“Glimmers of Light in the Forest Primeval”

Some years ago, humorist Roy Blount had an epiphany — if one is patient and diligent enough, he assured his readers, one can uncover bits and snatches of smart reporting and felicitous writing in The New York Times, albeit usually buried deep inside the Gray Lady’s institutional prose.

Blount likened coming across these nuggets to the experience of spotting “glimmers of light” as one stumbles, lost, through “the forest primeval.”

This morning’s paper is proof positive that Blount was on to something. First, Adam Nagourney keeps a straight face as he introduces readers to a Wisconsin voter he found waving a flag at Howard Dean’s election night party. Her name? We kid you not: “Mary Citizen.”

Next, Todd S. Purdum opines, deadpan, that while Dr. Dean spent months allowing Democrats to feel “it was good to be angry,” Sen. Kerry was out persuading voters that “it would be better to get even.” His knife sharpened, Purdum continues: Dean, he writes, was still urging voters to “send a message to Washington,” while Kerry “long ago asked them to send a president.”

But perhaps the best line in the bowels of The Times came not from a journalist, but from a candidate.

That would be John Edwards, who said the lesson of the Wisconsin vote was that “Objects in your mirror may be closer than they appear.”


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Steve Lovelady was editor of CJR Daily.