paper trail

The failures of the New York Times; Adam Thirlwell on shock

Dean Baquet. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times.

At Spiegel, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet says the paper largely “failed” readers in the post-9/11 years, explains why the paper declined to run cartoons of Muhammad during the Charlie Hebdo story, and argues that the next Edward Snowden should bring his story to the Times, since the paper has the “guts” to publish it.

In the LARB, Roy Scranton writes about the “trauma hero myth” in war literature and in movies like American Sniper, which foreground the suffering of individual soldiers at the expense of the big picture: “We allow the psychological suffering endured by those we sent to kill for us displace and erase the innocents killed in our name.”

The Times Literary Supplement chastises Salman Rushdie over the word medieval, setting up the novelist to perfectly deploy a Pulp Fiction quote.

New York Times op-ed columnist Charles M. Blow writes about a phone call he received from his son, a student at Yale, whom campus police had stopped at gunpoint while he was leaving the library. “I had always dreaded the moment that we would share stories about encounters with the police in which our lives hung in the balance, intergenerational stories of joining the inglorious ‘club.’”

Adam Thirlwell considers whether art can still shock, and presents a gallery of scandales, including Manet’s Olympia, Pussy Riot, and Michel Houellebecq. “Shock, it has to be admitted, is not chic," Thirlwell writes. "It is so often seen as juvenile, meretricious, boring. Even in 1865, shock was passé.”