Friday, November 07, 2008

What are we coming to?

Weekus Horribilis continues, mitigated only by the election results. Wednesday morning I wake up, get out of bed, drag a comb across my head. Make my way downstairs to buy a coffee and The Times. Plenty of coffee. No Times. I walk around a bit, looking here and there. No Times. A Post, yes, but no Times. Wounded, I stop at that diner between 8th and 9th and have two over easy, sausage, hash browns, small o.j., more coffee and an English muffin with jelly ($5.55) and read my Post. Later I go to Manhatten, thinking surely there would be one to be had there. But no. Today, however, I see, via a large ad in the sports section of an issue of The Times that I can buy, that Wednesday's issue is, in fact, available in limited quantities for $14.95.
Regarding that last sentence, a quick reference to Margalit Fox's obituary of John Leonard, if I may. She writes, in part: Mr. Leonard’s prose was known not only for its erudition, but also for its sheer revelry in the sounds and sentences of English. Stylistic hallmarks included wit, wordplay, a carefully constructed acerbity and a syntax so unabashedly baroque that some readers found it overwhelming. The comma seemed to have been invented expressly for him.

I'm not convinced that Mr. Leonard, of whom I was fond in the way we can be fond of people we've never met, cornered the market on commas. Or, more to the point, perhaps it is up to me, him now dead, to don the mantle; to carry the torch; to interrupt every sentence at least once. Throw in some wit and erudition as necessary.

Sleep deep, old soldier. Thy sword is safe.

Anyway, whom, by the way, are they fooling with the $14.95 number? In these cynical times, haven't we all stopped being fooled by the notion that $14.95 is a price somehow more desirable than fifteen bucks? That $14.95 is, given the functional worth of a single nickle, a price that will motivate us to buy something we would not, if priced at $15.00, buy? Fuck you. Pricing it at $14.95 is just as loathesomely disingenuous as Fox News calling itself "Fair and Balanced." Fox News has every right to program itself as a mouthpiece of the Right. And it has every right to suggest they are doing this because somebody has to offer a counterpoint to the allegedly left-leaning mainstream media. And, because of some vague verbiage in either the Constitution or one of its Amendments, it can call itself fair and balanced if it wants to. But surely nobody believes it.

And by it, I am not to their editorial position. Plenty of people (plus some of the slower breeds of dog--golden retrievers and that ilk) believe that. But fair and balanced? Really?

It makes me angry.

God save the Queen.


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