In yesterday’s New York Times, an article about the heated congressional race between Charles Rangel and Adriano D. Espaillat contained the following paragraph:
“Mr. Espaillat, deployed timeless political tactics in his second attempt, lining up endorsements from local leaders in the Bronx and East Harlem and relentlessly sending sound trucks to blare everything from meringue to a cover of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ at voters, from morning to night.”
The above is an EXACT quote. I did not change any punctuation, spelling, or wording, or move anything around. Nor am I taking this paragraph out of context.
Where can I even BEGIN? Aside from the obvious error – “I Believe I Can Fly” is SOOOO last century – look – I mean JUST LOOK – at the comma placement in the above paragraph: Perhaps, MAYBE if that paragraph had been written by Yakov Smirnoff and the fast-moving developments impelled Smirnoff to dictate to his assistant Hodor who then read the copy over the phone to Mickey Rourke back in Times HQ, maybe, MAYBE such a bizarre placement of punctuation MIGHT be excusable.
In Soviet Russia, Commas place you!
(The reporter, by the way, is named Nikita Stewart, and Odin forgive me for ethnic stereotyping, but maybe I’m not so far off with the Yakov Smirnoff thing?)
Secondly – well, thirdly, since really, did I really need to have the earworm of “I Can Believe I Can Fly” sluiced into my brain? – well, at least I should be thankful it wasn’t “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas – Merengue is a much-treasured and popular form of dance music, with long roots in the Dominican Republic. MERINGUE (which according to reporter Stewart and the Times was blaring from the sound trucks) is a light, sweet, fattening desert made from whipped eggs and cream, popular in France and Switzerland.
Confusing Merengue and Meringue is a RIDICULOUS error, especially in a New York-based paper covering a story that took place in Harlem, and my editors at the Great Neck South Southerner, who kindly tolerated my ramblings about Syd Barrett and Wire in the late-ish 1970s, would have handed me my precious, pretentious, precocious ass ON A PLATTER if I made a mistake as IDIOTIC as that.
(Goddammit, why did I have to mention “Carry On My Wayward Son”?)
But maybe…maybe there ARE trucks that “blare” meringue. Maybe, just maybe I’m being a little too hasty in my judgement.
Perhaps these trucks cruise down the cool, neat streets of Lausanne in the moments leading up to New Years, dousing Swiss revelers with rich, fluffy, sugary meringue.
These revelers, all with masterfully tuned Swiss watches precisely set to count down the minutes and seconds until the New Year, their usually cool Swiss inhibitions loosened by the sweet, fruity Kirsch that they imbibe during the holiday seasons, virtually BATHE in the meringue spurting out of the Famous Meringue Camions de Pompiers (the Fire-Trucks re-fitted during the New Years’ Holiday for the SOLE purpose of dousing the happy Swiss with Meringue). And perhaps this tradition of the New Years’ Meringue-dousing originated in 1848, to mark the adoption of the first constitution of the Swiss Federation.
“Regarde, maman, les camions de meringue sont ici!” shriek the children as they see the Meringue Trucks entering the famous Rue De Bourg. The little ones climb on their parents’ shoulders, hoping for a good soaking of the silky, sweet confection.
“Soyez prudent, Pierre!,” warns Mama, with a gentle smile of reproach.
“L’année dernière, vous aviez trop et vomi partout dans la grand-maman et l’ambassadeur d’Autriche!” (Be careful, Pierre! Last year you had too much meringue and threw up all over Grandma and the Austrian ambassador!)
So, maybe that WAS Meringue being blared from trucks at candidate Espaillat’s rallies.
OR MAYBE, heck I am gonna go out on a limb here and say it is LIKELY (will you, dear reader, allow me this episode of limb going-on-out-ness?) THAT THE NY TIMES IS NOW BEING EDITED BY CHIMPS NOT EVEN SMART ENOUGH TO PLAY TAMBORUINE WITH LANCELOT LINK.
(Oh, and many thanks to a TRULY PROFESSIONAL editor, Great Neck North’s very own Nancie S. Martin, for tipping me off to this Editorial Altamont.)
So, the next time you get all mad at the New York Times for running yet another article on a useless piece of shit talentless Deejay and making you somehow feel guilty that you don’t give one single sloppily-coiled ice-cream-powered pile of shit about said Deejay; or when 6 articles in a single month tell you that you now have to move back into the neighborhood the Times spent all of last year telling you to move out of; or when the transparency of the Times’ mission to shill for the Russian billionaires who Bloomuiliani made the non-tax paying masters of Manhattan just becomes, oh, so INCREDIBLY transparent; please try to have pity and remember this:
CHIMPS EDIT THE NEW YORK TIMES.
The New York Times is edited by chimps who not only spray commas around a paragraph with the subtlety of Foster Brooks reading excerpts from a Jenny McCarthy anti-vaccination rant, but CHIMPS who CANNOT TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HIGH-END DESSERT AND A FORM OF CARRIBEAN DANCE MUSIC.
Chimps, I tell you, Chimps. And not the good suit-wearing kind. Mean, poop-throwing, ill-mannered chimps.
Tim Sommer has achieved a degree of notoriety as a journalist, avant-garde musician, music producer, record company executive, club and radio DJ, and VJ on MTV and VH1.