"Both come from the humblest of beginnings. Both were members of the first sizable generation of minority students at elite colleges and then Yale Law School. Both benefited from affirmative action policies."
"But that is where their similarities end, and their disagreements begin."
And so, for another chronic, agonizing story, the Times forces upon us a sense of equanimity, even-handedness.
Ask yourself, considering what you know about Sonia Sotomayor, if you can relate to her. Do you know anyone who she reminds you of? Bronx-born? Latina? High achiever? Diabetic? Attorney, judge? Divorced woman? West Villager? Yankees fan? Immigrant kid? I reckon almost everyone in America can relate to some aspect of her story.
Now, ask what you know of Clarence Thomas. Yes.
Here's what I know, right off the top of my head: Thomas and the Anita Hill accusation; Thomas is so far to the right that when fellow conservative justice Anthony Scalia gives talks at high schools or colleges, he gets his first big laugh from his audiences by saying that when Thomas was appointed, Scalia instantly became a sort of dangerous liberal; Thomas likes driving his motorhome through redneck America (obviously blending in); he (almost) never speaks when the Supreme Court is in session; he's from a truly remote and dreadful part of Georgia, for which the words 'benighted' and 'abject' were coined.
But the Times wants readers to see Sotomayor and Thomas as a neat little compare-and-contrast. Alternative headline suggestion:
Man who May Indeed Have Raped a Former ColleagueI actually wrote a lot more for this posting than I finally allowed to slither online. Here's what happened: as I continued berating the New York Times I wound up, guess where? at the well-known intersection of the 2000 U.S. Presidential election and September 11th. And there, I lose the power to express adequately and without resort to emotion, how deeply personal (emotion!) and profound — ummm... errr...
Juxtaposed with Diabetic Supporter of Women's Rights