Aramaic philology at the University of Göttingen in about 1880. Pedantic layout, loose (though dull) writing: that more or less summarises the Times.

Loose Times writer: Jayson Blair

Loose and dull Times writer: Jayson Blair

Dull Times writer: Michael Kimmelman

Loose, dull and pusillanimous Times writer: Michael Kimmelman

Loose, dull and drug-addled Times writer: David Carr

Loose, dull, pusillanimous and drug-addled Times writer: David Carr

Popularity of public hangings

Populist hangout: Tyburn

Populist hangout: Tyburn

Kimmelman makes the Pompidou Centre sound like a new, unpleasant cancer therapy

Dalrymple reports that the architecture critic of the New York Times has described the Pompidou Centre’s ‘breakthrough‘, namely ‘not just the inside-out factory aesthetic but the development of a populist hangout’.

Kimmelman forgets, writes Dalrymple

that public executions were also ‘a populist [or is it popular?] hangout’ and probably would be still if carried out.

Kimmelman’s populist hangout

Something of a prat: Dalrymple writes that according to the architecture correspondent of the New York Times, someone called Michael Kimmelman, the 'breakthrough' of the Centre Georges Pompidou (1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini) was 'the development of a populist hangout'. Does Kimmelman mean that those who enunciate mass ideologies, the likes of Heinz-Christian Strache, Ron Paul, Pablo Iglesias, Alexis Tsipras, Nigel Farage, Tom Van Grieken, Marine Le Pen, Manfred Rouhs and Geert Wilders, enjoy 'hanging out' at the Pompidou Centre? No. Does Kimmelman mean that latter-day adherents of the inter-war French literary movement that focused on the concerns of ordinary people prefer to ‘hang out’ at the Pompidou Centre? No. Does Kimmelman pay any attention to what he is saying? No. Should we read Kimmelman or indeed the New York Times? No.

Prattish: the architecture critic of the New York Times, Michael Kimmelman, has written, Dalrymple reports, that the ‘breakthrough’ of the Centre Georges Pompidou (1971-77, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers and Gianfranco Franchini) was ‘the development of a populist hangout’.

Out of this nettle, we pluck this flower

Nose for a story

Nose for a story

Drug addicts are a protected species

Dalrymple comes across an article in the Guardian reporting the death of a New York Times columnist, a man named Carr. Dalrymple writes that Carr

was a man unknown to me, either personally or through his writing, though a passage of his work quoted in the Guardian’s article, presumably selected as a representative sample of his style and wit, does not encourage me to read much further in his work.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 08.07.17He says of the sample:

This is to writing what T-shirts are to dress: sloppy and inelegant.

In the monster's clutchesCarr, apparently, had been a cocaine addict and dealer,

but out of this nettle, addiction, he managed to pluck this flower, a regular column in the New York Times.

The Guardian describes Curr as having ‘escaped the clutches of drug addiction’. Dalrymple writes:

By the words ‘escaped the clutches’ is really meant ‘decided to stop taking’, and good for him, say I, well done, though it was not so well done to have addicted himself in the first place.

Addiction, writes Dalrymple,

is not, except in very rare circumstances, something that happens to you, but something that you do.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 22.27.59Addicts like Carr emerge as

a protected species, protected, that is, from the reach of that most vicious of all human propensities — but one which is both inevitable and necessary — the propensity to make moral judgment. Unlike, say, financiers or rapists, they know not what they do and therefore merit no reprehension. In our sentimental world, reprehension is taken to be synonymous with the withdrawal of all sympathy or understanding.

How the New York Times combines frivolity with the utmost dullness and earnestness

But do not expect the truth

Expect the world: in other words, expect telescopic philanthropy but do not expect good writing or reliable, truthful reporting

Do not expect elegance from the New York Times, writes Dalrymple. Moreover, its front page

resembles a particularly verbose Victorian tombstone.

Dalrymple cites some ‘sloppy and inelegant’ drivel emitted by one of the Times‘s representatively mediocre writers. Dalrymple makes us look at it in order to highlight the absence of genuine style and wit — and the looseness of language and thought — in that hubristic journal.

Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 08.11.07But I say to Dalrymple that at least the drivel was all apparently the writer’s own, and in this respect the Times has advanced. For this is far from always being so, as the case of one of its celebrated reporters most embarrassingly demonstrated. We can never be sure that the reports, quotes, ‘news’ relayed by the Times are not fabrications.