When it comes to Brexit, the New York Times has a track record in prophesying doom and gloom. Last year, the paper's coverage included the suggestion that everyone in London was eating boiled mutton and porridge until a few years ago and that nervous citizens are stockpiling food for a Brexit emergency,
Mr S. is saddened but not surprised to report that the Times is still at it. And this week, the paper hit new heights of fantasy. ‘Roads gridlocked with trucks. Empty supermarket shelves. An economy thrown into paralysis,’ a would-be novelist named Scott Reyburn wrote earlier this week. His story, ‘As Brexit Looms, the Art World Prepares for the Fallout’, was recycled as a front-page item on the Times’s international edition.
‘Fear — of the unknown, of the familiar, and of what happens when one becomes the other — is stalking London’s stages this winter, as Britain continues to squirm under the big, black question mark known as Brexit,’ squirmed Ben Brantley in a theater round-up. This story received a whole page in what passes for the Arts section of the Times’ international edition
Britain is in a ‘crazed Brexit vortex’, adds Roger Cohen, holder of the Tom Friedman Chair in Applied Chin-Stroking.
If you can be bothered to read the rest of Scott Reyburn’s prognosis of art-market apocalypse, you’ll see that the author buries an art-market prognosis of a Brexit boom several paragraphs in. Indeed, why should a market that is little more than a laundry for ill-gotten cash from Russia, the Gulf and China be affected by Brexit? Bring on Britain’s low-tariff, ask-no-questions future, says Steerpike, who has some daubs of his own you might like.
And what about Ben Brantley’s counsels of theatrical despair? The plays he discusses are by dead lefty Arthur Miller and dead ultra-lefty Harold Pinter. Miller is regularly revived on the London stage. Steerpike had a good nap during All My Sons in 2013, three years before the Brexit referendum, and another restful evening in 2015 at A View From a Bridge. Pinter, most of whose plays should be tagged ‘Do Not Revive’, is also a permanent fixture, beloved by Guardian readers and other puritan pseuds. So much for ‘mortal anxiety’ about Brexit.
The Times is so desperate for bad news about Brexit that it’s posthumously endowing Miller and Pinter with powers of prophecy. Steerpike wonders if Ben Brantley would consider working for him as a racing tipster...