Things NYT Columnists Say: Pathetic Patriots, Stalin-Surpassing Tobacco Execs

January 25th, 2018 4:05 PM

Let’s start on Wednesday, with former reporter Frank Bruni’s ridiculous extended metaphor linking the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots, Donald Trump, and the American economy in a web of corruption: “The Hell of This Year’s Super Bowl.” The text box: “It’s the Patriots, again, and a metaphor for Trump’s America.” Of course it is.

We purveyors of commentary tend to find multitudes in the teeniest speck and mirrors of the zeitgeist wherever we turn. I grant you that. But grant me this: America really is about to get the pathetic Super Bowl that it deserves.


The Patriots perfectly embody our income-inequality era and the tax reform that President Trump recently signed. Their good fortune begets more good fortune. They shamelessly hoard glory. And there’s frequently a whiff of cheating in their success.

Bruni detoured into offensive personal cracks at the First Family.

But those National Football League franchises have reliable losing streaks, and Trump won’t suffer that. Also, when he looks at the Patriots’ glamour-puss quarterback, Tom Brady, he sees a younger, less quizzically coifed version of himself, complete with a foreign-born model for a wife. Trust me on this. He just squints extra hard, sucks in his gut and begs Melania to answer to “Gisele” for a while.


Please forgive the mixed bestial metaphor, but these Eagles aren’t cuddly underdogs. They have fans so famously obnoxious that after Sunday’s rout, some of them threw beer cans at a Vikings team bus as it pulled away from the stadium. Sore winning: I wonder which of our amazing leaders taught them that.

Bruni managed to talk about the NFL being in a funk without bringing up the National Anthem protests that have cut into the spectacle’s popularity.

It’s a downer most of all because the N.F.L. itself is in such a funk. I say that reluctantly. For my money, pro football remains the most exciting of the four major American sports. It showcases the most extraordinary athleticism.

That is, when the athletes aren’t sidelined. Injuries are so pervasive that dozens of stars don’t participate for long stretches of the season -- or for any of it....

From Davos, Switzerland, a ski resort now hosting the 1% at the World Economic Forum, columnist Nicholas Kristof made another entry in his bizarre log offensive comparisons in Thursday’s “Is the Business World All About Greed?

....Tycoons always claim to cherish ordinary people’s best interests even as they rip them off. American tobacco executives have killed more people than Stalin managed to, and pharma executives recklessly peddling opioids may have killed as many people as Colombian drug lords, yet these business leaders sometimes seem to get moist-eyed describing the work they do.

Previously, Kristof has declared “Husbands are deadlier than terrorists.” In 2003 he claimed the case for the Iraq invasion was comparatively weak because “Saddam slaughtered at most 1 percent of his population over the last 14 years” while calling for U.S. intervention in Liberia.