From my father I inherited a love of reading and my conservative politics. National Review and Commentary were always on the coffee table, and the Sunday New York Times was a ritual. I remember discovering the Arts and Leisure section for myself when I was ten. I’ve subscribed to the Sunday Times for my entire adult life. In my book of poems A Door on the River, I have a poem remembering my father by way of his devotion to the Times.
As the Times has been swallowed by a tide of wokeness and insipidity in recent years, I’ve become increasingly dismayed and often downright disgusted. The Sunday Review section is an ocean of ugh with the one island of Douthat. I gave up on the formerly mildly diverting “Social Q’s” column in the Style section when the answers skewed toward how best to earnestly signal one’s virtue. The Book Review’s “By the Book” column often asks famous writers to opine on which acclaimed works they find “disappointing, overrated, just not good” — and I felt my mental state endangered by the number of times the answer was Anna Karenina.
Today the paper arrived with the New York Times Style Magazine supplement, whose cover feature is titled “The Greats.” The “great” shown on the cover — the others profiled within are an artist, an actress, a songwriter, and a photographer — is none other than Angela Davis, that “great” admirer of totalitarian communist regimes, despiser of Israel, excuser of terrorism, and hero of the intersectional Left.
I’ve been edging closer to canceling my subscription to the Sunday Times, wondering what the last push might be. Today it feels like the paper went back in time, to 1970s radical chic, to insult my father. It’s too bad, because I’ll miss the crossword.