The legendary singer Barbara Carroll's death this week received inadequate attention in The New York Times.
I was surprised that the newspaper placed Carroll's obituary at the bottom of its second death-notice page Wednesday morning. A major Broadway and cabaret performer in New York Ctiy since the early 1950s and a noted singing teacher, Carroll should have received a front page notice, along with a major appreciation on the Arts section front.
These days, with staff cutbacks and the hiring of digital whiz kids, I wonder if anyone at the Times even knows who Barbara Carroll was. I don't recall reading any reviews lately by wonderful cabaret writer Stephen Holden.
The de-emphasis of daily book coverage continues. Ottessa Moshfegh is one of America's hottest young writers, yet the Times placed staff critic Dwight Garner's review of her new short story collection "Homesick for Another World" far back in the Arts section Wednesday, Just a few years ago, the Times would have not only run the review on the front page, it would have done one or two major profiles on the author.
Not that Moshfegh work sounds appealing. Like other reviewers, Garner emphasized her obsession with bodily functions, rotten teeth and illness.
I liked an essay by Moshfegh in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago, one of those pieces in which the WSJ asks a writer to test a new brand of booze.
The piece was loaded with existential despair laced with black humor, as Moshfegh described drinking straight from a bottle of gin while traveling in an Uber from Los Angeles to Palm Springs trying to ease her heartaches over a new lover. With its vivid descriptions of the desert, her erotic longing and the comfort of the gin, Moshfegh's piece had the classic elements of California noir writing.
Alas, reviews of her collection make me homesick for the stories of John Cheever, John Updike and Alice Munro. I don't want to spend any reading time on such disfunctional-sounding characters.
One other outrage: Shame on The Times for not running an obituary on the nationally known poet Thomas Lux, who died a couple of weeks ago of cancer. The Georgia Tech professor regularly had his books reviewed in the Times, and the newspaper previously interviewed him. Odd that the newspaper would not give recognition to him after his death. Again, one wonders if the newspaper's depth of cultural knowledge is eroding.