If memory serves, the film "Miracle on 34th Street," featured a Santa who worked for Macy's, but scandalized management by, occasionally, sending customers across the street to arch-rival, Gimbel's.

I shall follow Santa's lead and direct dotCommers to the First Things website for RJN's latest foray against the old gray lady. Here he's just warming up:

There they all are, all forty-three of them. Their pictures take up the better part of the front page of this Sundays Week in Review section of the New York Times.Underneath the pictures is the headline of the story by Adam Nagourney,The Pattern May Change, if . . . Aha, so theres a pattern weresupposed to detect. The Times regularly reminds us that itsreadership is highly educated, and I like to think that Im no slouchwhen it comes to detecting patterns, so I study the pictures carefully.

Pattern,pattern, whats the pattern? Well, all forty-three were, and one stillis, president of the United States. Most are middle-aged or older. Themore recent ones are smiling for their picture. But I have the senseIm not getting the pattern that the Times wants me to get. Andthen there it is, right before my eyes. Recognizing that even highlyeducated readers may need some help, the editors put the clue to thepattern under each and every picture: White Male. Is it reallypossible? I go back and study the pictures again and, sure enough,every one of them is a person of pallor and every one is a man. Theredoes indeed seem to be a pattern here.

To continue, follow the reindeer .....

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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