“It meant more to our father to deal with a setback and try to bounce back than to watch how we handled our successes. Show what you are made of, he would say. Graduating from Wake Forest means all of you have experienced success already. And some of you — and now I’m talking to anyone who’s been dumped, not gotten the job you really wanted, or received those horrible rejection letters from grad school — you know the sting of losing. Or not getting something you badly want. When that happens, show what you are made of.”
Not many could have their firing on the front page of newspapers and still show their face the next week to deliver a commencement address. So for that reason alone, I admire Jill Abramson, the former executive editor of The New York Times, who was canned last week and spoke this morning at Wake Forest’s graduation. Regardless of what you think about Abramson’s firing and whose “side” you believe — Abramson was reportedly considered “pushy,” including about her pay and pension; the Times brass emailed staff saying she was was laid off because she wasn’t a good manager — the woman’s thoughts on resilience are worth listening to. [YouTube via Mashable]
It’s not that I don’t think a human being who is accused of something does not have the right to respond or defend himself But the possibility that Woody Allen may use the New York Times op-ed page to respond to the sexual abuse allegations published on Sunday by his daughter Dylan Farrow is veering into “He Said/She Said” realm that should make us all feel uncomfortable. Keep reading »
This past Saturday, Bernice Gordon turned 100 years old, and to celebrate, she did what she does every day: she created a crossword puzzle. Gordon has been writing crosswords for nearly six decades, with her grids appearing regularly in The New York Times and other newspapers, magazines, and books since the 1950s. She’s something of a legend in the puzzle-making community, but today her status was cemented in the history books: with the publication of her most recent puzzle, she became the first and only centenarian to have a puzzle byline in the Times. Gordon doesn’t plan to retire from wordplay anytime soon. “[Crosswords] make my life,” she told the Portland Press Herald. “I couldn’t live without them.” [Huffington Post]
I didn’t expect a can-usually-be-counted-on-for-fluff article about marriage in the Sunday Styles section of the New York Times to be so damn depressing. But I suppose that’s a conclusion to be expected when one starts wondering, what’s the point of it all? Keep reading »
This week, HBO screened a documentary film, “Valentine Road,” about the 2008 murder of a 14-year-old boy, Lawrence King, by a classmate in Oxnard, California. King had been exploring his gender identity by wearing makeup and heels to school; he had told friends that he was gay and had asked 14-year-old Brandon McInerney to be his Valentine in front of other classmates. McInerney, who had a girlfriend, shot King in head during class in their middle school computer lab.
Heartbreaking. Inexcusable. And yet the New York Times’ film review by Neil Genzlinger actually dared to ask:
Was Mr. McInerney the one who was bullied, by Mr. King’s flaunting of his identity (including wearing makeup and heeled boots to school)?
Keep reading »
The New York Times Vows column is truly one of a kind. Week after week, the meet-cute stories land all over the spectrum, from the truly romantic to the strangely political to, very frequently, the totally twee and bizarrely short-sighted. To wit: this week’s tale, titled “Found, A Soul Mate,” which regales the romance of two yoga aficionados from the Hamptons. It begins like so:
People describe Erika Halweil, a longtime yoga teacher in the Hamptons, as someone who has a lot of backbone in every way. She has great posture. She rarely gets upset over things like parking tickets or bad-hair days. (Naturally pretty, she probably doesn’t have many.) She is sometimes stern but never shy.
Have your eyes rolled out of their sockets yet? Well, best to pick them up off the carpet, because this one only gets worse. Alongside the fawning anecdotes, the repeated use of the words “inspired,” “balanced,” “intense,” and “connected,” and oh yeah, some photos of the groom’s weird wedding slippers, NYT reporter Lois Smith Brady drops a bomb. Seriously, a bomb. Keep reading »
Every week, one couple is lucky enough to get prime real estate in the Vows section, the New York Times‘ wedding announcement page, where their romance is told in a long story, and friends and family contribute adorable anecdotes. I’ve read about many a bride and groom (or bride and bride, or groom and groom), but this might be the first I’ve read where the couple talked about their abortion.
Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat and Faith Rein, who married in August, were candid about an unintended pregnancy during her junior year of college. The couple’s reasons for terminating that pregnancy are common among many couples: it was simply a terrible time to take on the big responsibility of a child. Both were still completing their educations, had little money, and he was already caring for a child from a previous relationship. Rein was a campus track star at University of Florida in Gainesville, where Haslem played basketball. And Haslem, a self-described “Miami ghetto kid,” already had a son, Kedonis, from “a high school fling” who he was struggling to financially support. Keep reading »
There is nothing funny about the plight of China’s high tech workers. Employees who make iPhones and other tech devices for exportation overseas work long hours in difficult conditions with little compensation. Times reporter Dan Levin’s article, “The Demanding Off-Hour Escapes of China’s High-Tech Workers,” explores how these workers deal with their stresses and blow off steam. Not a particularly humorous subject, really.
Levin’s article opens with a description — noticed by an editor at Think Progress — that perfectly mimics one of “Saturday Night Live” character Stefon’s famous night club reviews:
“The hottest nightclub in this factory town is a neon-encrusted dive down the road from the industrial park where iPhones are made 24 hours a day. Tucked behind an open construction site, “Through the Summer,” as the nightspot is known, had it all on a recent Saturday night — plastic whistles, fruit plates, a toddler with a mohawk, counterfeit light sabers and a bawdy comedian who imbibed beer through his nose.”
We’re not sure if The New York Times was in on the joke (probs not, considering they believe women wear dresses is a wild breaking trend), or even if Dan Levin knew what he was doing, but either way, bravo! [New York Times via Huffington Post]
“That’s my son’s business … It’s not the public’s business. Jack Nicholson once told me: ‘You should never give your personal life away, otherwise people will pick you apart. They’ll never believe in your character.’ Women should have lots of secrets. It’s our right to have secrets. Otherwise, what would we write in our memoirs?”
– January Jones responds to being asked who the father of 20-month-old Xander is in her New York Times profile. Now I’m thinking is Jack Nicholson is the father, which would make for a great memoir. [NYTimes]