The NYT Publishes What Could Be An Onion Parody, and I Feel Bad About It

What Women Really Think
May 28 2009 1:48 PM

The NYT Publishes What Could Be An Onion Parody, and I Feel Bad About It

Last week, Michael Kinsley wrote a brutal takedown of the redesigned Newsweek , attacking it page by page and graph by graph for failing to be readers' "guide through the chaos of the Information Age." It's something that editor Jon Meacham wrote in the editor's note that the new Newsweek would not "pretend" to be, and that Kinsley thinks newsmagazines totally need to be in order to survive. The assessment was shrewd, but perhaps needlessly vicious, as noted in New York 's Jessica Pressler's response, titled: " Michael Kinsley Attacks the New Newsweek , and We Feel Bad About It ." (Full disclosure: I'm particularly sympathetic to Newsweek , since I used to work there. Plus it's owned by the same company that owns Double X .)

But if the new Newsweek 's inaugural issue falls short of making sense of the week's chaos, I wonder what Kinsley makes of the New York Times today, which ran an article-ON THE FRONT PAGE, and with a jump to the highly coveted A3 page-about teenagers hugging . That's it. Just, you know, talking about the ways that they hug ("the basic friend hug," "the hug that starts with a high-five," "the hug from behind") and how they feel about hugging ("We're not afraid, we just get in and hug").


The whole thing reads like an Onion parody of what Slate 's Jack Shafer mocks as the bogus trend story . It's what we've come to expect of the Thursday style section, which has featured dubious trend-spotting since its inception . But this is the front page. Of the frickin' New York Times . Enter Kinsley's biting assessment of Newsweek, which feels equally applicable here:

[W]hile it's not impossible to get readers by peddling sheer enjoyment, it's a lot easier to peddle necessity, or at least usefulness: You need this magazine to sort out the world for you and to make sure you haven't missed anything.

We need to need newspapers, too, if they're going to survive-which is something I desperately want, not just because I'm in the industry but because it freaks me out to think of a world without them, as it does Double X reader Sophie . And stuff like this-

Girls embracing girls, girls embracing boys, boys embracing each other-the hug has become the favorite social greeting when teenagers meet or part these days.

-is hardly the stuff we need.



The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10


Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

Florida State’s New President Is Underqualified and Mistrusted. He Just Might Save the University.

  News & Politics
Sept. 30 2014 2:36 PM This Court Erred The Supreme Court has almost always sided with the wealthy, the privileged, and the powerful, a new book argues.
Sept. 30 2014 7:02 PM At Long Last, eBay Sets PayPal Free
Lexicon Valley
Sept. 30 2014 1:23 PM What Can Linguistics Tell Us About Writing Better? An Interview with Steven Pinker.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 30 2014 3:21 PM Meet Jordan Weissmann Five questions with Slate’s senior business and economics correspondent.
Brow Beat
Sept. 30 2014 8:54 PM Bette Davis Talks Gender Roles in a Delightful, Animated Interview From 1963
Future Tense
Sept. 30 2014 7:00 PM There’s Going to Be a Live-Action Tetris Movie for Some Reason
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 30 2014 6:44 PM Ebola Was Already Here How the United States contains deadly hemorrhagic fevers.
Sports Nut
Sept. 28 2014 8:30 PM NFL Players Die Young. Or Maybe They Live Long Lives. Why it’s so hard to pin down the effects of football on players’ lives.