The Fourth Estate

I’m a paper and ink guy. I’ll always read books and never own an e-reader. I know that e-readers are lightweight and convenient, but they lack tradition. Printed newspapers are dying, too. Luckily, I still have access to a number of different print publications. Most fortuitous of all, we here in New York still have a tabloid. Tabloids are awesome! God bless Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post.

Mr. Murdoch doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with journalistic excellence or accuracy. We have other outlets for that. News Corp has an ax to grind against liberals, and grind it does. Additionally, it provides cheap, visceral thrills. Nothing wakes your ass up quicker than a sensational headline or a ghastly photo first thing in the morning. My understanding is that London still has a few tabloids as well. Aren’t they great?!

I came up out of the subway last week, approached a newsstand and was met with this beauty:


Oh, no they didn’t.

Oh, yes they did, my lovelies. I can’t speak for its meaning globally, but here in the U.S., “pussy whipped” refers to a man relentlessly berated by his wife who doesn’t stand up for himself. He’s probably a liberal. And who knew there were still Cossack thugs in the world? I didn’t. Thank you, New York Post! Once the print editions cease, these wonderful, gaudy front pages will be no more. It’s sad.

You meet interesting people in The New York Post. Like Michelle Esquenazi, CEO of a successful bounty hunting operation on Staten Island. When asked the secret to her company’s phenomenal recovery rate, she said she sets “honey traps.”

“We send a hot piece of pussy to his door. Of course he’s going to open up the door for a nice piece of ass. It’s timeless. The thing about defendants is no matter who they are — they can come in white, black, green or purple polka dots. They’re all dumb,” she noted. “Every single last one of them is stupid.”

You’re not going to read about her in The Wall Street Journal. I want to have drinks with Michelle, don’t you? Can you imagine the fantastic stories? Blog posts for a year.

More often than not I find myself reading The New York Times. It’s the paper of record. The Gray Lady. Sometimes, they’re difficult to take seriously, too. Do you know who they profile in The Times? People like 85-year old Betty Halbreich, “Bergdorf Goodman’s renowned personal shopper and the breakout star of the 2013 documentary ‘Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf’s.’” The profile takes place in Halbreich’s eight-room Park Avenue apartment where…

…every bibelot sparkles and every surface is dust free. “My poor cleaning lady!” she said. “I’ve had her for 20 years, and everything is kept clean under threat of death.”

Is that supposed to be funny? What if that cleaning lady was your mother? What an insane old cow. She’s like a Saturday Night Live sketch about self-absorbed, wealthy dingbats. And The Times likes to represent itself as the voice of the common people. Please.

Bibelot. Give me a break with that stuff.


St. Patrick’s Cathedral on 5th Avenue—an architectural landmark—is undergoing a major restoration. Here’s a before pic…

st. pats1

…and here’s after. The ceilings were caked with centuries of smoke from those holy smudge pots the priests swing around on a gold chain. They’re gussying-up the exterior as well.

st. pats2

64 thoughts on “The Fourth Estate

  1. You were first on the sidebar this morning, sweetpea and the prefect read this morning (as you always are, but I digress), The Cathedral was on my mind and there you go posting a picture of it!

  2. If I ever get to NYC, I want to see St. Patrick’s, provided it doesn’t burst into flames upon my approach to the threshold.

  3. It’s strange to think of a Gothic cathedral in New York City. I wonder if Bad Lieutenant was filmed there. It ought to have been. That Cossack is a disgrace to his regiment. He should have carried the girl away on horseback instead of whipping her!

    • The original Bad Lieutenant or the shoddy remake? I only ever saw the first one and almost wish I hadn’t done that! New York has “borrowed” all sorts of architectural stylings from Europe. Made up a few ourselves, too. I think art deco got its start here and Chicago.

      The Cossack should have carried her away and did what? Dare you say?

      • The Plain Dealer is a shadow of what it was when I was growing up. I know that’s the oldest complaint in the book and can apply to just about anything, but it really was a grand publication. And now it’s tissue-thin.

        That’s the thing about blogs: you can’t go wrong! They’re NEVER a waste of time.

