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July 8, 2008

A Good Op-Ed is Hard to Find

Locating the right man is so difficult. And if the most-emailed New York Times stories are any indication—okay, they're probably not, but bear with us—the ladies out there are still, as ever, searching for that bit of magical advice that will help them land Mr. Right. That people are searching for relationship advice is no big surprise; it seems odd to us, though, that a paper known for hard news coverage generates greater online buzz when it morphs into Cosmo for people who read.

Jean Teasdale

The Onion's Jean Teasdale would be proud.

Maybe it shouldn't seem so odd—witness the proliferation of the T style magazine. An article about so-called literary dealbreakers once occupied the most emailed spot. So did a piece in the "modern love" series that appeared to equate husbands with emus. (Call us biased if you want, but we cannot help but wonder if a parallel essay, written by a man about his wife, would merit publication in anything other than Maxim). And then there's the enduring popularity of the Sunday wedding announcements.

Now Maureen Dowd has gotten in on the act, with a column in which she interviews a priest about finding "the ideal husband" (ironic: a conversation about marriage between the single Dowd and a celibate priest). Dowd's column is unabashedly fluff, lacking even an ostensible connection to current events aside from a brief mention of recent celebrity divorces which, one would think, do not merit much space on the Times op-ed page. Luckily, the divorces don't take up much space—most of the column is devoted to the priest's opining.

The Times' fluff pieces are clearly popular and, at this point, we're not under any delusions that they'll go away. But it sure would be nice if the paper could keep them confined to the style section and the odd issue of T.

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