Because we’re the New York Times, and we can get away with anything.
One of my goals in life is to leave a legacy of indisputable evidence that America’s self-declared “paper of record” has devolved into an irresponsible hack publication that makes its readers biased and misinformed, while dragging down all of American journalism in the process.
This week’s Times Book Review interview was with the Coal Miner’s Daughter herself, Loretta Lynn. She is a great artist and an iconic figure in her field, but she has as much business holding forth on literature as I have talking about curling. The interview is like a Bob and Ray routine:
What books are on your nightstand? “My family Bible.”
What’s the last great book you read? “I am loving those audiobooks. The older you get, the worse your eyesight becomes…”
Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time? “Doesn’t the Bible count here?”
What’s your favorite book no one else has heard of? “Johnny Cash’s ‘Man in White.’”
Have any books influenced your development as a writer or musician? (She ducks the question.)
Which genres do you especially enjoy reading? And which do you avoid? (She ducks the question.)
Who is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain? “I really don’t have one.”
You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite? “I wouldn’t….”
…and so on in that pattern. It’s cruel of the Times, it’s embarrassing to Lynn, and she shouldn’t be placed in that position. I don’t care that Lynn, who was married before high school, isn’t a reader, but representing her as a book-lover in the Times Book Review is as misleading as it is foolish.
What a great newspaper.