To follow up on Noam's meditation on beat-sweeteners, which came in response to Tim Noah deeming his Larry Summers profile as one, I thought this article in the NYT Metro section today about NYC Deputy Mayor Ed Skyler was positively saccharine:
“He is not a prodigy — he worked at it,” said Vivek J. Tiwary, a longtime friend who attended the Collegiate School and University of Pennsylvania with Mr. Skyler.
His persistence at times can border on nagging, as he sends e-mail messages at all hours complaining about overflowing garbage bins, unfilled potholes and unplowed streets.
“Sometimes I wonder whether I hear from him too much,” joked Mr. Doherty, the sanitation commissioner.
When he is not working, Mr. Skyler, who is single, enjoys hip-hop music and film, especially the “Star Wars” movies.
Mr. Tiwary recalled he and Mr. Skyler attending screenings of “Star Wars” re-releases: “We would be there on opening night, we never dressed up in the costumes, but we were a few notches below that.”
And that's the hardest-hitting part of the profile! But, that said, I still found the article interesting--mainly because I'd never heard of Skyler before, as I'd imagine is the case with many NYT readers. To judge it by the standards Noam (and Tim, at least theoretically) recommends--does it say something new and interesting?--I think it passes the test. Yes, I'd imagine Skyler will now return more of the NYT reporter Michael Barbaro's calls. But that doesn't make it a bad piece, per se.