Note to The New York Times: Please Stop Doing This.

I know it is blurry.  It is stupid, too!

I know it is blurry. It is stupid, too!

At right is a picture of my crumpled Week in Review section of this Sunday’s New York Times.  It is crumpled because of the annoying layout used on these pages.

Do you see what they’ve done here?  They have the stories on the right page starting on the left page.  Where is the sense in that?  Let’s talk about this.

This two-page spread layout makes reading the stories on the right page a nuisance, not only for the reader but potentially for others. I don’t know what you call that layout (maybe someone at The New York Times can enlighten us), but for a newspaper, it is a disaster.

Let’s suppose, for example, that I am on a subway reading the paper.  I am not on a subway, I live in Minneapolis, but let’s suppose.  If I am reading the story about cancer and climate change, I have to fold and unfold the paper an annoying second time to read the entire story, while likely elbowing the people seated on either side of me.  They’re annoyed.  I am annoyed.

Or let’s suppose that I am in bed reading the paper on a cold Minnesota morning.  I live in Minneapolis and, by coincidence, that’s exactly what I am doing.  (This is a live test.)  In this scenario, I am likely to annoy anyone fortunate enough to stay out of the cold with me.  However,  even in the case that I were alone (remember, this is a live test), it is still bleeping annoying that I have to flip the page, open the page, fold the page, and whatever else twice — instead of once — to move from the first column to the second.  Right?  Try to tell me I am wrong.

Try to tell me I am wrong.

Consider, too, in the photo above, the woman potting plants in her head.  The overall gist of that illustration is lost, the narrative broken, by the absurd composition of spreading one story across the vertical fold, whatever that vertical fold is called, when the page is cockadoodle to accommodate your silly layout.  (Is the layout called the spadea?  Someone help me.  I am too agitated to think clearly.)

Perhaps this layout looks cool in the editor’s office, I have no idea, but it sure doesn’t work on the street.  Or in bed.  And “cool” was cool a generation ago.

Like all sane, good people, I believe the line between the two pages of a spread like this is sacred and should not be crossed for all the practical reasons explained thus far.  However, there is more.  There is an argument of ontological parsimony behind the separation rule, and that simply goes like this:  What’s the bleeping point?  Let’s not make things unnecessarily complicated.  (Just please stop!)

In conclusion, so that I don’t have to start up a national petition — if not a boycott — can you  just knock it off over there?


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