‘Snobbery, Cruelty & Ugliness’ in NYT ‘Journalism Fail’

Blogging at Jezebel, Sadie Stein (8/12/09) turns the spotlight on the New York Times‘ Cintra Wilson “in a remarkably nasty piece. Brace yourselves, kids”:

In a paper often characterized by a tone as carefully bland as NPR‘s, she can be a breath of fresh air. But today’s column, on Manhattan’s first J.C. Penney, is a marvel of snobbery, cruelty and ugliness….

It took me a long time to find a size 2 among the racks. There are, however, abundant size 10s, 12s and 16s….

The petites section features a bounty of items for women nearly as wide as they are tall; the men’s Big & Tall section has shirts that could house two or three Shaquilles.

Because, you see, there are apparently people who wear these laughable sizes and are reduced to these knock-off fashions….

This is, she concludes,

the genius of J. C. Penney: It has made a point of providing clothing for people of all sizes…. To this end, it has the most obese mannequins I have ever seen. They probably need special insulin-based epoxy injections just to make their limbs stay on. It’s like a headless wax museum devoted entirely to the cast of Roseanne.

Postulating that this may all be a misguided attempt by the Times “to draw on the snark of the blogosphere that the kids are supposedly so crazy about,” Stein offers a response in the form of her own “little internet home-brew: FAIL. EPIC FAIL, even. I could add ‘compassion fail’ and ‘humanity fail,’ if I so chose. I’d say ‘journalism fail,’ but if you keep this up, I won’t need to.”