What A Nice Surprise

Guess who the publicist mentioned in the caption is…

So, I was reading the NY Times, as I am wont to do despite my myriad complaints about the damned thing: the shitty way they treated my father (a reporter there for 22 years), the inexcusable both-sides-ism they practice so as to appear “objective” (an impossibility; fairness and honesty should be the goal), the even-more-inexcusable and morally reprehensible ways Judith Miller and Maggie Haberman sacrificed journalistic ethics and standards to make a few bucks (and, respectively, facilitated the Iraq War and the further treasonous behavior of that former president whose name I refuse to utter in the process) — and, of course, the arbitrary and exasperating provincialism they practice in their word puzzles (ARGH!).

All of those aggravations notwithstanding, I feel it’s important to support journalism for the benefit of society. And my late father, despite his feelings about the way he was treated, still read the Old Grey Lady every single day right up to the very end of his life.

So, yeah, I read the Times. And today I was treated to a wonderful surprise: a reminder of my late mother. An op-ed/Q-and-A with Gloria Steinem, Alice Walker and others shared recollections on the 50th anniversary of the founding of Ms. magazine — an important and influential publication that my mother was also involved in founding.

There were several photos of early magazine covers in the essay, including one of a male’s back. The caption for the photo read, “Ms. shared an office with Robert Redford’s publicist, which is how his back side ended up on the cover of this issue.”

Well, we all know who that publicist was. I remember spending time in that office — I was probably 10 or so years old — and the “Tot Lot” for all the working moms’ younger-than-me kids mentioned in the story and all the hubbub surrounding Ms. in those days. It’s something my mother was proud of, and on this Father’s Day it occurs to me that I believe my dad was proud of his wife being involved with it. As much of a macho meathead as he could be (see? it’s not my fault, it’s genetic), he had nothing but respect for what they were trying to do with Ms., and especially for Pat Carbine, the original publisher of the magazine, who was as tough as he was (and who threw a famously wild St. Patrick’s Day party in New York City my parents never missed; I attended a couple of times when I got older). And, I daresay, he was proud of Mom and what she and the others at Ms. accomplished, though it seems as though the progressives and feminists of today have forgotten.

Anyway, what a treat to be sitting in the twilight of a June evening and…BAM! A reminder of Mom. Thanks, New York Times.