May 25, 2001
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The Weekend section of today's New York Times carries a review of a show at the Brooklyn Museum of paintings by Leon Golub. The Times writes: "More grisly is the artist's four-painting 'Interrogation' series of the 1980's, presumably commenting on American military actions in Central America and representing a shift to more underground methods of combat."
The article continues: "'Interrogation I' (1981) shows two uniformed men, in shiny brown boots, confronting a nude body suspended upside down like a side of meat. One man approaches the victim with a stick; the other gestures complicitly . . . .In 'Interrogation III' (1980-81), the victim is a woman, mauled with seeming sexual intent by two clothed men as she sits nude, handcuffed, legs wide open, on a mat."
The notion that these "grisly" images of torture painted in 1980 and 1981 would be "presumably" commenting on "American military actions in Central America" is a typical example of the New York Times's attitude of loathing toward America and the American military. What sort of mind sees images of grisly torture or abuse and presumes that the perpetrator is the American military? Was the Carter administration that evil? Is it possible that some Central Americans who were brutal torturers were Communist and were not backed by the American military? Or that the torture was the result of the Soviet Union's military actions in Central America? Or that those to blame for the torture were the Central Americans themselves and not the American military? Smartertimes.com could probably guess what Leon Golub's attitude was toward American aid to Nicaraguan freedom fighters, but the point isn't his politics, it's the art. And the Times critic's use of the word "presumably" makes it clear that the politics and presumptions in evidence in this review are the newspaper's as much as the artist's.
Times Stumbles: A front-page article in today's New York Times reports that "A growing number of hospitals are becoming more powerful in their regions through mergers and acquisitions." The article says that, "In New York, Mount Sinai, New York Presbyterian and North Shore-Long Island Jewish extracted double-digit increases from some insurers in the most recent contracts."
This amounts to a front-page correction of the March 14, 2001, front-page New York Times story that ran under the headline, "Hospital Mergers Stumbling As Marriages of Convenience" and reported that "promises of financial triumph have been largely unrealized." The March 14, 2001, Smartertimes.com had pointed out the problem with the March 14 Times story, but it took the New York Times another two months to figure out what was going on.
Sabbath Eve: A dispatch from Jerusalem in the international section of today's New York Times reports, "As the eve of Sabbath, Thursday is the favored night for weddings in Israel." The Jewish Sabbath begins at sundown Friday and lasts through Saturday, so it's a bit strange to describe Thursday as the eve of Sabbath. Many Jews consider Friday the eve of Sabbath, and Thursday as the day before the eve of Sabbath.
Brownout: The metro section of today's New York Times carries a profile of divorce lawyer Myrna Felder. The article says, "She entered Brown at 16, graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1961." Maybe, but given that Pembroke College and Brown didn't fully and officially merge until 1971, the sentence will probably make those who are familiar with Brown's history stop briefly to remember that.
Holiday Weekend: Smartertimes.com will be traveling in California this weekend. The next guaranteed regular update of Smartertimes.com will be Tuesday morning; the site may be updated before then, but probably only if the Times does something so egregious that it warrants interrupting a long weekend.
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