September 30, 2012

"I came to live in the States as an adult (if you can call 18 adult) because of the goodness of a person who died today."

My colleague Nina Camic wrote yesterday, about Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, the long-time publisher and CEO of the NYT.
I was an au pair to his little girl. I learned through him and his wife how to transition from Warsaw to New York again. I came with barely a flight bag full of clothes and possessions and joined a household that had a staff of helpers and an extended family of cousins, aunts, nephews -- all intensely close, bonded in ways that history sometimes bonds people because of unusual circumstances.... After dinner, he and I would clean up in the kitchen and if I learned how to wipe down every last inch of counterspace it was because he taught me well. He was too kind for words and his little girl was just like him, making my au pair duties about the easiest that could be.

54 comments:

Patrick said...

Earlier this year, I watched my friend give a eulogy for his father. It got me to thinking that I would like to be worthy of such a eulogy when my time is up, and hopeful that I raise my sons well enough to deliver one like that.

Ms. Camic's note is very kind and graceful.

Inga said...

Beautiful tribute.

kentuckyliz said...

You mean a person of the privileged upper class wealthy Not Like Us group showed kindness, consideration, and opportunity to someone in need?

Isn't the meme that this class of people only looks after themselves and to hell with everyone else?

Isn't this going to confuse voters in this campaign season?

Portraying noblesse oblige and an inside peek at the domestic life of the wealthy...

They are Not Like Us!

Grab your pitchforks, peasants!

kentuckyliz said...

The rest of her post shows that she exploited her opportunities well. She married well; she talks about her yoga coach, and riding her horse, and her husband's inherited art and antiques being retrieved from storage for filming for the Antiques Roadshow.

She used her opportunity well. Being an au pair in a wealthy househould, she caught the eye of someone in that wealthy social circle, and claimed her ticket on the gravy train.

That takes skill! Not many hired help marry into the wealthy families they serve. It's a Cinderella fantasy but typically the uberrich rigidly enforce those class distinctions and keep the nonwealthy at arm's length.

Sure, boink the hired help, but for pete's sake, don't MARRY them, dear.

pm317 said...

Nina leaves open so many questions of curiosity about her experience.

pm317 said...

You mean a person of the privileged upper class wealthy Not Like Us group showed kindness, consideration, and opportunity to someone in need?

He was the NYT, he was a rich liberal guy.. he was different from Romney, the evil rich guy on the right, that would be the argument from the trolls.

pm317 said...

kentuckyliz said...
----------------

That was harsh. You don't seem to know Nina.

Ann Althouse said...

@kentuckyliz You're making some assumptions. You have to read Nina carefully. For one thing, she's not married.

Ann Althouse said...

Most of the pictures show a county park, Indian Lake. Anyone can go there. You don't have to be wealthy at all.

Geoff Matthews said...

The jobs Americans won't do.

Geoff Matthews said...

The jobs Americans won't do.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The Romney's have done more, for more .

No human interest stories for them, though.

ricpic said...

The German Ochs and Sulzberger Jews weren't quite as nice to the Polish and Russian Jews who came later and kind of embarrassed them, kind of made the German Jews uncomfortably aware that they hadn't totally assimilated and never would, not in the eyes of the Four Hundred, that's for sure. Most discommoding it was to be reminded they were cousins to those, ugh...distasteful Lower East Side Jews. But hey, it's a brave new world and history's such a drag.

somefeller said...

And kentuckyliz shows her class.

edutcher said...

And a fine hand for irony.

Hey, Traudl Junge said her boss was a sweet guy, too.

ricpic said...

Obama: Party hearty, folks!

Romney: I think we should maybe party just a little less hearty...ya think?

Obama: Ya see? What did I tellya? The man's a monster!

ricpic said...

Oops, wrong thread.

David said...

Kentucky Liz:

You should realize that "Ed" in the essay is best known as "Mr. Ed." He is a talking horse. He comes from a line of aristocratic Polish horses who were fluent in French and Polish. Thus the antiques.

