3.08.2011

In which I geek out on the New York Times Magazine editorial staff.

I freely admit I am among those people that the erudite folks scoff at: one of those absurd people who spend $5 on the Sunday Times and sometimes, don't even open the paper at all.

While it's a rare luxury these days to have the time to flip through that beast (how I miss the pre-child days of newsprint on my fingers at brunch) I do know that I can always catch up on the news online. Really, it's the Magazine I crave.

(How lame to think that a magazine is my biggest addiction these days, after Bravo. Giving back my coolness card, stat. )

Of course I begin with the crossword puzzle. And when I find myself stuck or frustrated or needing to clear my head and find an answer--Algerian Port gets me every time--I turn to the always wonderful Lives column on the next-to-back page. Then I work my way from the front to back, starting with my favorite columnists.

Last week, I paid the premium in LA for the Times (not counting the 10 block walk to get it) and pocketed the magazine, knowing Lisa Belkin's mom blogger feature was something I'd want to re-read in print. I'm old skool that way. But it wasn't until yesterday, on my first subway commute back to work, a whole 8 days later, that I finally had a chance to catch up on the rest of it.

My first stop: Randy Cohen, The Ethicist. But what? This would be his last column? (I had only referenced him recently!) After 12 years  I could hardly blame him. I imagined writing a letter to him to thank him for the weekly lesson in ethics delivered with the the fabulously wry sense of humor you might expect of a former SNL writer. Then I turned to the On Language Column, which I had read since back when I had to ignore William Safire's politics to get through it. But wait...it was Ben Zimmer's last column too?

And then...oh no. Virginia Heffernan saying farewell? How can that be? She's so...new. She's one of us! She writes about Kindle and food bloggers and Angry Birds and Marc Zuckerberg. Deborah Solomon was out too, evidently. And then the final punch in the gut was the departure of Amanda Hesser, the phenomenal food editor ( also a neighborhood acquaintance and fellow preschool mom and prolific twitterer) whose romance through food we all followed avidly years ago, bid goodbye with a 1969 chocolate cake recipe and still left me feeling not very hungry at all.

I'm kind of sick about the whole thing.

It's the same way I feel when I've watched bloggers I love close up shop--voices I've come to love and look forward to, suddenly out of my life. Their children get older, their book deals come through, they move out of country, grow up or get married, and they pack up their blogs with their suitcases.

It's one more good reminder as to why I like having this digital room of my own, even if it hardly pays enough to keep me in vanilla lattes.

You can stop reading me any time. But you can't fire me.


26 Comments:

Blogger Backpacking Dad said...

I am very unlikely to consider Pantene the next time I buy a shampoo.

3/8/11, 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Dorf's Daughter said...

Yeah, I share your sorrow. Bill Keller, the man in charge, was on NPR yesterday dancing around the issue. Something about change is good, blah, blah, blah. He did concede that he'd heard the most outrage from Randy Cohen's fans, but that nothing would change his "editorial" mind. Whoever said that the more things change the more they stay the same; they don't. Sometimes.(Randy is moving to Newsweek but don't say that I told you)

3/8/11, 1:35 PM  
Anonymous mayberry said...

I love the occasional column (Domains, maybe? I forget the name) featuring photos and comments from a celeb about his or her home. I don't care about the celebrity of the person--just love peeking into people's homes. Don't take that one away too, Hugo!

3/8/11, 1:40 PM  
Blogger Marinka said...

I, too, love Randy Cohen. I'd emailed him several times and he always replied. Which is kind of awesome.

I remember he was married to someone interesting, but now I can't remember who. Ok, I just checked. Katha Pollitt.

3/8/11, 1:44 PM  
Anonymous Lindsay said...

I too have to force myself to sit down and read the NY Times, even though I love doing it. I wonder what's going on over there...

3/8/11, 2:02 PM  
Blogger Magpie said...

I know just what you mean. And the new design? I feel old and cranky saying this, but it's UGLY.

(I may have the best captch ever: GUILTION)

3/8/11, 4:56 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I love my cool New York Times Magazine readers!


Group hug. One for Randy Cohen too.

3/8/11, 5:00 PM  
Blogger SuzRocks said...

I buy the papers and don't read them, I buy a subscription to The Economist and don't read it much, but somehow manage to get through a whole issue of People in the grocery line. What the heck.

Please don't close up shop. I just found you.

