Thursday, October 17, 2019

arrogance near and far

Arrogance is an interesting commodity ... one of which I am all too capable.

Still, didja ever wonder about the New York Times -- a diminishing bulwark in the American journalistic world -- and the fact that to this very day, it still bears the quote of one of its scions ... on the front page .... every day:
"All the News
That's Fit to Print"
When I was growing up in the 1940's and imagined that newspapers were for grown-ups, the U.S.S.R. had somewhere between 10 and 13 time zones (depending on who was counting and how) and yet on any given day, the newspaper might run precisely NO stories about our storied enemy. None. Zero. Zilch. 200 plus-or-minus million population and not one story fit to print? 13 fucking time zones.

Adolph S. Ochs, the owner of the Times, coined the phrase in 1897 as a means of stating the impartiality of his product. It may ring tinny these days, but by 1897, European countries had gathered in Berlin (1885) to divvy up the colonial spoils of Africa. Where there were no boundaries, the countries drew the lines in ... straight lines that remain today as markers of colonial arrogance. It wouldn't do for gentlemen to squabble over the spoils.

The late 1800's and early 1900's were likewise the time when men might gather for cigars after dinner and chortle about the notion of a Mother's Day. What did women -- then often seen as chattel -- expect? Their job was to make and care for babies ... and move on. Vote? Forgetaboutit!

My mother once said that if women reporters were going to be dismissed as "news hens," shouldn't men reporters be known as "news cocks?" It was a time of men and cigars and slavery and ... arrogance.

But no one who's in the throes of arrogance -- liberal, conservative, whatever -- ever imagined his or her approach might be arrogant. Oh no ... my approach is caring and thoughtful and sensitive whereas yours ... well, I'm not so sure about that.

Takes me back to school days:
I love myself
I think I'm grand.
I go to the movies
And hold my hand.
I put my arm
Around my waist.
And when I'm fresh,
I slap my face.

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