I was just browsing through the Times book review's archive, which unfortunately tends to have self-indulgent and uninformative soliloquies posing as book reviews. But it's still hard to believe some of the stuff they print there sometimes. I'm beginning to feel more and more like this is a slanderous, petty, and borderline idiotic section. For instance, the review of the latest Hillary Clinton biography. Let's just start it off strong:
Monica Lewinsky is fat. Bill Clinton has long been a member of the clean-plate society. Evelyn Lieberman, the former White House deputy chief of staff, is reputed to be ''a little overweight.'' Mrs. Clinton herself has long battled a tendency to beef up, but in perhaps the most astonishing revelation in the book, ''several of her Wellesley College classmates, who played sports with Hillary, described how she looked in a T-shirt and shorts,'' and according to them, ''she had a tiny waist, slim legs and ankles, and small buttocks.'' When coupled with the fact that the young Hillary Clinton was referred to by classmates as ''Sister Frigidaire,'' and by White House staff as ''the Big Girl,'' and that Hillary's tubby husband Bill gave a high-level position to Janet Reno, the implication is clear. Hillary Clinton does not merely view the world through the asexual, unmaternal, left-leaning eyes of a poorly groomed woman who was surrounded in her youth by manipulative pinkos who were playing for the other team. At some level, Hillary Clinton feels most comfortable in the company of fat people.
The obvious conclusion is that Hillary Clinton, in a ploy of Machiavellian subtlety, deliberately overcame her small buttocks and thin ankles and put on a few pounds in a cunning attempt to curry favor with fat voters. And in a nation that is looking increasingly chunky, this alone could insure her victory in the 2008 presidential elections.
Are there any other revelations in the book that are worthy of note? Yes...
You did not misread that. If 'worthy of note' means "off-base, trite and worthy of the interest of the tabloid community" then, well, I would have to agree. As much as I would love to have a great paper based out of New York to read every day, this paper has too many idling narcissists who have little important or useful to say. Unfortunately, the book review is really like a navel-gazing club consisting of people who have written books themselves editorializing on the most recent books of others.

Note: This doesn't apply to the actual reporting, which still is probably some the best out there, when it wants to be. When it does not choose to report on something, the Times is remarkable for its omission. Like half of the news will just be left out. Most selections chosen are somehow in the interest of the "New York crowd," whatever that means. Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's just not at all a complete news source.

Not to single out the Times. News media in general are on a steady decline. I personally find reading political editorials more painful than listening to the politicians themselves, which is pretty bad. Investigative journalism (you know, that thing where they like visit places and find out things other networks haven't already covered) is fast becoming a wistful thing of the past. With the exception of maybe CNN, our modern day "partisanship," with all the all the intellectual dishonesty and acrimony that entails, has become the rule. I'm aware of the argument that "Bush and his partisan cronies have caused this." I seriously doubt that. But even if it is true, it turns out that things are even more regretable than they seem. This is simply because even with all of its left-leaning tendencies intact, the news media have done a truly risible job of covering and printing the stories that could have fatally exposed Bush's failings. The press loved the Clinton fiasco, whoever goes down in the process be damned. But because the Bush White House is much better a covering up and containing sensitive information, we heard about the CIA outing scandal for about a week.

Update / rebuttal: But the Times does investigative work on the most important things, like when it tried to unseal private documents regarding nominee Judge Roberts' adoption records. I mean sorry, this one's really dumb. And kind of offensive. What could the paper think it could gain from this? 1) Not that I'm experienced in this matter... but I would guess that accessing a private individual's private records on a matter such as adoption is... what's the word for that - oh yeah, illegal! At least one of Roberts' personal attorneys said, "Sources familiar with the matter tell FOXNEWS that at least one lawyer turned the TIMES down flat, saying that any effort to pry into adoption case records, which are always sealed, would be reprehensible." 2) If the Times succeeded and obtained the documents somehow, without attracting public attention and censure, I think the story would have been at best laughed at as a frivolous piece of wasted resources. 3) Normally, when a newspaper starts investigating a topic for a story, it has a certain rationale in mind... I'm finding it very difficult imagine in this case what that would be.

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