Monday, October 10, 2005

Times Select $$$-- boo hoo!

October, 2005 Times Select $$$-- boo hoo! -- GLH
I really really miss the Select stuff.
For many years I read the back issues of the NYTimes every couple of weeks in the public library. I was--am-- a Starving Artist, and could not afford to buy it. A few years back I spent a decade as an Adjunct Instructor at a university: I still couldn't afford a subscription, even at Educator rates, but the department had copies delivered and I read the NYTimes 5 days a week for free, with pleasure and in comfort.
I'm now on the only form of support for artists and independent intellectuals available in this country: Social Security retirement.
Ever since the NYTimes went on line I have begun my day by reading the Op Ed section. I am addicted to my weekly dose of Dowd, Rich, Krugman and company, bereft when they go on vacation or book-writing leave.
Starting in September, this long one-way conversation ceased. The Times is restricting its columnists to paid-subscription only.
I'm in mourning.
I can shrug off the NYTimes selling access to sports columns and business info, but the Op Ed section? The Life of the Mind? When I was teaching I repeated the old saw that reading the NYT was as good a means of education as going to college: The NYT was the only paper in America edited for readers with a college graduate's reading level, and by reading it cover to cover a youngster could rise to that level within 4 years, whether or not they attended school.
I'm not the only person who feels that America has lost cultural capital because the Times has cut off the financially inferior members of its readership. Here's a sample of the comments on the political blogs:
"What's going to happen when all the major centers of intellectual insight begin to charge; another widening of the crack between haves and have nots, between rich and poor will surely result. Many more may become members of the great uninformed by virtue of lack of money. The net effect will be a deepening of poverty and we all lose."

"I'm currently leading a rag tag faction of independent minded rebels against this oppressive regime. I'm holding out as long as I can, but need help and direction. The OPED folks at NYT used to provide some assistance for those of us trying to fight the good fight. But they have pushed us out of the loop"

"I believe the NYT is shooting its own foot with this one. I mean, at a moment where its columnists are ranting about how the Bush propaganda is permeating the mayor media outlets and puting a leash on discenting voices, they go and put their most important voices behind a money courtain. Lets face it, The NYT has chosen to make a buck by preaching to the convert and does not care who knows what anymore. Someone should check if the NYT has not been aquired by a neoconservative non-profit group from Texas with money "borrowed" from some soon to be bankrupted trust fund."

"If this issue is that important for all of you, imagine how it is for those who live in the third world. I tell you, it's REALLY HARD to get a different voice from up north here in Argentina. I will miss Dowd, Krugman and Friedman (Yes, even him)."


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