I have been known on occasion to read the New York Times. Generally I read about one article a month, maybe two, just to keep abreast on geopolitics. Maybe I’ll sprinkle in a couple of headlines for good measure. My reading schedule is mostly if not wholly dictated by the fact that I usually don’t have any idea what they’re talking about over there because they’re so smart.
I did get to see the main newsroom at the Times once, which is a lot dumpier than you’d imagine. Especially the big-time teleconference room with gross sweat stains on the backs of the chairs. I even got to go to the top floor and I heard Aurthur Sultzburger, that dirty billionaire, laughing in his office.
Once in a while I can find an article in Aurthur’s paper that’s short enough and not too full of big words that I can get through it beginning to end. Mostly after these times I have to take a shower.
The other day I found this one about all the surreal and mystical information coming out of Iraq: the country is on fire, the country is not on fire, the country blew up again, the country did not blow up again, Maliki is a wizard, no he’s not, etc.
You can read the whole thing, if you’re able, but this part in particular made me feel like I was "taking it to the next level" in my own NYT reading:
"Another difficulty for the United States is the remarkable weakness American officials seem to have for people who say what Americans want to believe about whatever country they happen to be in. The effect has been obvious at least since The Quiet American by Graham Greene, set in 1950s Vietnam, and Iraq has been fertile ground for this particular brand of bad information."
Now, besides being a very upstanding and neatly pressed point by genius and no doubt well-endowed Times reporter James Glanz, I realized that it’s also the rarest of thing’s — a relevant Iraq/Vietnam comparison.
I know Wolff Blitzer is contractually obligated to ask every General in the United States military whether we’re in another Vietnam over there in Eye-raq. But anyone who’s read even a little bit about Vietnam — or better yet has seen Platoon, which is a kick-ass movie; or P.O.W, which is another kick-ass movie – knows that what we got in Iraq ain’t no Vietnam. Not that it sucks any less — they suck equal. But the nature of the whup-assing on all sides is entirely different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges, Wiley Pete to cluster bombs, IED’s to B-52’s.
My point is, here comes my buddy Jimmy "Tight Pantz" Glanz — who I’m a big fan of by the way, even though this is the only thing I’ve ever read by him and probably the only thing I ever will — and he sifts through all the mystical bullshit for us and he hits us up with some truth, NYTimes style.
"BOOYAHHHH!!!" I started yelling on the subway train. "BOOYAHHHH, BOOYAHHHH, BOOYAHHHH!!!"
So given this breakthrough in my comprehension of this fantastic and informative newspaper, I resolve to try and read it every day.
And no, I haven’t read The Quiet American, and yes, I have owned it for more than five years. When they stop putting rad dudes like Bruce Willis or hot chicks like Heather Graham on the cover of Vanity Fair, then I’ll start reading Graham Greene. And not before.