Slate's Jack Schafer notes that the section exists to "advance the bogus" but even he couldn't tolerate this especially idiotic Sunday Styles story by Abby Ellin about straight single guys who own cats, an article which includes this priceless data point: "Many women agree that guys with cats are extra special."
(I wish I could believe this article was written ironically, but nothing else that's ever run in Sunday Styles justifies such a view.)
Schafer systematically demolishes the piece in an essay that's reminiscent of an angry rock critic reviewing a piece-of-shit record track by track, spewing venom all over it. He's particularly irritated by the use of the word seems as a crutch (one of my favorite tactics when I feel like making a speculative assertion with scanty support).
How can it be made to "seem" that the number of single, straight, male cat owners is increasing? By presenting the most anecdotal of evidence, which Ellin does. An executive at the Humane Society of New York alleges that "she had seen an increase in the number of single, straight men who are adopting cats." Does the Humane Society of New York really determine the marital status and sexual orientation of cat adopters? If it does, I demand that a picket line be formed around its office now. If it doesn't, I want the executive's finding stricken from the record.I found it suspicious that several of the anecdotes in the story involved people in the magazine industry, which suggests that what is represented as a citywide trend is most likely just a trend among Abby Ellin's friends.
Of course, Abby Ellin is probably having the last laugh and will most likely have many more articles assigned to her, as this gem is currently the most emailed style story on the NYT website.