New York City is to the United States as St. Louis is to Tierra del Fuego. Mention a currently playing Western film and most of us think of, well, the West. Not the Times, though. It's not going to change the damn subject just because it's a different subject.
A.O. Scott's Times review of 3:10 to Yuma leads off:
Russell Crowe, who wears the black hat in “3:10 to Yuma,” is a native of New Zealand. Christian Bale, the good guy, was born in Wales. Lou Dobbs and other commentators who have lately been sounding the alarm about outsourcing, immigration and the globalization of the labor market may want to take note. The hero and the villain in a cowboy movie: are we going to stand by and let foreigners steal these jobs? Are no Americans willing to do them?
There is simply nothing like a New York Times review that, like Mr. Scott's, sees beyond the obvious to connect with the true social and political issues.
"Get me Merkin." "Hello, Merkin here." "Merkin, it's 'Sulz' Pinchburger. I just read your cookbook review and it's no go." "No! What's the matter with it?" "Too right wing. Who do you think you're writing for, the freaking Post?" "But Sulz, it's about — " "I know what the frick it's about. Cooking with chili peppers. Quit jerking around." "But Sulz — " "Six o'clock today. Better be on board by then." Click.
Merkin sighs. "A.O., I wonder if I could borrow your template."
Chili peppers ripening in the New Mexico sun. Native Americans toiled here centuries ago until the Spanish invaders under Capitan El Dorado Bush wiped them out by selling them blankets impregnated with global warming. That was before the thieving Spanish evolved into gentle, pastoral Mexicans dreaming of Aztlan — no match for American agri-business interests who took over the chili growing concession in a CIA-led revolution.
Today's New Yorkers and other urban sophisticates are all too ignorant of the tragic history of the spicy plant used in recipes such as those in Chili Chili Nice and Easy, just issued by Random Publishers. (Chili con Carnage would be a better title.) What seems like a tasty condiment that pays tribute to the proud and noble tribes that once held this land in trust for Nature is in fact an insult to their memory. Nothing has changed since the U.S. Army gave Cochise a one-way ticket to the reservation. White settlers stole the Native Americans' sports team nicknames, then stole their chili pepper farms.
Take the first, seemingly innocent recipe, Free-Range Rattlesnake with Chili-Remonstro Sauce …