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“When people find out that I’m the new Carpetbagger columnist, tasked with covering Oscar season for The Times, they usually have two questions.
“Why is it called the Carpetbagger?” they’ll ask.
And, inevitably, it’s followed by that old chestnut: “Do the Oscars really matter anymore?”
The answer to the first question might suggest why so many are tempted to ask the second. If you count yourself among the curious, let me explain.
You may know that political candidates are far more likely than columnists to be accused of carpetbagging, since the Reconstruction-era term refers to, among others, someone who runs for office in a place he or she hardly knows. My predecessors in this space — David Carr, Melena Ryzik, and Cara Buckley — called themselves Carpetbaggers in sort of a cheeky way, since they were New York journalists who would parachute into Hollywood a few times a year.
Sometimes, it was their first time working the beat, and this could produce a wonderful friction, since the Carpetbagger was liable to spot details or ask questions that a jaded industry reporter might not think of.
I’m the fourth Carpetbagger, but the first departure from this time-tested model. For one, I live in Los Angeles. (Still, I like to say that we’ve retained the column name because now, as a Southern California native writing for The New York Times, I’m carpetbagging in the opposite direction.)”
JJ Editor's Picks
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Donald Trump ran for president saying that he would be a shrewd businessman with a propensity for making deals. Why, then, are we in the longest government shutdown on record?
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Fear of the news; fear of climate change, fear of touch screens... these New Yorker cartoons portray the modern phobias that are driving us crazy.
"Texts replaced authors as the privileged objects of scholarly knowledge, and the performance of critical operations on texts became essential to the scholar’s identity."
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"The much-documented anti-Semitism of the British Labor party leader is no accident... Jeremy Corbyn reminds us that anti-Semitism is not just an irrational hatred, harbored by madmen at the fringes of British society."