What Shamu Taught Me about Love topped the 'most e-mailed' articles on the NY Times for 3 months. Wondering what could have possibly supplanted Maureen Dowd's latest rant at the top of the list, I had to read the article just to see what the hell the buzz was. Answer: How to manipulate your husband using techniques perfected by dolphin trainers. From Cherry Hill NJ to New Haven CT, housewives are luring their spouses to the dishwasher with flanks of raw Whitefish, and longtime readers (like myself) are wondering where went Thomas Friedman.
Answer: Shortly after Times Select drove cheapskates like me to the waiting arms of the Washington Post, Thomas Friedman relinquished his throne to dessert recipies, toddler cartoons and child rearing tips. In an internet age dominated by tons of free material, the Times makes reading its articles difficult, and sharing impossible. Whereas the Washington Post will stroke egos by linking to blogs that post their material, the Times slammed the door on bloggers. By egotistically self-selecting its star columnists out of the internet's global forum, the Times is no longer part of the discussion. Hell, with the booming business in print journalism, who can blame them if they neglect a niche market they've long dominated.
I suppose then, that the result is somewhat predictable. On the eve of a possible war with Iran, this week's Talk of the Times: Women exiled from the kitchen by their alpha-cook husbands. And though the blogged section (predictably) lists all things political, none of the Time's columnists is linked. If the Times keeps driving away its key constituency, who is left. If it isn't nerdy wonks like myself, I guess the Times winds up jostling for readership with Vanity Fair and Jane.
Next week's Times most read: International News Found Dead, smothered by the most comfortable tampons ever and a stunning recipe for chocolate covered marriage-muffins.