Last-of-the-Mohicans-style, the New York Times remains synonomous with being the so-called paper of record. "All the news that's fit to print," according to its avowedly judgemental motto. At this precarious point in its history, however, any brand-sense of selection or discernment is purely a matter of vaporous pretentiousness.
Take today's "Arts and Leisure" section. The title promises arts and leisure, but, of course, it showcases fare once relegated to "pulp magazines" or even wrapped in a paper bag.
What we are looking at (above) is (1) Blood and gore lede: " `Fear the Walking Dead,' " a spinoff of `The Walking Dead' on AMC, goes back to the early days of the zombie plague."
Excerpt: "The two shows fit under the same mythological umbrella created by Mr. Kirkman in his comic-book series, with the same rules governing the type of zombies (the lumbering kind) and how to kill them (stabbing, shooting, or smashing them in the head).
(2) Underage-sex second lede: " `The Diary of a Teenage Girl' explores early female sexuality."
Excerpt: "The legality of Minnie's coupling [with mother's boyfriend] aside, the film explores teenage sexuality through the lens of a libidinous, post-pubescent girl."
Suggestion for NYT editors: after you solmenly gather to chisel out the confederate-motifed New York subway wall tiles honoring former NYT publisher Adolph S. Ochs, a proud Southerner, do consider scrapping "Arts and Leisure" for something more in tune with the Times/the times. "Smut and Voyeurism," perhaps? It will make you a leader once more.
Then again, does precision or honesty matter? Not when Norman Lear, 93, can call himself a "social conservative" and the reporter (this time with Entertainment Weekly) doesn't fall off his chair.
With the toxic "Archie Bunker" alone, Lear did irreperable cultural harm to social conservatives. Lear's declaration (if even half-way true) reminds me of rock stars who rose to riches on the ashes on the American popular song only to turn around in their old age and record "standards."
Arts and leisure.