Monday, May 8, 2017

We Are Not Amused

 In the spirit of the establishment sourness I wrote about the other day, the New York Times Division of Standards and Practices has seen fit to axe two of my published comments in the past week. Since I only submitted three comments during this time frame, this amounts to a record 66% rejection rate.

My first censored comment was in response to a very bland editorial chiding Barack Obama for his unseemly demand for $400,000 per speech. I pointed out that the much more popular Michelle is only getting $200,000 for her gigs, a dismal half of what her husband earns. "What ever happened to equal pay for equal work?" I asked rhetorically. "We should all be out marching in the streets to protest this terrible inequity!"

The Gray Lady apparently does not like sarcasm and snark. If one cannot in good conscience rush to the defense of the greedy and the powerful, then one must be careful to vent one's criticism sincerely, respectfully and responsibly.

My second censored comment (to a Maureen Dowd column about Trump being a threat to public health) was very censorious of Donald Trump and the House GOP's vote to gut health care coverage. Although I never thought it was possible to be too rude to Donald Trump, especially in the liberal New York Times, it turns out I was very wrong. Just because one is upset that the cartoonish Donald Trump was gleefully celebrating the premature deaths of tens of millions of Americans is no reason to compare the shape of Trump's head to that of a cartoon character.

Oddly enough, though, my comment was allowed to stand for a full 24 hours and glean more than 1,000 reader recommendations before it was disappeared. So in this case, the removal could either be the result of the first three shifts of censors being asleep at the moderating switch, or too many sensitive readers signaling their displeasure too many times over the course of the day.

Here's what was deemed so offensive. (I thought to make a copy of it) -
That photo of Sponge Don Squarehead saluting his orchestra of smirking white male supremacists speaks a thousand ugly words. But it's concert master Paul Ryan who really takes the cake for one of the most comprehensively deadly eugenics initiatives in modern history. That he had the nerve to preen and simper before the cameras is terrifying evidence of a truly depraved mind.

Second only to Trump and Ryan in horrible optics was Ivanka, smiling banally as she and Prince Jared watched the final House vote on TV. She should write a sequel to her book, about how working moms can creatively scrimp by forgoing health insurance. She could include tips on the best name brand pliers for self-help dentistry, maybe even start her own line of suture threads in the latest fashionable colors to avoid those unnecessary ER trips with the kiddies.

But even if the Senate refuses to rubber-stamp the AHCA, that still leaves 30 million people without health insurance and tens of millions more saddled with unconscionably high premiums and deductibles. And since Trump is only interested in winning at all costs, he should put his presidential mouth where his private citizen mouth used to be. He should demand Medicare for All. Everybody covered from cradle to grave. No predatory private insurance middle men. No pre-existing conditions. It's all paid for with a progressive income tax and a tax on high speed Wall Street trades. It will make Americans feel great again and add years to our lives.
On second thought, maybe the Times censored me because I just won't shut up about Single Payer health care, which has been officially censored from the agenda of the corporate Democratic Party.

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paintedjaguar said...

It's fine to disrespect Trump. But not an Intellectual Property. And there are plenty of people at places like the Times who take any mention of single payer as disrepecting Hillary and Obama.

Jay–Ottawa said...

To race or not to race: that is the question….

Suppose you had a racehorse so fast it won by three or four lengths every time in the friendly trials with neighboring stables. People with good stopwatches said your filly beat the best times of the horses who run for money.

One day, you decide to run your filly on the big track before the crowds. Trouble is, you had heard these big tracks were run by shady figures. According to people whose word you trusted, just about all the races were fixed. But, hey, what a beautiful track, what prize money, and what a big crowd see that filly fly.

So you enter the horse. As expected, as foretold, as you were warned by your good neighbors, your horse was scratched by the authorities due to an unfortunate mix-up of blood vials. Accidents happen. The next time, your filly got as far as the starting gate, but it never opened for your filly's stall. Better luck next time.

The next time, no drug test mix-ups, no starting gate malfunction, and your filly was off with the pack. Before the horses began to stretch out to run their game plans, two horses raced ahead then slowed to block the way for your darling, as if they didn't care about finishing the race. A foul, a fix, but the judges never took note. The big track owners, Slim and his pals in the glassed in stands, are always smiling.