3/8/11, 6:07 PM  
Blogger Issas Crazy World said...

I'm not going anywhere. You keep writing and I'll keep reading and leaving half nonsense comments.

When you walked 10 blocks in LA did people stop and stare at you? Like you were an exhibit at the zoo? **Look at the non-LA native in her walking shoes. Oh my. She walks in them.**

3/8/11, 6:25 PM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy said...

Add Mark Bittman and Pete Wells to your list.

I'm so glad you wrote about this. The other day I even googled it to see if there was a mass protest or if the Times was going under and firing everyone. Nothing. Couldn't get a whiff.

Personally, I think this is HUGE. And no one is talking about it with any candor.

Except you. Thanks.

Kim

3/8/11, 6:54 PM  
Anonymous One Hungry Mama said...

it was kind of shocking, right? i'm especially sad about amanda hesser. well, randy cohen, too. oh-- and pete wells, like kim mentioned. at least we still have a place to find amanda. but, yea, the whole thing is pretty sad.

3/8/11, 8:24 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

I'm so glad I'm not alone. And Kim, I don't know if I'm writing about it with candor...more like with shock. I also googled to figure out what was going on and there was so little. I kept thinking, wait, I'm a week late on this news and there's nothing?

We can't be the only columnist fans out there, right?

3/8/11, 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Jen said...

Long story short but I finally agreed with often enraged husband about NYT being too (wait for it) right wing and gave up our print (weekends only) subscription.

The one and only part I missed was the magazine. It just defined Sunday mornings. It was the right size and shape for sitting on the couch, cup of tea in hand.

But then, I finally realized the one online benefit -- I could begin to read it starting Saturday. I've been an Ethicist first reader, so I got that punch right away. I didn't even realize the full horror until your post.

Is nothing sacred? Then there's to be a paywall, too, right? What then, I ask, what then?!

3/8/11, 9:07 PM  
Anonymous The Yummy Mummy said...

Liz -

Frank Rich...Gone. (He's at NY Magazine now.)

Why is this not big news? Everyone in NYC should be talking about this...


Kim

3/8/11, 9:49 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Argh Kim!I thought Rich was moving to the magazine? Just saw the NY Mag announcement.

It seems Bittman replaced Amanda Hesser at the magazine, and is leaving the Minimalist to do opinion.

Is no one covering this as a big widescale thing? I can't find it anywhere.

3/8/11, 9:56 PM  
Blogger radmama said...

The Globe and Mail did something similar with their new design. After some outrage, they did bring back the AWESOME Tabatha Southey, but many other columnists are gone.

3/8/11, 9:57 PM  
Blogger Community said...

Wait, Frank Rich & Bittman are gone? I'm way behind on my NYT (I blame the toddler), but ugh.

3/8/11, 10:00 PM  
Blogger Mom101 said...

Frank Rich joins NY Magazine

Bittman moves to op-ed

3/8/11, 10:04 PM  
Blogger fer said...

Yes! Good to hear.

3/9/11, 12:33 AM  
Anonymous motherknowsbest said...

I always read Deborah Solomon first. Does anyone know where she is moving her column to? Newsweek too along with Randy?

3/9/11, 10:11 AM  
Anonymous motherknowsbest said...

I always read Deborah Solomon first. Does anyone know where she is moving her column to? Newsweek too along with Randy?

3/9/11, 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an article discussing the changes: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20110301/bs_yblog_thecutline/sneak-peak-whats-new-in-the-new-york-times-magazine

3/9/11, 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's an article discussing the changes: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thecutline/20110301/bs_yblog_thecutline/sneak-peak-whats-new-in-the-new-york-times-magazine

3/9/11, 10:25 AM  
Blogger leanne said...

The NY Times Sunday magazine is one of the few things I manage to read every week. I'm going to miss all these good columnists.

Also, completely agree with Magpie on the new design. It's awful. But maybe I'm getting old and cranky, too :)

3/9/11, 12:43 PM  
Blogger Amber said...

It was so disappointing to see that edition. I'm still very, very sad about it. :(

And I'm also grateful for being my own online publisher. I don't have to depend on anyone.

3/11/11, 11:33 PM  
Anonymous Diva-Mama said...

Though we mourn the passing of our favorite columnists thank God there are people like you Liz, who come into our lives. You inspire me and my own blog so I for one have no intention of ever firing you.

3/12/11, 11:01 PM  

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