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March 29, 2011

vomit and the new york times

When the AW and I went to Mardi Gras, it didn't take me long to discover the splendors of having cash in my wallet. (Dial down your expectations. This story isn't that good.) I enjoyed the sweaty, teeming masses doing shots of Jaeger out of test tubes and competing for beads, but only to a point. Mardi Gras is insanely crowded and unclean. Strangers are jostling you, sexually assaulting your girlfriend, and covering your shoes with excrement and vomit. But at any given time, a sparkling refuge is but five feet away.

All you have to do is be willing to pay.


Duck into any store or restaurant, and the masses vaporize. Causation is hard to determine, but generally speaking, people who defecate on Iberville St. aren't the same people who can afford dinner at Arnaud's. I felt a little guilty about reveling in such class distinctions, but not for long. Having to scrape off your shoes before entering a store does that to a man.

Back then, I called this practice "pricing out the cretins." Now I call it "subscribing to the New York Times."

While the masses pitch fits about the audacity of the Times' charging for the content they paid their employees to create, I can't type my credit card number fast enough. I am scraping off my shoes and ducking into the Times' store front.


I love me some free content. I read reams of it every day, some of it even created by non-Canadians. But I increasingly mourn what's been lost. The traditional old-media gatekeepers of information might have annoyed me once, but that was a lifetime ago. Since then, the definition of "annoying" has radicalized. Every ill-read jagov with an axe to grind has a web page that validates like-thinking preliterates, and I tire of wading through their intellectual debris. Getting my news is like slogging through sand. Meanwhile, the New York Times has more employees fact-checking their letters to the editor than the Huffington Post has employees.

There are some, for certain, who will roll their eyes at my arguments and deem me a relic. Only they would spell it "there" eyes. Perhaps they are right. Perhaps there is no merit whatsoever in fact-checking. Or in journalism crafted by educated professionals adhering to some semblance of standards. Perhaps the democratization of information miraculously hasn't introduced all the agendas, shrillness and stupidity inherent in democracies. Perhaps they are right and I am wrong.

But then again, I'm the one willing to pay money to keep their vomit off my shoes, aren't I?

My god, the Times is putting up a paywall? Can they please charge more?

posted by john at 8:13 AM  â€¢  permalink