Above: The Titanic, proud prowler of the ocean, steaming into history. Inset below: The Titanic’s bow, as seen from a Russian MIR I submersible. Wikimedia Commons.
As you may have noticed, American newspapers are in a spot of trouble these days. Bad economy, sinking circulation, this newfangled thing called the Information Superhighway … the troubles just keep piling up.
So I’m always interested in seeing what our best and brightest newspapering minds are doing to stop the bleeding. The New York Times has this thing it cleverly calls The New York Times Store, because it’s, well, it’s run by the New York Times and it’s a store. As in, a place where you can buy merchandise that you probably don’t need but that might be fun to have, anyway. A sort of readers’ boutique.
The haul is tasteful, and handy if you need to score a quick birthday present for a happily retired stockbroker uncle in Montauk. It’s a little New York-centric, but that’s OK: Derek Jeter memorabilia, Yogi Berra signed baseballs, Authentic Yankee Stadium “Freeze-Dried Grass” Sod (!), Babe Ruth baseball jerseys. Looking westward, Edward Curtis prints seem to be a popular item. So are crossword puzzles, executive-desk knickknacks … you get the picture. The store’s a good idea: When the ship’s going down, any little bucket on deck helps.
About that bucket.
The other day I flipped to the back page of the arts section and saw the latest come-on from the Times store.
THE FLEET IS IN
AMAZING SHIP MODELS
the headline screamed, and there at the top was a photo of a splendid-looking model of The Titanic.
Just $249 for the 32-inch edition, but let’s go whole hog: You can get the 40-inch model, complete with “accurate crow’s nest, metal propellers and railings, and intricate cranes, ventilators, ladders, funnels, steam pipes, benches and skylights,” for $379. It’ll look great on your mant …
Hold on: A newspaper’s selling a model of The Titanic!
Guys: Have you read your back issues? Is this really the image you want to put out there right now? How about a bronzed commemorative pile of molten debris from the Hindenburg? Have you been too busy rearranging the deck chairs to notice the iceberg out there in the fog?
Just sayin’, this might be a tactical mistake.
But I do like the idea of the company store. Lord knows, even in their current state of disarray the newspapers are raking in more money than this blogospheric whiz-bang buggy we’ve hitched our wagon to here at Art Scatter.
Anybody interested in a Mr. and Mrs. Scatter commemorative coffee mug?
How about a Large Smelly Boys minty air freshener for the car?