I read the New York Times years before I ever thought about moving to New York. The combination of a stellar reputation and somber, no-nonsense layout puts some real heft behind the paranoia it causes in its readers. Sure, the Post has the good headlines--see right--and the Daily has an easier crossword, but nobody beats the Gray Lady for sheer panic-inducing respectability.
Take today's Room for Debate series on bedbugs. Room for Debate is a lovely little blog where six writers expound on any given topic using university-level language that makes even the most inane subject feel as important as a United Nations report on global poverty. Seriously--bedbugs? Yeah, they're icky and hard to eradicate once they're in your house, but they don't carry any infectious diseases, like mosquitoes, nor do they affect the integrity of a building, like termites or neighbors who don't pick up their dogpoop and vacuum naked with the curtains open.
At least, that's what I had to explain to myself after worrying said Self into a stomachache over the Times, certain that my secondhand clothes, my habit of scavenging furniture from street corners, and my recent trips in airplanes would all turn my apartment into a massive explosion of bloodsucking bedbugs that I couldn't escape even if I shaved my entire body, abandoned all of my possessions, and hitchhiked across the country wearing nothing but cling wrap and tissue boxes on my feet. They would still find me!
Yep, the Times. Read all about it.