“French warplanes” is a phrase you don’t hear too often, so when we read it on the front page of The New York Times on Sunday, we knew it was time for another friendly invasion, or at least the punishing imposition of another no-fly zone, which given the deployment of the notoriously non-bellicose French pilots, always seem to involve a lot of flying, not to mention bombing. It was assuring to be assured, a few lines before mention of the airborne frogs, by President Obama that “the use of force is not our first choice.” Wouldn’t you know, they were all out of “Colonel Qaddafi quietly surrenders and moves to one of those empty fake islands off the coast of Dubai” at the White House mess hall Saturday night.
And surely it wasn’t the first choice of the Japanese, a little to the right on the front page, to arrive at the “Familiar Crossroads” of earthquake recovery, population shrink and radiation vapor plague. So much bad news! But wait, below the fold! There’s hope! Egypt is hopeful! In Missouri, a one-eyed man can pitch strikes! And in the Deep South, interracial marriage is a popular trend! That’s a first choice we can certainly endorse.
Speaking of mating, which New Yorkers got married this week? Hello, Sascha Rothchild, author of “How to Get Divorced by 30.” Her first husband–and the source of her book deal–was a “lackadaisical stoner” apparently too lazy and high even to buy her a ring, which she had to buy for herself. Not an ideal first choice, Ms. Rothchild! Bridegroom No. 2 is Matt Kay, a “pensive” and “square” bald guy whose romantic life was plagued by a string of “crazy” banshees. “Is she crazy?” Mr. Kay asked the host of the poker party where they met (and he lost money). He might have just read her book, something he still hasn’t done, a decision reportedly made in therapy. Good choice! And good luck!
The Times Magazine has lately received therapy in the form of a new editor, Hugo Lindgren, who, we remember hearing, was not Bill Keller’s first choice. That was Mr. Lindgren’s buddy Daniel Zalewski, who’s over at The New Yorker, probably on the phone right now with former Timesman Dexter Filkins asking if his body armor has anti-radiation lining. We’re surprised by a few of Mr. Lindgren’s first choices, not so much by others. The Letters now has quotes from blogs and tweets and even Slate–wonder where they got that idea? And there’s a profile of Mike Tyson. Didn’t we read one of those in New York last week? Oh yeah, it was shorter. The statistician Nate Silver has a new column slugged “Mild Acts of Subversion” in which his subversive routine seems to be making pleasurable things like salad unpleasurable to read about by doing a lot of gratuitous math.
The Book Review, with its “Data Deluge” cover, was no help. So we turned back to the Styles section, there took a cue from Russell Brand and sat down for half an hour of transcendental meditation. Our mantra: “Not our first choice.”