A Blush of Embarrassment at the NY Times

Charles Murray likes to describe the wedding announcements section of the New York Times as the “Mergers and Acquisitions” page, since it almost uniformly features a Stanford MBA junior investment banker on Wall Street marrying a Harvard law grad working as an associate at Big Firm on Madison Ave, while rehabbing three Brooklyn brownstones for themselves in between teaching refugees to read while riding a unicycle. The wedding was staged in Martha’s Vineyard, naturally, while the new couple honeymooned at a remote resort in the Seychelles. Somehow it never features the nuptials of people who live in flyover country who might have voted for Donald Trump.

Well, well, it turns out even the Times is embarrassed about this:

Asking Why Our Wedding Pages Seem So Upper Crust: Economic Diversity in the Wedding Pages

We know that some readers — even big fans of The Times’s wedding pages — sometimes feel that the couples who have their announcements published reflect too narrow a perspective. Those readers perceive an inordinate number of references to Yale degrees, big-name law firms and elegant Manhattan neighborhoods.

It’s a fair concern — one that we share and do our best to address.

The point was recently raised again by a reader who likes that our pages are “racially diverse, there are gays and straights, immigrants and locals,” but he lamented not reading about couples in more traditionally working-class jobs. There are plenty of architects, writers, doctors and bankers — where are the truck drivers, contractors, beauticians and factory workers?

He wonders: “Is this the tip of an iceberg of neglect? The cold shoulder of an elite?”

It truly is neither. We try our best to publish a diverse and interesting group of couples every week.

One challenge, though, is that our published announcements are culled from the couples who submit their wedding to us through the online form. We would love to see more economic diversity and a broader range of careers represented. . .

And, yes, choosing our couples is subjective. Factors, in no particular order, include life achievements, job information, how-we-met stories, ages of couple, college backgrounds or not, parents’ information and other interesting anecdotes. We also strive to have as diverse a selection as we can, based on the submissions for any particular week.

Apparently this is not the first time the Times had anguished about the sociology of its wedding announcement page, or had sensitive readers complain. But here’s to hoping the Times might actually send something called “a reporter” to find a wedding of “Deplorables” in “Downtown Arkansas” (as they actually identified a location in a “news” story recently), and pass along a draft story for possible inclusion in the weddings page:

POCAHONTAS, Arkansas [note to copy editor: Can you believe such a town name is allowed to exist? Check with the style desk and see if this town name is fit to print at all.] Billy-Bob Roberts married his high school sweetheart Betty-Sue McFaul today at the Elks Lodge. The bride, wearing a simple white gown made from recycled Klan robes, works presently as the assistant manager at the local Dairy Queen; the groom, wearing what looked to be a replica of General Lee’s uniform but turned out to be his high school band costume, works as an independent distiller of fine spirits. Both bride and groom are graduates of the 2017 class of Pocahontas High School. Roberts insists that DNA tests can trace his lineage back to the Mayflower [note to the Layers and Layers of Editors and Fact Checkers Dept: Can 23 & Me actually do that?], while Ms. Roberts says her home town in the Arkansas hills was actually the relocated lost colony of Roanoke. 

The reception was held at the local Roadhouse, and featured a Patrick Swayze imitation contest backed by a southern rock cover band whose name and flag banners violate Times guidelines.

The couple is expecting its first child in six months. 

[Note to editor: I could feel them all around me. Trump voters. . . Can you please give this story to Jayson Blair next time? Wait, what?]

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