It is a less-Rich world today

Just as the world’s news outlets are expending all of their resources in documenting the Charlie Sheen story, word has arrived that Frank Rich is leaving The New York Times.

This is devastating news. Rich is abandoning the Greatest Newspaper In The World, the Last Hope For Thoughtful Daily Media, to write for New York magazine, which isn’t even the best magazine coming out of New York City.

A former theater critic, Rich was the perfect lens to turn on the Bush Administration’s clumsy, eight-year march. To paraphrase from my memory, Rich’s take on events such as the “Mission Accomplished” aircraft carrier hoax was, “I know bad theater when I see it.”

He continued to pan the bad theater of politics, particularly the increasingly anti-human antics of the conservatives, even after Bush’s departure from the scene. And I’m sure he will continue to do so. But he will no longer arrive at my doorstep every Sunday morning, busting the hypocrisy of the world. And we will be a less-Rich world for it. There are just damn few writers out there these days whose words I can’t wait to read.

Perhaps I expect too much of Rich. A man of his singular talents has a right to move on, explore other possibilities. The news these days is full of material for some creative mind to step up and mine. My own blog, particularly the series I began over a year ago, “I read the Sunday New York Times, so you don’t have to,” has relied on Rich’s words. I would frequently save his column for the last thing I read in the Times that day. Like dessert.  I’ve been out of town the last few weekends, and my travel schedule suggests I’ll be missing the next three Sunday Times readings as well. And when I do resume, Rich won’t be there. It’ll be like a meal that’s missing one final, exquisite course.