Monday, February 05, 2007

Count on the New York Times for the party line on every page

In the bad old days before Ronald Reagan kicked the Russian commies' butts, it was always amusing to read the English version of Pravda. Since it was the official paper of the Soviet Communist party it had to toe the party line, but you never actually knew how the most ordinary daily events would translate in light of the wacky wisdom of prevailing Marxist-Leninist norms.

The reason that I mention it is that reading the New York Times these days produces a similar effect. If you doubt it, just check out apparatchik Stuart Elliott's protracted whine from today's New York Times' purported "Business" section entitled Super Bowl Ads of Cartoonish Violence, Perhaps Reflecting Toll of War:

No commercial that appeared last night during Super Bowl XLI directly addressed Iraq, unlike a patriotic spot for Budweiser beer that ran during the game two years ago. But the ongoing war seemed to linger just below the surface of many of this year’s commercials.
Er, how's that exactly, Stu?

More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
Gosh! I guess no Kumbaya, tofu, or PBS pledge drive in sight at the Superbowl has ole Stu's panties tightly knotted over his perceived brutalization of the American people defending themselves from Islamic thugs.
For instance, in a commercial for Bud Light beer, sold by Anheuser-Busch, one man beat the other at a game of rock, paper, scissors by throwing a rock at his opponent’s head.

In another Bud Light spot, face-slapping replaced fist-bumping as the cool way for people to show affection for one another. In a FedEx commercial, set on the moon, an astronaut was wiped out by a meteor. In a spot for Snickers candy, sold by Mars, two co-workers sought to prove their masculinity by tearing off patches of chest hair.
I'm sure that's heap bad mojo for "sensitive guys" like Stu but sobbing over his delicate nature isn't an overly convincing argument. Unfortunately there's lots more wimpy whining before ole Stu finally approaches the vicinity of what appears to be his point and brings us the word from Party Chairman Pinch Sulzberger and KGB honcho Bill Keller:
Those who wish the last four years of history had never happened could find solace in several commercials that used the device of ending an awful tale by revealing it was only a dream.
Then, too, there was the unfortunate homonym at the heart of a commercial from Prudential Financial, titled “What Can a Rock Do?”

The problem with the spot, created internally at Prudential, was that whenever the announcer said, “a rock” — invoking the Prudential logo, the rock of Gibraltar — it sounded as if he were saying, yes, “Iraq.”
Cue the Twilight Zone music and the guys in the white coats. I guess there'll be something extra in Stu's holiday bonus envelope this year if the Times doesn't go belly up by then or suffer a coup from irate shareholders. Best line from the latter:
"The Times company does not want to open its doors to the kind of turmoil that really rips apart an organization," says Janet Robinson, CEO of the New York Times Co., referring to recent shareholder uprisings at Knight Ridder and Tribune Co. "This is a very important institution not only to the media community but to the nation at large."
That's what the Soviet Communist Party thought too.