Goodbye, New York Times


The only newspaper to which I subscribe – in the sense that there’s actually an ink-and-newsprint newspaper outside my door in the morning – is the Financial Times.  I began buying it some years ago because I liked the crossword puzzle.  Then, gradually, I found its dry British take on world politics far more appealing than the MacWorld version offered by American news sources, and its business coverage was intricate and mysterious.  I don’t know much about economics, but I have always been intrigued by the subject, and I always feel, when I read FT articles about the future of the Euro or the BRICs or Emerging Markets or black swans that I am trembling on the edge of recognition and understanding. 



Also, I like the salmon-tinted paper it’s printed on.  (Somebody on the bus asked me once: “What’s the matter with your newspaper, mister?  It’s a funny color.”)



Then, of course, there is the New York Times



I have been a faithful follower of the NYT (both print and online) for many years.  It has nourished me in many ways.  I like its rhythm: world news, national news, local (meaning New York City) news, op-ed, culture.  It’s unabashedly liberal, and I welcome its confirmation of my beliefs and prejudices (as do we all).  And the writing is generally excellent.



A little less than a year ago, the NYT announced that its website would no longer be free.  For full access, you have to cough up fifteen bucks a month.  (That’s just digital access, mind you.  A lot of porn sites cost less than that.  Don’t ask me how I know.)  You can still read twenty articles a month for free; you can also access the Times through search engines, etc.  But if you want to romp around on their websites – culture, videos, travel, food, movies, editorials, all the things they do so well – you have to pay.



Hm, I thought back in February 2011, and prepared to do without.



Then, for no apparent reason, the Cadillac division of General Motors (with which I have no real connection) gifted me via email with a nine months’ online subscription.



It expired on December 31.



Goodbye, Maureen Dowd and Gail Collins, both of whom I read consistently, and often laughed aloud as I did so, and quoted their nastier/funnier lines to my friends.  If I were a conservative (shiver!), I would probably find them strident and silly, kind of like the way I actually feel about Rush Limbaugh.  But I agree with them.  So nyah nyah!



Goodbye, David Brooks and Ross Douthat.  The former is a cheesy social critic who plays Edmund Burke, but not very well; the latter is the token-conservative editorialist, who takes a topic – like, let’s say, Ron Paul – and finds something to like in him after all.  Also, Ross is Catholic (but then again, in his columns, he almost always reminds you of that). 



Goodbye, Bill Cunningham, bicycling around New York and taking photos of people and their outfits.  May you live forever.



Goodbye, Mark Bittman.  You got a little Hollywood over the past few years, but your writing is excellent and your recipes are very good. 



Goodbye, Frank Bruni.  He used to do restaurant reviews; now he does general (and often political) commentary, and does it very well. 



Goodbye, Seth Kugel, the Frugal Traveler, so much better and more entertaining than the guy who was the Frugal Traveler before him.



Goodbye Nick Kristof and Paul Krugman, for cheerfully leading me into the coming political / economic apocalypse.  You’ve both been right consistently.  Keep at it.



And all the rest.



I’ll still be checking in, maybe twenty times a month, or maybe more.



(Is $15/month too much to pay?  Maybe.  We’ll see.  I may start jonesing for Gail and Maureen and Paul and Frank in a few months and give in.)



But for now: goodbye, my dear and lovely friends, goodbye.



About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

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