On the Opinion Page: April 11, 2008

11Apr08

In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Paul Krugman/Health Care Horror Stories

The Short Version: Health care is a disaster! (Barrack blows, vote for Hillary!)

In his words: “You may think that this was an extreme case, but stories like this are common in America.”

Score: D (Dour)
We’re not sure who Krugman envisions as his readership, but we’re fairly confident that 98 percent of them (us) are more than familiar with how shitty (yet! expensive) health care is these days (as a rule with obvious exceptions). Nor do we think the marginal differences in the Clinton and Obama health-plan proposals justifies excoriating one at the expense of the other. Finally, Krugman would be well served to stop writing things like this: “[W]hile it’s true that hospitals will treat anyone who arrives in an emergency room with an acute problem — and it’s wonderful that they will — it’s also true that hospitals bill patients for emergency-room treatment.” (Emphasis ours.) Is it really wonderful that an emergency room will treat an emergency? Or is Krugman being sarcastic? Yikes — who knows? — get us away from this column!

David Brooks/The Great Forgetting

The Short Version: I’m very funny when I write about a “sadult” topic like memory loss! (Let me impress you with some fifty-cent words, too!)

In his words: “In the era of an aging population, memory is the new sex.”

The Score: D (Depressing)
Brooks’ periodic attempts to be funny always depress us: although we understand the humor, he never makes us laugh! Most obviously we’re sick of anything being “the new sex,” and Brooks’ anecdote about being trapped in a grocery store with an obnoxious “Proustian bully” leaves us asking why he feels so obligated to be polite, which leads to uncomfortable questions about Brooks’ ass-kissing/social-climbing tendencies.  (Call us humorless, but we also resent his simple-minded characterization of Proust.) Finally, although we’re impressed with Brooks’ ability to trot out words such as “hippocampically” and “lagniappe,” it doesn’t exactly fit the picture of one supposedly bemoaning mental failure.

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One Response to “On the Opinion Page: April 11, 2008”

  1. 1 James van Maanen

    Hi, TGR–
    I am beginning to enjoy your comments about the NY Times Opinion pages as much as I enjoy (well, sometimes) the NY TImes opinion pages themselves. Keep ’em coming!
    –Jim V.


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