The View of the World from Pinch Avenue

Just a reminder that they hate us, they really hate us:

“If it's Kansas, Missouri, no big deal. You know, that's the dance of the low-sloping foreheads. The middle places, right? ...Did I just say that aloud?”

Yes, yes you did -- and it's not the first time you've used that riff, either. If a quote falls on Friday night at 10:00 PM on HBO, no one will hear it, but fortunately, this one has been captured in handy embeddable video form.

The New York Times' David Carr drops the mask, and lives out artist Saul Steinberg's classic 1976 "View of the World from 9th Avenue" New Yorker cover. But the view from the Times' editorial bullpen is a curious paradox, isn't it? On an episode of Mad Men, I believe it was John Slattery's Roger Sterling character who quipped something like, "If only we didn't have to deal with clients, advertising would be a great business, eh?" Similarly, the New York Times wants to hold itself out as The Paper of Record -- yet absolutely loathes the people who consume their product -- and especially hates its potential readers, who have been driven away by such elitism.

In the aftermath of the 2004 election, James Lileks neatly summed up the attitude of coastal "progressives," in a sort of text version of Steinberg's cartoon:

Once upon a time the major media at least pretended that the heart & soul of the country was a porch in Kansas with an American flag. Now it’s the outlands, the Strange Beyond. They vote for Bush, they believe in God, they’d have to drive 2 hours for decent Thai. Who are these people?

The Times itself said nearly the same thing five years later -- too immersed in the View from Pinch Avenue to realize the irony of their insular worldview -- when they issued a press release on the latest nepotistic doings at the family business:

Young Sulzberger named NYT’s Kansas City correspondent

Arthur G. Sulzberger (left), son of the Times publisher, “may be hard pressed to find vegetarian food amid all the barbecue joints, but he’ll have no trouble finding stories,” says a Times memo.

“He has an eye for spotting unusual and compelling tales, and bringing them to life with deep reporting and lively writing.”

“Not to mention cliched adjectives”, Kathy Shaidle quipped at the time, adding, “Outside of Manhattan, ‘vegetarian food’ is widely available at things called ‘supermarkets.’”