Monday, April 10, 2006

# Posted 11:03 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

BEING THE BEST MEANS BEING A TARGET: It's not just OxBlog. Even moderate liberals love to bash the NY Times. This week, TNR devotes an entire cover story to mocking the Times' new "Thursday Styles" section. Apparently, "Styles" is devoted to investigative reports about where to buy the most luxurious mink coats and the most sophisticated European watches.

Sounds cool to me, but then again I'm an arch-capitalist. According to author Michelle Cottle:
Social consciousness for The Wall Street Journal may mean crushing the welfare state, but, for the Times, it means earnest editorials packed with noblesse oblige. (Classic snippet from last Thanksgiving: "There is no shame in the poverty Americans suffer today. The shame adheres to those who do nothing to change it.") Wretched consumer excess may be the American way, but is it really the paper of record's business to lend it respectability?
It's a delicious hatchet job, and I recommend it highly. Still, Cottle seems not to recognize that this sort of behavioral hypocrisy is nothing new. In fact, it's an old sort of politics called "limousine liberalism" or in Britain, "champagne socialism".

But to be fair, if you give enough to charity and work for good causes, you deserve to enjoy your wealth, even if you love Howard Dean.

And a bonus for all you Times-bashers: Slate trashes NYT book reviewer and BF0D (that's "best friend of Dowd") Michiko Kakutani.
(4) opinions -- Add your opinion

Actually, it isn't hypocrisy at all. There's no contradiction between liberal politics and wealth -- liberal politics doesn't call for the expropriation of the wealthy, but for moderate redistributive measures that would leave the wealthy less wealthy. Furthermore, regulation doesn't mean state ownership or banning. These are such obvious things to say that I'm yawning as I write them, but in the world in which the TNR criticizing liberals is supposed to be a big deal (hint: this has been TNR's meat and potatos since 1976), I suppose it comes as big news that liberalism doesn't equal communism.
I bet this site will soon discover that the NYT has a .... business section too! Wow, the world is vast.
I am a liberal. I do spend money on things I like - champagne included. I also volunteer 9 hours each week. Oh, and I happen to like Howard Dean. I am proud that I like Howard Dean. Why? I'm pretty sure that Dean wouldn't have forced his religious or moral values down my throat to stop me from getting married to another man, not through a constitutional amendment anyway. I am pretty sure that he wouldn't have appointed homophobes to the National AIDS Council; that his focus on national security wouldn't lend itself to the firing of gay Arabic translators at a time when there was a shortage of translators. Dean most likely wouldn't have recommendeded cutting food stamps and other social programs to make a half-assed attempt to reduce a miniscule portion of the ENORMOUS deficit. Should I go on?

PS. I like the NYT way better than the NY Post or Washington Times, but then again I also read the Economist and your Web site.
Roger, perhaps a distinction to keep in mind is the one between wealth and conspicuous consumption.

TNR also raises the issue of explicit contradictions within the NYT's approach to conspicuous consumption. Sometimes, it's "How can I buy a Fendi bag when this $4000 could feed so many Somalis?" And the next week it's "Fendi is so wonderful, how could I not spend $4000 on it?"
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