  4. I work at a private school. Did I mention that? We have a school library that gets a few newspapers — the local, the provincial and the national. After morning assembly, I like to go in and scan the latter two (I get the local at home). There’s something more thoughtful about poring over paper compared to jumping around on websites, which I do the rest of the day. There’s me and maybe two others who ever read these papers. I wonder how long before they decide they can’t justify those subscriptions for three people.
    That bounty hunter copy is dynamite. Sounds like Elmore Leonard.

    • I was completely unaware of your working situation. I’m still kinda new around these parts. You’re one of those Canadians, ain’t ‘cha? That’s as far as I’ve gotten.

      One of my greatest joys in life has always been that thick, voluminous Sunday New York Times and a cup of coffee. Throw in a Hostess product and I really can’t get any happier than that.

      That’s an excellent, astute observation on the copy! It IS straight out of a Leonard novel!

  5. Yes I’d quite like to have drinks with Michelle.
    I take it you haven’t seen the UK’s finest? The Sun? The Star? but most importantly….The Sunday Sport. Michelle could get a few employees from there.

    PS – I’m ink and paper too and will never own a kindle. You can’t sniff the pages.

  6. I don’t threaten my cleaning with death to keep my place clean. I threaten her life if she ever thinks about killing people or releasing my sex tapes to the media. Actually, I have left the tapes out, sometimes playing, and she hasn’t taken the bait yet.

  7. I don’t know dude, I like the iPad. You can store a lot of books and it’s amazingly functional. But I miss my books! I have many many, and they are languishing in boxes. Seems a shame. Newspapers… seriously, I think print really is dead. And I will miss it. Books are the one old thing that shouldn’t die out… says I, the compulsive screen reader.

    As a parting note, go Pussy Riot! Those girls have the largest balls ever.

    • I know. I get it. You can’t stop technology. I bailed out on albums when I discovered cassette tape. I bailed out on cassette tape when I discovered CDs. And I bailed on CDs as soon as I discovered mp4 files. I miss album cover art but I’m not going back to LPs. But newspapers are a different story. I can’t carve them out. I’ll be the last guy holding the fort down. Someone has to.

      Those dirty Cossacks shouldn’t have beaten those nice pussy girls. What wrong with Putin?! And now he’s invading the Ukraine. A madman in the making. Take my word for it, no good will come of it. I worry every time I wake up to see the overnight headlines.

      • Putin’s gay. There is no other explanation for it. He’s in the closet and totally frustrated, he just needs to come out and soften up. Either that or have the Pussy Riot girls kick him in the balls for a couple hours straight.

        I went through the same media progression as you, but I kept going into the books… I feel pretty crummy about that decision, to be honest.

      • I never thought about it but that actually makes a lot of sense. Putin IS gay! It’ll be like J. Edgar Hoover where decades after he’s gone, they’ll find photos of him in dresses. I just saw a Broadway drama about LBJ. Bryan Cranston plays Johnson and Michael McKean plays Hoover. They made great sport out of Hoover’s “manly” image.

        Do you know how many times I bought the same albums over and over every time they change the platform? What a sucker I am.

      • I’ve got a friend originally from St Petersburg and according to him there’s a sizeable minority of the Russian population who would confidently agree that Putin is gay.

      • I, of course, much perfer paper an dink. We should form a support group. We can sit on a high cliff and watch the sun set on the printing industry. I occasionally visit the Guttenberg bible at the Morgan Library. It’s one of the first books ever printed on a press. Before the Guttenberg, it was monks locked in towers with paper and quills. I tell the book, “If you only knew where this has all lead.”

  8. I love tabloids and I do miss the Sunday newspaper! I can’t imagine as well when I’m reading an e-book. They’re ok for non fiction, but I just can’t get into the story as well on a computer screen. Plus the fact that they are always out of sight so I forget I’m even reading them. The only thing I like better about e-books is the instant gratification of having it the second you think you want it. Even if you don’t read it.

    I want to start reading the New York Post now even if it is an electronic copy!

    I think Putin wants to be Fabio in his heart of hearts.

    • There’s nothing better than the Sunday New York Times. And when they have their special fall and spring entertainment previews? That’s bliss. eBooks are good for saving storage in the house. I have full bookcases spilling over and don’t know what to do. I’m certainly not throwing my books out! So eReaders have that going for them. But that’s about it.

