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All the news that’s fit to steal

September 12th, 2010 · 82 comments

“New York Times reader” didn’t become a right-wing synonym for “elitist” out of nowhere. As the newspaper itself proclaims, “Times readers are a well-educated group. They expect sophisticated coverage and literate prose.”

But how does that literate sophistication hold up when the Gray Lady goes a-missin’? Well, if “self-aggrandizing smugness” counts as sophistication and “almost free of basic spelling and grammar errors” counts as “literate”  — remarkably well, actually!  (That whole “i before e” thing is pretty tricky, after all.)

Exhibit a) From Alan in Washington, DC:

NOTICE TO WELL-READ 1809 THEIF [sic]  I would be grateful if you cease snatching my copy of the New York Times. If not, I shall have to cancel my subscription, which will deny us both the application. -JSS

Exhibit b) From an anonymous submitter in Lawrence, Kansas:

To the scumbag who keeps taking my New York Times as their own, I'm not impressed. you obviously are somewhat intelligent if you are inclined to read such a quality publication, but guess what dumbass,stealing is still wrong. I've paid for it and I'd like to read it. Kindly leave it here next time.

Exhibit c) From Elizabeth in Queens:

will the person who keeps stealing my times, please stop...we're neighbors here and i shouldn't have to worry about a theif [sic] in my home. if money is that tight buy the post. -stew

Unimpressed? Well, for the sake of comparison, let’s take a look at some notes by readers of less “sophisticated” newspapers. Like, say, the Washington Post:

ATTENTION SECOND FLOOR: NEWSPAPER THIEF ON THE LOOSE!!! I am so sick of my goddamn newspaper getting stolen every FUCKING day. I'm hiring Angela Lansbury to find out who you are, and I swear to God, she'll go BATSHIT CRAZY on your ass. I've caught a newspaper thief once, and I'll do it again. EAT SHIT YOU STUPID BITCH!

Adds Robin in DC: “This person has also posted several other notes making various threats, including a promise to fill their paper with feces and glitter.”

As much as I appreciate that imagery, it’s actually New York’s other status-symbol-paper that inspires my favorite note of this genre — primarily because it so perfectly captures the essence of the Patrick Bateman/Gordon Gekko-worshipping tool I imagine the writer to be.

Hey!! I've ordered the Wall Street Journal to be delivered here. Please stop taking it, or I'll break your fuckin' arms! Love, Harrison

Our submitter, meanwhile, found the note more puzzling than anything else. Writes Danielle: “What kind of boring person steals the Wall Street Journal?”

And that, dear readers, is a question for another day.

related: Free markets, free people, free papers

extra credit: Dear Neighbors, Read This Note! []

FILED UNDER: CAPS LOCK · die bitch die · i before e · most popular notes of 2010 · neighbors · newspaper · not-so-veiled threats · signed with love · stealing

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