Public editor Margaret Sullivan has a few questions about the editorial freedom with which the average New York Times columnist operates:
I interviewed Andrew Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and I surveyed the Op-Ed columnists, including Gail Collins, who was the previous editorial page editor. The response was unanimous: Columnists have almost inviolable free rein on subject matter. But that "almost" is important...Mr. Rosenthal said he had done it [killed an already-written column] only once.
Once! Only once in the Grey Lady's storied history! It must have been hideously egregious. Oh my God, which column. Which column. You have to tell us. You have to tell us everything.
"I had to say, ‘We're not going to print that column,' " he recalled, declining to provide specifics, other than to say it was "inappropriate." Some time later, the columnist wrote on the same subject in a different way, and the piece was published.
Very well, keep your secrets. Yours is to decline to provide specifics, ours is to play Inappropriate New York Times Columnist Mad Libs. Please select one item from each of the three columns, then craft a shocking and delicious narrative around them.
White people saying the n-word
Women in combat
A new kind of drug that is popular with young people
No-swipe fare cards
The declining birthrate
My dinner party with a notable Supreme Court Justice
The decline of the It handbag
The President's need to compromise
Something my cat did
What we can learn from ______
Interventionism as a foreign policy
Trains don't run on time they way they used to, have you ever noticed that?
Raising the minimum wage
Michelle Obama's bangs
The increasingly loud buzzing in my ears and pervasive sense of unreality ever since I took the ruby home with me from that unusual tour of the cave in Kuala Lumpur even though they told us not to touch anything
Young people seem to have more tattoos nowadays than they used to, why is that
My garage door won't open even when I press the clicky thing
Customer service (it used to be so great but now it isn't)
The remodel of my vacation home is taking forever and is also a metaphor for how we can't get anything done in Washington
IN LIGHT OF
The Pope's resignation
China, just China
Tesla's Model S electric car
The State of the Union Address
Fifty Shades of Grey
Please elaborate in the comments, or email me directly, for I will never tire of this game.
[Image via AP]