How many times going through this ordeal would you continue to risk your horse and continue to pose the same question: To race or not to race against the money horses; to write or not to write for the great big audience called the Times?

Zee said...


Even though we disagree on many things, I nevertheless truly enjoy your writing. You clearly dedicate a great deal of thought and research to your posts before “sounding off,” and in doing so—as I have said before—you often save ME a great deal of reading and research.

I also greatly enjoy your encyclopedic memory for quotes and images that make a mockery of the powers that be, your sharp wit and clever turn of phrase, and your compassion for our human species—that gives me pause to wonder if it is sorely lacking in myself. (But then, of course, I usually come to my senses!)

You dedicate the same amount of effort to your comments on New York Times articles—when you are kind enough to reproduce them in your posts, as I don’t follow the NYT at all closely.

It is unfortunate for the Times’ readership that your comments are occasionally (Often?) “disappeared.” But hey, you had 1,000+ “reader recommends” on one comment before you got “the axe,” didn’t you? Clearly, you had an audience and an impact! That is not “to be sneezed at!”

If I understand Jay correctly, he’s suggesting that you should stop bothering to contribute your comments to a so-called “newspaper” where “the fix is already in.” (Or thoughts/words to that effect.)

So what are you to do? Offer your thoughts only in venues (Echo chambers?) where they will be happily accepted along with thousands of similar, self-reinforcing remarks?

I say, “No!”

Better to run against the current and occasionally be rejected or “disappeared,” than to run with the (oft-)misguided herd or, worse yet, not to “run” at all.

Keep at it.

Karen Garcia said...

I have cut way back on reading the NYT and way, way, way back on submitting comments, which used to be something of a hobby if not an obsession of mine. It's been scientifically established that the brain produces little spurts of dopamine for every "like" or "recommend" which you receive on social media. So yes, it is both a physical and mental addiction which I have largely been able to overcome. What made it immensely easier for me was when the Times changed its publication time of the op-eds to 3:30 a.m. my time zone. No way was I going to set my clock to get my fix and ruin my health. It is quite surprising that some of the "regular" commenters still do get up before dawn in order to be the first in line. More power to 'em, I guess. I still very occasionally post in the middle of the night if I am in pain and can't sleep - but other than that, fuggedaboutit. I am perfectly happy writing blog posts on Sardonicky during mostly normal hours!

Zee said...

Hi, Karen--

Under no circumstances should you be commenting on Times articles at the risk of your health! And it sounds as though you have decided that even READING the Times could be harmful to your health and have therefore cut back on that, as well,

I, too, have been trying to cut back altogether on reading the regular "news," which is why, as i said, I have been grateful for your "abstracts."

Between "all Trump, all the time" and Hillary's never-ending, non-apologies, Republican follies and bogus Democratic "resistance," I'm heartily sick of it all, But having been essentially house-bound from mid-March until last week, and with reading of real books nearly impossible, what was I going to do?

Keep your blog going and comment elsewhere only when you are able!

Jay–Ottawa said...

Somebody from Down Under sent me this news. Way, way off topic. Sorry.

The 1st passenger said, "I am Steph Curry, the best NBA basketball player. The Warriors and my millions of fans need me, and I can't afford to die." So he took the 1st pack and left the plane.

The 2nd passenger, Donald Trump, said, "I am the newly-elected U.S. President, and I am the smartest President in American history, so my people don't want me to die." He took the 2nd pack and jumped out of the plane.

The 3rd passenger, the Pope, said to the 4th passenger, a 10 year old schoolboy, "My son, I am old and don't have many years left. You have more years ahead so I will sacrifice my life and let you have the last parachute."

The little boy said, "That's okay, Your Holiness, there's a parachute left for you. America 's smartest President took my schoolbag."

Zee said...


Where Donald Trump's reputed intellect is concerned, there's ALWAYS room for humor--so you're not at all "off-topic" IMHO.

Great joke! I will tell it often--with a little embellishment--just as I regularly tell your "Fix-It Engineer in Hell" joke with the "lawyer" punchline!