The tragic thing about this weekly visit with the cultural rot that is Time Out New York (TONY) is that, on some horrible level, I have grown to enjoy it. Much like Philip debasing himself to Mildred in Maugham’s Of Human Bondage, wallowing in the swill that is TONY has its own peculiar, addictive satisfaction. Now, I eagerly await each issue, thinking … what abomination have they for me next? And … I like it.
The stupidity begins as early as page 6 (the Staff Question section), where TONY-toilers were asked, “what’s your ideal night in?” Fairly simple? The Associate Editor, Features (no need to embarrass her again by naming her), says, “On an ideal Friday evening, you’ll find me holed up in my apartment, gorging on spicy chicken-and-vegetable red curry, and watching Glee or Buffy reruns.” This is bad enough, but it’s not a patch on the reply of TONY’s Senior Designer, who responds, “video games, booze and bad movies. My Netflix queue is overflowing with box-office turds that must be watched!” Now … we can be charitable and simply believe these ironic Gothamites are simply struggling to be clever. Or, more tragically, we can take them at their word…
Art on page 49 includes a write-up of the MoMa PS1 show, Nancy Grossman: Heads. Now, to the credit of TONY reporter Claire Barliant, she does wonder if this collection of S/M leather masks in an almost empty room is really “a celebration of sadomasochism or a commentary on patriarchal oppression.” Or something. I would ask, perhaps, if it was merely junk. However, the howler in the article is this quote by Susan Sontag, “the color is black, the material is leather, the seduction is beauty, the justification is honesty, the aim is ecstasy, the fantasy is death.” Now, among dimwits embraced by a benighted intelligentsia, Sontag hovers somewhere behind the goofy and unbalanced Ayn Rand. One can only read scrofulous prose like this with an indulgent smile and the fervent hope the writer will eventually recover.
Page 105, in the Off Broadway Theater section, reviews Sex on the Beach. In this play, “former Classical Theatre of Harlem chief Alfred Preisser directs the Off Broadway premiere of Roy Arias’s 2006 portrait of three Caribbean sex workers: one male, one female and another in-between.” I have a somewhat better title for them: The Riddle of the Sands.
More next week!