Who Tells Them Things They Don’t Want to Hear? – by Freddie deBoer – Freddie deBoer. I really can’t keep track of which Substack postings are paywalled and which are freely available, but it’s worth trying to click on this for a takedown of the sick culture at the New York Times (by someone who, like me again on a special offer, reads it).
If you’re new around here, the basic scenario is that we’ve had a years-long moral panic in which elite white tastemakers adopted the political posture of radical Black academics out of purely competitive social impulses, trying on a ready-made political eschatology that blames the worlds ills on whiteness and men and yet somehow leaves space for an army of good white people and good men to cluck their tongue about it all. Concurrently, the most influential paper in the world emerged from decades of fiscal instability by going hard on digital subscriptions, paywalling more and more of its content and rattling its tin cup more loudly than ever before. The result has been boom times, attenuated only by the end of the immensely lucrative Trump years. (I believe Chris Hayes is covering Trump’s latest spray tan tonight.) The trouble is that this model leaves them even more dependent on a particular social and political caste, namely the educated white professional class that graduates from top 25 universities, moves to Echo Park or Andersonville or Austin, then sends Zane and Daschel to pre-K that costs more than their Audi. Oh and they, like, care about justice and stuff. Conservatives hate-read the NYT and thus have traditionally brought in advertising revenue, but they don’t hate-subscribe, and the end result is that a paper that was about a 6.5 on a ten-point Liberal Elite Scale when I was a kid has moved to a 9.5. And there’s nothing internal to the publication that can stop this leftward march.
You’re unconvinced. Perhaps you work for the New York Times itself. Well then, tell me: who at the paper now would feel empowered to write the piece I’ve just written?
(Two hyphens added). This barely scratches the surface, as only later does Freddie discuss the internal toxicity.
So why does he still read it?
Here’s where I have to insert the caveat that I don’t think and have never suggested that crowdfunded media can replace the basic newsgathering function of newspapers and that the NYT in particular still serves a vital function in its fundamental reportorial duties.
Of course, you could just subscribe and get Freddie in full days before I blog a link (and links that I don’t blog).
Google’s CAPTCHA images … weren’t taken by humans, and they weren’t taken for humans. They are by AI, for AI. They thus lack any sense of human composition or human audience. They are creations of utterly bloodless industrial logic. Google’s CAPTCHA images demand you to look at the world the way an AI does.
Clive Thompson, Why CAPTCHA Pictures Are So Unbearably Depressing
Spotted on one of the only two social media where I have accounts:
Delete LinkedIN!?! But how will I leverage my unique value proposition of digital transformation across multi-discipline sectors?
Homophobia: Being more hostile to homosexuals than is absolutely necessary. (Andrew Sullivan, Homosexual)
I loved playing with Keith and the band — I still do — but I wasn’t interested in being a pop idol sitting there with girls screaming. It’s not the world I come from. It’s not what I wanted to be, and I still think it’s silly.
Charly Watts, Rolling Stones Drummer, quoted in his New York Times obituary.
“Modern conditions” are treated as fixed, though the very word “modern” implies that they are fugitive. “Old ideas” are treated as impossible, though their very antiquity often proves their permanence.
G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong With the World?