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Who Counts and Who Doesn't - Riffs and Licks
Who Counts and Who Doesn't
Here's how we count people on the Upper East Side:
The three of us reached the Park Avenue median at 76th Street just as the light was changing. The older gentleman approached slowly from the west, using a cane. The older lady approached from the east, being pushed in a wheelchair by an attendant.
The attendant, of course, is not one of "us" and therefore there are only "three of us," not four. (From today's "Metropolitan Diary" feature in The New York Times, which always says more about the city than I think the Times intends it to.)

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bobhowe From: bobhowe Date: September 8th, 2008 05:50 pm (UTC) (Link)
You hope that the folks at the Times were sensitive to the omission of the attendant. It is telling. Not surprising, but telling.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 11th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
Exactly. As was the article the same dya about the poor yuppie in my neighborhood who suffered the terrible indignity of being ticketed for drinking beer on his stoop. Nobody had told him that was illegal for white people too.
doodlegoat From: doodlegoat Date: September 8th, 2008 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
You might remember there was some question several years ago whether there was cement under the stage at Carnegie Hall. The Times asked a lot of people their opinions, but of course, no one who actually did the work.

Another piece in Living was about some old guy with an alpaca farm. I thought he must be fairly athletic to keep up with the chores, until I saw that the man in the photo, grooming the animal, was younger and Hispanic. Of course, they didn't talk to the guy who actually does the work.

When the Times says A built X, that means A paid for X to be built. B runs Y means B owns Y. One wonders if any of the 'writers' for the Times actually write anything.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 8th, 2008 11:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
The only Times mention of the cement controversy I can find is from well after the fact. In any case, it would be hard to ask the workers without knowing who the contractor was, and I'm sure Carnegie Hall wasn't coughing up that information. Even if they had, the contractor probably wouldn't have talked and might have even had an NDA or something.

"Metropolitan Diary" is a particularly egregious bit of arrogant fluff, and is certainly emblematic of a particular set of biases, but lots of Times reporters do very good work. The kind of biases you describe in your last paragraph are present in most U.S. media and in fact in most U.S. citizens. And they're not even always wrong; tens of thousands of people do the work of Microsoft or Google, but the senior executives of those companies do indeed "run" them.
rosiebird From: rosiebird Date: September 8th, 2008 10:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
I work with the attendant, or people like her. Her name is
Rama or Carol or Gertrude or Maxine or James. People.
steelbrassnwood From: steelbrassnwood Date: September 8th, 2008 11:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well there goes your job as a reporter for the Style section.

(It could have been a him.)
rosiebird From: rosiebird Date: September 9th, 2008 12:00 am (UTC) (Link)
i used the word her, but I did list James as a possibility.
parisgarters From: parisgarters Date: September 9th, 2008 12:51 am (UTC) (Link)
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