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« Is "long-established Zionist policy" immoral? | Main | Liberalism as status symbol »

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


Mannie Sherberg
Yael -- when I was young and just breaking into the ad-writing business, prose like that written by Vick was called "Timespeak" -- and it was all the rage among the sort of folks who devoured every issue of Time: people who considered themselves urbane, worldly-wise, and in-the-know. The trick to writing Timespeak -- and it was a trick, nothing more -- was to adopt a supercilious, cavalier, slightly patronizing tone --- a tone that suggested the writer and (wink, wink!) the reader were superior to anything and everything that might be going on in the world, especially the world of people who didn't read Time. Over the years, the magazine has lost many things: its founding publishers, a great many advertisers and a great deal of money, and, of course, huge numbers of readers. But the one thing it has never lost is its self-satisfied, condescending tone. Time was born as -- and what little is left of it remains -- a magazine for the smug, the shallow, and the superficial, for people who are, by and large, poseurs and phonies. In Yiddish, guys like Vick (and many of his readers) would be called "ploshers" -- which roughly translates into "insufferable asses." They're contemptible, but they're also laughable -- and it's probably best to laugh at them. They don't deserve to be taken seriously by serious people.

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