The Mirror

NYT Gives Up The Charade, Now Running Pure Fiction As Op-eds

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Betsy Rothstein Gossip blogger
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The New York Times opinion page appears to have lost its mind.

Now, they’re running futuristic op-eds. Forget about truth in journalism. We’re talking pieces of fiction written from a perspective decades well into the future. We’re talking 10, 20 or as many as 100 years. All the articles will have one thing in common: They will be 100% untrue.

Because why does journalism have to make sense anymore?

Even MSNBC host Chris Hayes — in his incoherence — is perplexed.

Maybe this is the future Chris Hayes? An alien who has left and returned to Earth?

“I’m confused: the did [sic] NYT break the story of us being visited by aliens and we all just shrugged and went back to our barbecues?” he asked.

So maybe this Hayes in 2059 pretending like he’s in 2019?

Susan Fowler, a writer and editor for the New York Times opinion page, is the feature’s cheerleader.

“I am deliriously happy today, thanks to the Op-Eds From the Future launch,” Fowler tweeted Monday night. “This is a dream almost eight months in the making, and we’re just getting started. If you haven’t read the first piece in the series yet, please do — it’s AMAZING.”

She wrote, “It is with great joy and excitement that I introduce ‘Op-Eds From the Future,’ the newest @nytopinion series. The first piece in the series is by the brilliant science fiction writer Ted Chiang.”

Chiang is an award-winning science fiction writer and author of Exhalation.

His piece is called: “It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning.”

Not everyone was hating the idea.

“This is great,” remarked Taylor Lorenz, a staff writer for The Atlantic.

Motherboard and VICE writer Becky Ferreira is also juiced about it. “This is such a cool idea for a series and Ted Chiang delivers as always but dear God I hope it doesn’t actually take until 2059 to figure this out,” she tweeted.

Anna Kaufman, who works in editorial at Pantheon Books, gave her stamp of approval, saying, “Ted Chiang is a humanistic genius.”

Genius or not, are op-eds meant to be fiction?

Fowler walks us through her process.

“When I joined the Opinion section last year, I spent a great deal of time thinking about the things that had shaped my worldview,” she explained. “I realized that fiction — especially science fiction — had been the most powerful influence.

“Science fiction is so powerful and effective because it takes the problems and issues we face today and puts them into new situations and contexts, allowing us to see them more clearly. This is what I wanted to bring to @nytopinion, and it’s how Op-Eds From the Future came to be.”

Last Thursday, before this whole thing went down, she got incredibly sentimental.

“Some days, I get really sentimental and am so thankful for my amazing coworkers, and then I want to jump in our chat system and get all emo,” she wrote. “Instead I will give them a shoutout here so I don’t distract them haha. Dear people of NYT Opinion, y’all are the absolute best.”

The New York Times opinion section explains the concept like this: “This is the first installment in a new series, ‘Op-Eds From the Future,’ in which science fiction authors, futurists, philosophers and scientists write op-eds that they imagine we might read 10, 20 or even 100 years in the future.”

In other words, if you can imagine it, they might run it.