Saturday, August 27, 2011
Is "Grey Lady" really an alien publication?
In fact, one might say that what the Kardashians are to the supermarket-checkout magazines, aliens are to Times columnists.
First up was Paul Krugman, who went on Fareed Zakaria’s CNN show last weekend to suggest that what this country really needs is the threat of an invasion from space to get us moving again:
“If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and, really, inflation and budget deficits took secon-dary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, ‘Oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens,’ we’d be better [off].”
Not the Times newsroom: But this scene from a Roswell museum reflects the editors’ new fixation.
This scenario, the Nobel Prize-winning economist explained, came courtesy of a fine old TV program not usually associated with Nobel Prize-winning economists: “There was a ‘Twilight Zone’ episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time ... we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.”
Krugman wants the government to spend America out of the doldrums with a second massive stimulus and for the Federal Reserve to inflate our currency to help that happen.
His point seems to be that if we had absolutely no regard for the potential consequences of such spending and inflation (since we thought the world was going to end) the country would benefit.
But why he thought it would be a good argument for fiscal stimulus that we should live as though we’re in a science-fiction disaster movie in which Morgan Freeman is our president -- rather than the real-life disaster we’re living through with Barack Obama as our president -- well, maybe you need a Nobel to be smart enough to understand.
Then came yesterday’s early release on the Web of outgoing Times editor Bill Keller’s Sunday column. It is a column about religious faith and the candidates running for president. Keller starts off as follows:
“If a candidate for president said he believed that space aliens dwell among us, would that affect your willingness to vote for him? Personally, I might not disqualify him out of hand ... But I would certainly want to ask a few questions. Like, where does he get his information? Does he talk to the aliens? Do they have an economic plan? Yet when it comes to the religious beliefs of our would-be presidents, we are a little squeamish about probing too aggressively.”
Yes, the editor of the New York Times has written a column likening belief in the Almighty to the opinion that “space aliens dwell among us.”
Oh, it’s not that he’s biased or anything. After all, he writes, “every faith has its baggage ... I grew up believing that a priest could turn a bread wafer into the actual flesh of Christ.”
That hundreds of millions of people believe that still -- they’re called Catholics -- seems not to occur to Keller. Why should it?
He relinquished his job to Jill Abramson, who told her own paper upon hearing the news of her ascension, “In my house growing up, ... the Times substituted for religion. If the Times said it, it was the absolute truth.”
The Times still substitutes for religion, Jill. It substitutes space aliens.