Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Kaddish for the New York Sun.

As someone born on the leading edge of the baby boom, I've found myself having to say farewell to many of the people I admired in my childhood, youth, and even younger adulthood, of late. This year, to give several examples, I've mourned the passing of Bo Diddley, Erik Darling, John Stewart, Paul Newman, and my friend Cicely Nichols. Today, though, I'm grieving for a newspaper. The New York Sun existed for just over six years, and I've been a subscriber only for the last year and a half. The Sun was intended to fill a niche in New York journalism that has remained empty since the demise of the World Journal Tribune, that of an upscale, broadsheet "conservative" paper. I put "conservative" in quotation marks because, as I've written here before, in the footnote (below the addenda) to this post, it is a term that no longer has a clear meaning (as is also true of "liberal"). Indeed, the conservatism of the Sun was of a different cloth than that of the old WJT. Moreover, unlike the WJT and the Times, it made no pretense that its news articles were "objective", as opposed to its editorial and opinion columns. "Fair and balanced" it was not, nor did it aspire to be.

I disagreed, sometimes vehemently, with much of what I read in the Sun. Nevertheless, I was always happy to see it at my doorstep. (Was it just my imagination that the delivery person usually put it down to the right of my copy of the Times?) I liked to read it because it challenged my thinking on some issues, and inspired me to hone my arguments. I'll always be grateful to Amity Shlaes for adding Pigovian tax to my vocabulary, and in John McWhorter I found someone I could agree with more often than not, and who brought to issues like the "war on drugs" perspectives that were new to me. I'll also miss the trenchant baseball analysis of Tim Marchman, and coverage of the arts that was, in my view, second to none. Among the last, I was especially fond of the essays on art and architectural history by fellow Brooklynite Francis Morrone. I hope all of these writers quickly find other venues for their work, and thank Seth Lipsky and his team for a fine run.