The complicated healthcare crisis. The immigration ban. Anti-Semitic attacks at cemeteries. Trump's infuriating ongoing war with the media. The nightmare at the top of the Justice Department. Russia's interference in our election. These are just some of the important stories the NY Times has been vigorously covering in recent weeks, stories that affect the future of our country and represent the best of journalism today.
But we are not here to talk about an important story. We are here to talk about patchy beards and the men who struggle to grow them. Or, to be more precise, the singular man who somehow convinced the NY Times to let him post his Medium entry on their website.
— The Times Is On It (@NYTOnIt) February 28, 2017
Women: Let's discuss gender pay gap & workplace discrimination, sexual assault & DV, reproductive healthcare, safety for trans women.
— Sassy Little Hobbit (@LI_politico) February 28, 2017
There is a lifestyle story waiting to be written about "beard envy," which according to at least two coworkers of mine (NAMES REDACTED, but please go ahead and guess in the comments) is a real issue for some men (suggested headline: "This Men's Style Piece About Not Being Able To Grow A Beard Speaks To Me"). But that story might include talking to other human beings who have strong feelings about the issue, or maybe have "suffered" because of it. Perhaps that would mean speaking with experts (like say, a beard sculptor) about the very hairy societal pressure on men, or inquire about remedies or lack thereof (which has been done, but whatever). Instead, we have one man's incredibly boring diary ("Itchy! Beard oil a must!"), that passes neither the intellectual curiosity nor humor test. And somehow, he didn't even include any week-by-week pictures to complement the diary and demonstrate the lack of growth! The least he could have done, if the Times really was dedicated to shoving his patch problems down our throats, is humiliate himself for public consumption.
— Paul Moon (@TheNYCMoon) February 27, 2017
Mostly, as I read the piece, I wondered just how Moon was able to cajole the Times into publishing this. Does he know someone there? Is the Times so flush with money they're literally handing out little bundles on the street to anyone who has an idea for content? Can you even imagine the pitch letter on this one? Hashtag byline, hashtag beard, hashtag the balls to hashtag this "feature" and "news," hashtag patch problems.
Dear Mr. Times,
I was at my local saloon the other night, and I couldn't help but notice that everyone had facial hair but me. Can you believe it? This got me thinking about my facial hair and the fact I can't really grow it and the fact that people should know about this. I'd like to write 500 words on the subject, but make it seem like 100. By the way, I'm 27. Thanks for your consideration.
Pitch yourself with the confidence of a man who thinks the world wants to read about his patchy beard https://t.co/liZczihlgK
— Laurel Raymond (@RayOfLaurel) February 28, 2017
(I mean, this isn't terrible. It makes no sense why the Times published it, except maybe to fill some quota on frivolous stories for the week—and mind you, there are plenty of great frivolous stories we enjoy!—but this one certainly isn't harming anyone. Moon isn't a bad guy or anything, we don't mean to be TOO harsh toward him. But if you want a good chaser on this, please check out The Hairpin's response, which combines this piece with the NY Times' longtime love for pubic hair trend pieces.)
You might be thinking to yourself: well, that was silly, but at least the Style Section didn't publish an embarrassingly confusing piece in which it connected the drug war with premature ejaculation tips from mom. Oh, you've got to be shitting me.
Read this to the end and then pls try to explain to me what the hell it is https://t.co/8762Auaxkj
— Richard Lawson (@rilaws) February 28, 2017
Hold on, we have to dust this one off, it's been a few months since we've had reason to take it out of the garage. There it is:
PSA: The NY Times has a weakness for self-parodying trend-baiting, masochistic Millennial obsessing, and the perverse lifestyles of the filthy rich. If a reporter with the Real Estate, Style or Weekend sections approaches you about a story, just smile gently and run in the opposite direction. No one is forcing you to become representative of everything that everyone hates about New Yorkers.