Sunday, December 30, 2007

What the hell am I supposed to do with my Sunday without the New York Times???

This is the first Sunday I can remember that I haven't had a New York Times Crossword.

I have been a lifelong reader of the Grey Lady. It was in my home growing up, no matter where we lived.

Some families go to church on Sundays. In my family, we had a brunch feast, a stack of newspapers, and the coffee pot was replenished all day long. Anyone who wanted was allowed to stay in their jammies all day on Sunday, so long as they were chillin' - you got rowdy, you had to get dressed and go outside and leave everyone else the hell alone for a while. Every Sunday, our family room looked like a news stand exploded. Dad would go out early and get a stack of various newspapers, and a dozen donuts that he had been admonished to forgo. (My Mom was the original sugar-nazi. My Dad was the original resistance fighter.)

About the time I was 11, the Book Review became more interesting to me than the funny pages from the other four or five newspapers that were part of every Sunday in our house.

Around 13, I started scrapping for the crossword. (I'm a vicious little redhead - I usually won - just seconds ahead of getting kicked out of the house for excessive Sunday rambunctiousness.)

I am right smack in the middle of my forties. That's a long time to carry a habit and go cold turkey. I am in severe withdrawal. But I can not, in good conscience, ever spend one more dime on a New York Times, so long as Bill "The Bloody" Kristol is on their pages and their payroll.

This is the proverbial "straw that broke the camel's back" with me. Jayson Blair undermined their credibility severely. Judith Miller pissed me off no end and caused me to scale my subscription back to weekends only, after two decades of being a daily subscriber.

Between the twittering shrew MoDo, who confuses snark with insight; and Tom Friedman, who lost his freakin' mind somewhere between Beirut and Jerusalem, the opinion page has been hanging by a slender reed for some time.

There is still Kristof and Herbert - and they both bat a solid .500, often better. But really, when you get right down to it, the best thing that paper has had going for it for too freakin' long is Krugman. But the power trio isn't enough to keep me reading. Not with Bill "The Bloody" Kristol added to the mix. I simply can't abide it. The hand is, inexplicably, feeding the ungrateful cur that bit it.

Kristol has been consistent for several years now - he has been absolutely wrong about absolutely everything.

But I can find one bit of prognostication where he became right. In a Weekly Standard column in 2003, Kristol said something about the Times that became true the moment he was hired:

A great democracy like ours deserves a first-rate newspaper of record. And the New York Times isn't it.

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