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Opinion | From Fox News to Trump’s Big Lie, the Line Is Short and Direct


Coming up with new ways to express frustration about the crazily high number of Americans who refuse coronavirus vaccines is increasingly difficult, so I tip my hat to John Ficarra, in Air Mail, for this: “Yes, West Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. But with your measly 49 percent double-vaccinated rate, he will be skipping most of your state.”

In a recent re-examination of Greta Garbo’s career in The New Yorker, Margaret Talbot wrote: “Few other performers have ascended as quickly to mononymic status as Garbo did — she started off the way most of us do, with a first and last name, but the first soon fell away, like a spent rocket booster.” (Thanks to Ian Grimm, of Chapel Hill, N.C., and Stephanie Hawkins of Denton, Texas, for nominating this.)

Per usual, there have been great sentences aplenty in The Times recently, including Eric Kim’s on one of the components of a divine holiday ham: “Sticky like tar and richly savory in taste, this glaze gets its body and spice from Dijon mustard, its molasses-rich sweetness from brown sugar and its high note, the kind of flavor that floats on top like a finely tuned piccolo in an orchestra, from a touch of rice vinegar.” (Dan Lorenzini, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.)

Here’s John McWhorter on how reliably language, including pronunciation, mutates: “Even with a word as quotidian as lox (with no disrespect intended to salmon, smoked or otherwise), you can bet that sooner rather than later, the passage of time will mash it with pestles and refract it through prisms to the point that it is all but beyond recognition.” (Barbara Sloan, Conway, S.C.)

Here’s Pete Wells on the New York City restaurant that he liked best among the standouts that opened this year: “Half of Dhamaka’s success must have been its timing. New York was still coming out of a pandemic-shutdown fog when it opened in February, a period of glitchy video calls, undefined working hours, creeping anxiety, reheated leftovers and repressed pleasures. Life had gone prematurely gray. There’s nothing gray about the food at Dhamaka, though. Every dish comes at you as if it wants to either marry you or kill you.” (Kathleen Bridgman, Walnut Creek, Calif., and Donald Ham, Vallejo, Calif., among others)

And here’s James Poniewozik on a recurring character in America’s culture wars: “There’s a rule in politics, or at least there should be: Never get into a fight with Big Bird. You end up spitting out feathers, and the eight-foot fowl just strolls away singing about the alphabet.” (Valerie Hoffmann, Montauk, N.Y.)



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