On the Opinion Page: April 21, 2008


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

Paul Krugman/Running Out of Planet To Exploit

The Short Version: Let’s face it. We’re probably running out of oil.

In his words: “But this time may be different: concerns about what happens when an ever-growing world economy pushes up against the limits of a finite planet ring truer now than they did in the 1970s.”

Score: D (Deadly)
Like Krugman, we believe that oil is a finite resource and that inevitably higher prices are going to impact economies everywhere in different ways. Hey! We just explained this in twenty words, while Krugman doesn’t add much with an entire column at his disposal. We also didn’t enjoy the tone of his doomsday finale — “Don’t look now, but the good times may have just stopped rolling” — which struck us as smug, fatigued, artless and bitter.  

William Kristol/Exodus Exegesis 

The Short Version: Thank god for John McCain, who will surely bomb the shit out of all our our problems!

In his words: “Sacrifices for the sake of freedom, the triumph of good over evil — if John McCain was at a Seder this past weekend, he surely would have liked this passage: “In all ages they rise up against us to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, rescues us from their hands.”

The Score: F (Funny)
This column hilariously dissects the respective candidates’ Passover press releases to reinforce Kristol’s love of McCain (and the usual negative stereotypes of Clinton-the-stiff and Obama-the-ivory-tower-elitist). But still, our favorite part is at the end, when he mentions the candidates’ negligence in not mentioning the 233rd anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord, so they could have identified with “political liberation, religious freedom and — yes! — the right to bear arms.” More guns — yes! — will save the world!  

Roger Cohen/Of Wine, Haste and Religion

The Short Version: OMG! The waiters at a fancy Manhattan restaurant were pouring wine into my glass every time I turned by back. LOL!

In his words: “The uncharitable view would be that, guided by an acute understanding of the nature of commerce, servers are told by restaurant managers to hustle clients through a meal and as many bottles of wine as possible.”

The Score: D- (Deadly)
Cohen goes for laughs in this seriously unfunny rumination on Manhattan restaurant etiquette. Also! Is it just us, or did anyone else note his use of “unctuous” in the following: “Just as you prepare to dab bread into the unctuous leftover sauce from those slide-from-the-bone short ribs, the plate vanishes.” Oddly, we find it to be the perfect word to describe Cohen’s prose, but less than ideal for leftover sauce into which we might like to dip our bread.

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