Today, The New York Times published a piece titled “Like to Mock Our Weddings Pages? Get in Line.”
As you can imagine, I began licking my chops like that of a springer spaniel who saw his first bowl of food after completing a long field hunt. I could’ve used a more jungle-centric analogy there, but spaniels just seem more in the realm of The New York Times marriage announcements than lions or tigers.
It began as follows:
The Sunday wedding announcements in The New York Times have long been a fertile hunting ground for writers of parodies, hate-reads and other forms of snark.
The best explanation of why our wedding pages make such a tempting target was provided by Robert Baedeker, one of the authors of “Weddings of The Times,” a 2009 book parodying our reports, during an interview on National Public Radio.
“The wedding announcements in The Times are so perfect and polished, and the inspiration comes from that sort of primal feeling one gets when one sees a perfect picture, which is to scribble a mustache on it or draw some sunglasses on it,” Mr. Baedeker said.
But the further I read, the more I began to realize that I had been omitted from this. By no means do I believe that I’m the only person to rip into these marriage announcements. That would simply be ignorant and the thoughts of someone who is way too high on himself. While I’m both of those things, I do not consider myself to be either of them in regards to this particular column series.
But I wanted to be in there. It’s the New York fucking Times.
I’ve always been under the assumption that The New York Times Vows Department (if that’s even what it’s called) is self-aware. Like any media company, they’re not oblivious to the scrutiny that comes down on them, be it on a weekly basis or just when something is published that’s particularly insufferable. My middle name is Fritz and there’s a roman numeral on my passport, so yeah, over-the-top WASPiness doesn’t escape me – especially when it comes to humor.
I was first turned on to the ridiculousness of marriage announcements through NYT Vows, a Twitter account that creates fake marriage announcements that seem all-too-real given what the real marriage announcements are actually like. They, unlike me, were featured in this piece about hate-reading the marriage announcements I’ve grown to look forward to roasting Friday after Friday.
My initial reaction to not being featured in this column that was tailor made to feature me? Well, I wasn’t happy. I knew this piece was going to come out last December when I received an email with the subject line “NYT reporter” from someone whose email ended with @nytimes.com. I hesitantly clicked an email that I thought was going to either be a cease and desist or an angry author who took issue with something I wrote. I wasn’t afraid of it being an angry couple who was featured because, well, I’ve already dealt with that.
We set up a phone interview to discuss the idea of “hate-reading” these announcements. I was hesitant prior to the 2:15 p.m. call that would ensue the following day.
But concerns loomed. Was this going to be a hit piece? Was the top result for my name on Google about to be in a column called Asshole Internet Writer Won’t Stop Raining On People’s Weddings? Was I going to fumble over my words and be quoted for something I didn’t actually mean? After all, spoken word isn’t something that comes naturally. I was afraid that even if this wasn’t going to be a hit piece, I’d somehow transform it into one by sounding like a dumbass.
So, I canceled. And then I sat at my laptop thinking of possible headlines for when this column actually came out.
We Made It, Everyone – The New York Times Finally Acknowledged The Absurdity Of Their Wedding Announcements
That Time The New York Times Buried Me
And then I wondered, “Well, shit, what if they don’t include me?
The Peak Of My Career Is When I Declined Comment In The New York Times
How Is The New York Times Going To Write About Hate-Reading And Not Mention Me?
Sure enough, it was the latter. I wasn’t sure whether to feel bummed, satisfied, relieved, or mad. But I knew I felt something because any time you write something that reaches millions of readers, you instinctively want recognition.
In the end, well-played, New York Times. I’m glad we can continue this tango and move forward in our “keep your enemies closer” sort of way. Had you simply linked to a column I’d written, I probably would’ve thought, “Well, that was fun, moving on to something else.” But now? Well, looks like I’m going to have to pour more fuel on the fire. .
[via The New York Times]