The Weekend NYT, through a fish(tern)-eye lens

Thank goodness for Fishterns with the time and wherewithal to devour the Sunday Times and spit it back up again, just for you. Thanks be to Fishtern Fritz Brantley for hunkering down for some serious Q.T. with the Gray Lady (“gray” seeming to be the operative word this weekend) and giving us his own pithy and inimitable rundown. Take it away, Fritz!

Let’s start with the Book Review, as it’s the most zany exemplar of the theme that’s running through this Sunday’s Times – “Freudian Slips of The Middle-Aged.” On page 19, a dek for “The Testing of Luther Albright” read “This novel’s protagonist is more comfortable with his tools than with his family.” Below, in a review for Mr. Muo’s Travelling Couch: “In this novel, a Freudian analyst must find a chaste woman in China.” Tempting virgins abound. Hmmm, this week’s Times is feeling a little frisky. Anyhow, to give credit to the rest of Gray Lady’s book picks, there’s a thoughtful profile of politically prickly post-colonial “prophet” V.S. Naipaul, even if the cover is for two dowdy historical chronicles of white people who done good on slavery, plus an essay on the dearth of (and death of?) fiction in our nation’s magazines. Talk about an upper!

The celebration of old people continues in the magazine: Robin Henig looks for “the good death” in the age of hospice care (now an uplifting #2 on MEL), and David Darlington gets aging anxiety over genetically-engineered fine vino. They’re not old, but they’re certainly celebrated: Clive Thompson interviews some Austin boys and their high-powered, armor-piercing, but totally virtual toys in another one of Thompson’s mammoth tech pieces. In Styles: ah, the melancholy life of the creepy old dude who uses his title as “party promoter” to pump your date full of Cosmo shots; and a weirdly synchronous rodeo fashion report (Ed.: oxymoron?), after Details’ hard-hitting expos&#233 “The Gay Rodeo Rides Again.”

Speaking of country life: Nicholas Kristof uses an eastern Oregon town’s techno-savvy to advocate for similar Wi-Fi systems being developed in Portland and Philadelphia. Because if we can’t get the homeless off the street, the least we can do is give them Drudge and Defamer (Ed. And Fishbowl, natch!). David Brooks says lowering rates of violence against women shows we’re in the middle of a “moral revival” (Ed. But see The Fishies, #2). Brooks fails to mention the concurrent and equally heartwarming “dance revival” exemplified by “So You Think You Can Dance.” Esquire writer John H. Richardsons hops on the Plame Train and talks about his dad, the CIA Officer outed by the press thanks to high-powered sources. Novak, at least this one wasn’t your fault.

And the real news, which is so damn obvious, no one is e-mailing each other about it: go back to making out with your parakeet, ‘cuz the avian flu vaccine is “effective”; John Roberts aims to be controversial to both parties, as he’s quirky on privacy and LOVES the gays; air travel is about to have 100% delays and it’s not because of de-icing, and now that Israel is considering pulling out of Gaza, Netanyahu pulls out himself. And so the Freudian imagery comes full circle.