If readers would indulge a reminiscence, let me relate an incident from decades back, when I was working for Fairfax in New York and happened to be taking a late-night drink at a now-vanished watering hole on West 43rd Street, Gough’s Chophouse. A dark and smoky armpit of a joint, it was directly across the road from what was then the New York Times HQ and frequented, as on that Saturday evening, by “Timesmen” in their preppy weekend uniform of khaki trousers and Lacoste shirts (Timeswomen mostly had the good sense to steer clear). Fresh from putting the Sunday edition to bed, four of them were in an expansive mood and making a fair fist of four-part harmonies. Then a fifth Timesman arrived and added his voice to the barroom choir
The singing stopped on a dime. One of the quartet’s vocalists directed a withering glance at the latest tenor and said in that peculiar nasal honk which speaks of an Ivy League education, “We are Timesmen and we do things properly. If you can’t sing in tune, don’t sing at all.” His critique dripped with an arrogance verging on contempt. The Times must be a very peculiar place, I concluded.
The Times, these days singing from a different songbook, is still doing things “properly” — if the definition of proper is an astonishing eagerness to embrace and advance anti-Semitism. That’s Exhibit A above, published in the past few days by the paper that bills itself as the source of “all the news that’s fit to print”.
In the paper’s defence a Timesman might note that it remains exquisitely even-handed. While the cartoon would have gladdened the pages of Völkischer Beobachter, Washington reporter Maggie Haberman, a source of constant misinformation over the past two years about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, last week denounced the US President for siding with Nazis by playing “Edelweiss” at the White House.
German song + Donald Trump = Fascist tyranny from sea to shining sea. Obvious if you work for the Trump-deranged Times.
The truth, of course, is that Edelweiss was written for the Sound of Music and is an anti-Nazi song lamenting the Anschluss and the rise of Hitler.
You couldn’t make this stuff up, but at the New York Times, where singing in tune is obligatory, they do just that every day.
— roger franklin