Angry New Yorker

Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Unemployed Man Hit By Bus
There's either an interesting, though sad, trend underway, or I've only just noticed the ongoing practice, but what's with the New York media's practice of identifying everyone by their occupation? For example, today's New York Times [see here] and [see here] are both highlighting a story about Monica Meadows, who was shot in the subway the other day. The Times headline reads, "Model Shot in Subway by Unknown Assailant Who Flees", while's headline reads "Aspiring Model/Actress Shot On Subway In Midtown." Other papers and outlets' headlines are similar. I started noticing this practice after the tragic murder of Sarah Fox in Inwood Hill Park. Every description led with "Juilliard student". In searching the New York Times' archive I've discovered the practice is very common: "Stunned Japan Agonizes Over Schoolgirl Stabbing," "Fairfield University Senior Is Killed by a Bus," etc. You get the idea.

Although the mantra drilled into school kids everywhere is "you can become whatever you want to become," a nice, but patently false aspiration, it appears reality is more mundane. Namely, that when you die, or the media turns its staring eye upon you, the headline will simply note your occupation or affiliation at the moment. Everything else about you will be discarded.

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