Complaint Box Complaint Box
For those of us who still subscribe to a paper copy of the NY Times, there are many changes. The paper is smaller which has actually been great for people like me who did not have the six foot wingspan necessary to turn the pages of the old paper. The Sports Section is hidden inside the Business section (and is now renamed the Fraternity Section). To me, the saddest change, though, was when I flipped through the Saturday Times and could not find the New Jersey Section.
Now, in all honesty, the New Jersey Section sort of stunk. It was written entirely by people who live in Montclair which made for many articles about the trouble finding a good nanny, those darn potholes on Mountain Avenue, and the experience of writing for the New York Times. Also, NY Times writers hated New Jersey, so there were frequent essays entitled "Why I Still Spend All of My Weekends in the City- Omygod! Why Did I Have Kids and Move?!" I was still pretty sad, though, when I realized that all of the weekend local sections had been rolled into one "Metropolitan Section" with a NJ calander of events tacked onto the end. If Brooklyn is a part of New Jersey, then the local coverage is quite good.
This Metropolitan Section has a new weekly essay called "Complaint Box" where people write an essay about something really small and trivial that they really hate. The first essay was about people not respecting the rules at the YMCA pool. Yes, it was the Montclair YMCA. That ought to cover the Times' New Jersey quotient for the remainder of 2009.
The most recent Complaint is from Lorraine Heber-Brause of New York who HATES street petitioners. Like, REALLY HATES! The language used in the essay would be funny if the overall lack of empathy hadn't made me so angry.
"While there is no reason to doubt their commitment to save the world or advance a cause, their numbers and intensity seem to be on the increase."
This is something you say about an invasive species or like, the Taliban, not under-employed college students. Throughout the essay, Lorraine is mystified as to why there are more street petitioners this summer than in the past. Amazingly, she appears to be completely oblivious to the fact that we are in the middle of a massive recession with disproportionate unemployment for the young and recent grads.
"Now I must plan out my errands like army maneuvers. Thinking through where the enemy troops were last positioned — and how, day by day, they slowly move up and down the street — I try to avoid the battle zones."
If Lorraine was a woman in a refugee camp planning her trip to collect firewood or fill a water jug, this statement would make sense. Unfortunately, and painfully ironically, Lorraine is a wealthy New Yorker plotting how to ignore people who would like to tell her about women in refugee camps. While those women risk rape, Lorraine risks hearing about it. I see the clear need for military metaphors there...
"They wonder why I don’t care about undernourished children in Ethiopia (I do, just not when I am running errands). "
Let them eat cake.
Maybe Nicholas Kristoff should offer to take Lorraine on a trip.
Maybe Lorraine is a pompous jerk.
Lorraine would definitely never move to Montclair.
Full disclosure, I tried street canvassing for a month, and it was the single worst job I have ever had.