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    Saturday, April 08, 2006

    Saturday Afternoon with the NY Times

    1. Why Some Say 'No Thanks' to a Doorman:

    to some people, the presence of a doorman is seen as a negative, not a benefit. Yes, a doorman can put the newspaper outside your door, walk your dog when you're sick, make you feel important, keep an eye on your children (or your babysitter) and haul your shopping bags to the curb. But he is also privy to some of the most intimate details — and moments — of your life.

    I've never had a doorman, but I had no idea a doorperson was supposed to do all that stuff. All I knew was that s/he was supposed to sign for your packages and make sure no random strangers ended up in the building. And yes, make you feel important just because you happened to see someone there when you got home to remind you that you had the money to pay her/him. Maybe that's why I don't understand that these individuals are "privy to some of the most intimate details ... of your life" - like what? I mean, what are you doing at the entrance to your apartment building that's so intimate? Yes, they see who goes in and out, which may contain some clue to your sexual activities, but ...

    No one understands this better than a doorman. In fact, most doormen would apparently rather live without a doorman even if they could afford it, according to Peter Bearman, a Columbia University sociology professor and author of "Doormen" (University of Chicago Press, 2005), a study of the profession. They perceive the insular, elitist boundaries created by their presence as unnatural, Professor Bearman said in an e-mail message, and they are loath to jeopardize their privacy.

    This is the one and only time that the class-fraught relationship between doorpeople and residents of the buildings that employ them is even nodded to. I also loved this line:

    And isn't it a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman would sooner give up her colorist than her doorman?

    Oh yes, the universal single woman who employs not only a doorman but also a colorist. Lines like this are what make me hate the Times most.

    As someone who (gasp!) doesn't have any interest in knowing my neighbors and often avoids going to favorite restaurants or stores too often just because I like to live in as much anonymity as possible, I totally get the desire not to have to have an additional relationship in your life, especially at your home. But the way this article is constructed - positing "doormen" as these nuisances, with nary a note as to the cross-class and often cross-race relationships which make it possible to construct these people as nuisances - basically takes what's interesting and throws it out in favor of indulging rich people's whining.

    2. Prosecutors Want Dental Jewelry, but Defendants Are Spared:

    Federal prosecutors in Washington State tried to remove elaborate customized dental jewelry bonded to the teeth of two accused drug dealers, saying the jewelry was bought with drug money and should be forfeited to the government. ...

    The dental jewelry, known as grills, cost "from $1,000 to anywhere in excess of $25,000," Special Agent McCracken wrote, saying he based his assessment in part on research he had conducted on a Web site called gangstagold.com.

    After Mr. Olbertz rushed to court Tuesday morning, Magistrate Judge J. Kelley Arnold, in a document captioned "In the Matter of the Seizure of Removable Dental Appliances Commonly Known as 'Grills,' " forbade the removal of the jewelry on the ground that it could "unduly compromise" the two men's "dental health."

    Educate the (assumed) upper-middle-class+ white readers of the Times: there are these pieces of "dental jewelry" that the black youth are wearing, "known as grills".

    3. You Want It Clean? You Clean It!:

    Forty years after feminism promised to free women from drudgery, we are still talking about housework, and we are still talking as if it were all about women. Some, like Ms. Dobry, are rebelling against it. Others, like Ms. Lee, are embracing it. Authors, like New Yorker writer Caitlin Flanagan, are writing books about it (hers, out this month, is "To Hell with All That: Loving and Loathing our Inner Housewife").

    Another bit of classism: "feminism promised to free women from drudgery"? I don't think, in fact, it did. I think it promised to make drudgery equal across gender. And, if drudgery=housework, who was going to do it if "women" didn't? Oh, still women, just not "women" (read: rich white women, preferably blond), all those insignificant others.

    Why do I keep reading this paper????!!!


    Blogger zp said...

    My partner in crime says, "Now the NYT looks as dumb as it is." That is, the online NYT, which is the one we can afford.

    9:21 AM  
    Blogger EL said...

    Me too, with the online.

    And your partner is right on.

    9:26 AM  

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