The New York Times Style…An Oxymoron

May 24, 2009Fashion
This is the lead picture in the Style section. Boy, the old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be.

This is the lead picture in the Style section. Boy, the old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be.

I’m an avid New York Times reader. The Grey Lady has been etched in my mind as the “go to” publication (now website) for vital information, news of the day, critical opinions, the barometer of the zeitgeist. However, the Style section is so out of touch and not interesting, that it boggles the mind. Today’s lead story declares this is the “Age of Nice”. First of all, how is that style? The article points out the lamest reasons too:

  1. Because Kris Allen won American Idol? OK, so a few thousand Republicans manifested automatic phone dialers, this represents a movement towards nice? If you think about the motivation of these phone-a-holics, nice would not be the word that comes to mind.
  2. Another reason is that Paul Rudd now has a successful career. Stupid comedies like 40 Year Old Virgin and I Love You Man does not prove that nice is the new black. It re-affirms that the movie going public leans towards lo-brow and great movies don’t get made because there is no viable audience beyond tit jokes or bang-bang shoot ‘em up. Nice? I’d say misogynistic or  violent. Paul Rudd has a good career because he is talented and has been around for years. So a few movies were made that had a dorkier lead. Nice? Hollywood? Can you put those two words in the same sentence? No.
  3. Some woman in New Jersey had a door held open for her. This triggered a reaction to start a blog (whatever) about nice gestures and links to nice stories because she “wanted to create an oasis of good vibes online”. Boy, she’ll never link to I MEAN…WHAT?!? Excuse me, some one had manners, a person held an elevator door? That’s what I call good upbringing. Not a trend. On the contrary, more of good upbringing needs to be instilled in these new parents as opposed to the endless mollycoddling and negotiating with horrendous brats. (I just got off a pane last night and these parents were so annoying and failing miserably, I wanted to turn around and slap their needy brat.) As you can see, I have good upbringing.

When I go to The New York Times Style section, I want to read a story about a fabulous designer, learn about a fierce new product, read an interview with a tastemaker, get a sense of new wardrobe options, etc. Not read about utter nonsense. And by the way, throwing in a few gay weddding photos does not cutting-edge make. Today’s Vow’s entry centers on two women who got engaged on their second date. Gee, a U-Haul lesbian love story…now there’s a new one. Arthur, you’re newspaper is in trouble…maybe because the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be. Rather then spend all your resources on the new building, perhaps spending some time and money or revamping your Style section is well advised. It’s long overdue.


11 Responses to “The New York Times Style…An Oxymoron”

  1. Irene Dakota says:

    And then to add insult to injury. There is a letter raising the delivery rates for the second time in 6 months!!!!

  2. soooo agree. i would love to give some of my 2 bits..

  3. Ericka says:

    First of all, 'U-Haul lesbian love story' made me laugh out loud. Classic!

    Second, I have a bad reaction to the word 'nice'. hate it. I think it stems from an interview Cher did ages ago where she said "Nice is kind of a boring thing. There are lots of things I would like to be, and nice just doesn't seem good enough." And I realized how weak that work sounded. Granted, I was all of about 15 at the time, and my mom was not too thrilled to have her daughter going around saying she did not aspire to be 'nice', but that wasn't what I took from it. There are so many things you can be. Thoughtful, kind, respectful, etc. Nice just seems like the bare minimum.

    Glad your travel was safe, even if it wasn't child free….

  4. Ernest says:

    The Style section has be going down hill for a long time. Did Any one read Cathy Horyn's column "Your Choosy. So Are We." in a recent past 'Thursday Styles' section of The New York Times? What world does she live in? The column is about stylists shopping for mature women who are buying less but not cutting back on quality – – $3500 bomber jackets, $690 scarf, $2600 dress, $995 pants, and on and on.

    "Choosey" is not the word, "Stupid" would be a better fit. Like a mature woman has to spend that kind of money on over priced designer clothing that will most likely end up at Loehmann's? Does she really have to spend $3,025 on a Rick Owens washed-leather jacket and a $1655 L Wren Scott silk tie blouse to think well of herself? Where does quality end, and conspicuous consumption begin?

    Cathy Horyn is a good writer, but really does not have a clue about fashion.

  5. Xenia says:

    Thank you for mentioning the manners. Nowadays we expect niceness to be 'rewarded'. No one punishes a pushy patron for all the dollars and cents they might lose. I wish we were a culture in which you were fined for placing orders while on your cell phone or forgetting to mention please or thank you instead of one in which gestures like holding the door become NY Times-worthy. Everything you said is true. If we don't expect more from the NY Times and each other, then who will?

  6. jules says:

    Once again, you read my thoughts. There is no such thing as nice, and I shudder when I hear 13 year old girls, in airports stating that word, with a few, "likes" in between. And the Lesbian story, why, why, did they play into such stereotypes. I am enjoying The Week and Review and aghast I!!), the business section, which has lost its arrogance…did anyone read the Decline & Fall, a view from 2089…brilliant.

  7. Princesspost-trend says:

    As an alumna of the New York Times Styles section and as someone who abdicated years ago due to utter head scratching "huh?" what kind of old tired nonsense does my editor want… I TOTALLY AGREE. Aside from Guy Trebay's smart socio-economic eye to the bubble we've lived in, it's complete GARBAGE. Cathy Horyn's blog reeks especially of recycled trash. **But I will give Bill Cunningham props for snapping those off the cuff photos and still getting so damn excited about young hot chicks in dangerous weapon heels or old ladies in drag with their dogs. He's TOPS. He needs a video show. But the Gray Lady is close to the grave. Poor ol' thing.

  8. Susan Boyd says:

    Couldn't agree more – I thought the whole column was fatuous and in fact was SO bored reading it that I abandoned it – like so many columns in that section….

  9. alexandra says:

    I totally agree.Manners should be about being raised well not a 'trend'. I picked it up and couldn't even read the section. There was nothing of style substance to read! Come on times, bring it back!

  10. Jed says:

    The 'Age of Nice' sounded not only artificial, but pathetic too. Written by someone who simply have no clue…or even if she has some clues, they are all worthless.

    Imagine her buying winter clothes on her way to Saudi Arabia or Oman… Hmm, she can be nice if she'll donate them to the locals. At 50 degrees Celsius, everyone will simply appreciate her for being NICE.

    As someone said earlier, she maybe a good writer, but a fashion/style expert? A big No!

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