      Putin is a serious danger. The equity markets tanked yesterday because of that guy’s ego. Didn’t WWI start because of an unnecessary show of force?

      • Coffee always tasted the best on Sundays too. The trouble with electronics is there’s too much access and nothing is special. I can’t think of any way something electronic could equal could ever live up to the Sunday paper.

        I think every war started as an unnecessary show of force led by some cocky little pissant like Putin.

  9. I for one hope print never disappears. What kind of world would it be without books? If reading depends on access to digital devices this will further the divide between the educated and the uneducated, the rich and poor. The 3rd world will simply be left in the dust. That being said, I actually prefer to get news (and I count blogs as “news”) from the internet, but I would never choose an ereader over a physical book for anything else (even a cookbook).

    Remember that people once thought VHS would wipe out movie theaters but the only theaters they put out of business were the pornographic ones. The box office for mainstream film is still thriving. I think a similar prediction could be made for print– certain segments will be wiped out while the remainder continues to thrive.

    • I don’t know what kind of world it would be without books but I’ll bet we’re going to find out. Perhaps not in my lifetime but certainly within my daughters’. The trees are happy to hear of this development. Me? Not so much.

      Internet news is instantaneous. That’s an excellent point. I’d like to think we’ll always have the New York Times print edition but all that paper ever does is lose money. Quarter after quarter, they report loss after loss.

  10. I used to get The NY Times here, having grown up with The Times and The Herald Tribune….The Times isn’t what it used to be, but I hope it never goes away. Never been a Tabloid Reader, but I understand the fun of it…..The two “trade” papers—Daily Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, which I began getting when I was Nineteen….GONE! They are on The Net, and it just isn’t the same, at all! Both have a Once-A-Week slick over-sized Magazine type publication—better than nothing—-Well, not really, I’m sorry to say.

    Like you, it has to be actual books, printed on paper! No Kindles or other devices for me.
    I feel reading on the Net is really bothering my eyes. What to do, What to do! You tell me, my dear.

    • The Times may not be what it used to be but I’ll take it and be grateful it’s still around. The older I get, the more I realize that nothing stays the same. It all changes. I had no idea The Hollywood Reporter print edition was gone! I was never a regular reader but knew it was out there. A shame, really.

      I am having TERRIBLE problems with my eyes. Each day after hour six or seven my eyes start to throb. My iPhone is killing me. Even with the screen brightness turned down. It’s a big problem!

  11. I hope they aren’t going to completely sterilise St Patricks.
    Maybe I’m prejudiced but I think 85 yr olds are allowed to make dubious comments.

    • There’s always that danger. I’m suspicious when I see old master paintings “restored.” The end result is that the colors are more vibrant than what the original artist intended. Didn’t that happen to some Michelangelo paintings?

  12. Our tabloids are pretty crap affairs — full of attacks on “benefit frausters” while completing ignoring huge tax avoidance schemes. They hacked into a murdered schoolgirl’s phone last year, and Page Three is just sordid.

    But a proper, printed newspaper or book — nothing the internet can offer matches the pleasure to be gained from them.

    • But they’re fun crap, right? That has entertainment value, as long as you don’t take them too seriously. I think people see right through them and know what they’re about. And those clowns who hacked into phones are finally getting their due.

      • Don’t know–I think there’s a dark side to them. But there’s only one way to find out — (check your inbox).

  13. I would get very suspicious if a hot girl suddenly expressed unusual interest in me. But then there’s no bounty on me (as far as I know), so I guess I won’t get a chance to see how I would really react.

    • Oh, it’s nothing, really. I had an almost unending parade of beautiful women bang on my door at all hours of the day and night. It got kind of tedious, if you want to know the truth. That’s why I finally settled down and got married. I was tired of all the variety.

      The preceding was an empty fantasy of mine that has no roots in my actual real-world experience.

      • It wouldn’t have to be a fantasy, if you had put a sign by the door “Wanted: casting a female actor to portray fashion models for a Leonardo DiCaprio/George Clooney movie, apply within”

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