Ed is the love of Nina's life but of course they can never marry because the taboo against interspecies matrimony permeates our legal system.

Titus said...

Kentucky Liz is one pissed off bitch.

tits.

EDH said...

I can't remember, is hiring cheap foreign labor evil?

caplight45 said...

My brother knew a women who was an au pair/nanny/governess to a rich family out of New York. When they were in their upstate estate one time during an ice storm the power went out and they had no heat. The father built a fire in the great room and they all huddled around it. It was at that point the Father reminded the governess that she was "the help" and her presence during a "family time" was not appropriate. She humbly went to her room and tried not to freeze her ass off.

If Sulzberger treated the young lady with respect and kindness then that says at last something to me about his character.

William said...

No man is a hero to his valet, but they are, on occasion, motivated to snow the au pair girl.

nina said...

Thank you Ann and others here for your kind words.
pm317: There are indeed many bits and pieces to the story and they are in my draft of a book I wrote about that heady time. My childhood was filled with luck and opportunity and the most blatant example of it was living with the Sulzbergers in my young adult years.

As for kentuckyliz -- well, since everything in those fantasy paragraphs is incorrect, I can't even attempt to address them.

nina said...

caplight 45: the Sulzbergers treated me like family in all ways, at every occasion.

Martha said...

My father, who worked for the Wall Street Journal, was a business aquaintance of Mr. Sulzberger.
After my father died, I found a trove of correspondence sent to my father from Mr. Sulzberger.. I saved the notes for posterity. The notes show a witty and self-deprecating man who took the time to mark the milestones in my father's life with a handwritten letter.

Kentuckyliz' comments --ignorance on display.

Jason said...

That one-percenter bastard.

Jason said...

This reminds me a bit of Jane Eyre. I'm glad Sulz had someone as loyal and dedicated as Nina helping run his household, and it sounds like the man's personal character warranted that loyalty.

Nina, are you SURE he didn't have some psycho whackjob chained up in the attic?

Jason said...

By all accounts, Mitt Romney is an equally capital fellow to those in a lower social strata.

What are the chances the NY Times will acknowledge that the same way Nina does?

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I think Arthur Ochs Sulzberger was known as "Pinch," not "Punch," Wikipedia notwithstanding. "Punch" was Dad.

Cedarford said...

Interesting parallels on Althouse and Camics life. As well as divergences (One's protestant Dad was in the news publishing biz, the other Dad part of the stalwart Jewish communist cadre the Soviets emplaced in large numbers in a mostly Catholic country in post WWII leadership. Who served, in the Polish diplomatic corps.)

Convergences of Camic-Althouse to a shallow view of one (me) not really knowing them at all past convenient labels?? Appreciation of both good home cooked and gourmet food, law profs with lives before academia, love of travel, fine photography skills. Marrying a "man of the Earth" they met online after 2 kids and a fairly amicable divorce early on. Early blogging on a range of topics, getting more conservative as time went on.

Nina Camic's photos though, show lots of men in shorts, the ones I glimpsed at from her summer trip.

Gary Rosen said...

More bullshit from C-fudd - the postwar Polish commies were very antisemitic and repressed the small remnant of Polish Jewry (still too large for Fudd).

I've been meaning to ask you, Fudd - have you and Andi Sullivan ever been seen in the same place at the same time, outside a glory hole that is? You both get the willies over Jews, Israel, Palin, vaginas. Does the gay antisemitism have something to do with circumcision?

Gary Rosen said...

But I will say this in defense of C-fudd - when it comes to pimping out ass-raping child molesters he is preference neutral. He tried to whitewash Polanski *and* Sandusky.

Not to mention his exoneration of pedophile clergy, claiming the victims were gay and willing. Cedarford is either a perp or victim himself, count on it.

Ann Althouse said...

"I think Arthur Ochs Sulzberger was known as "Pinch," not "Punch," Wikipedia notwithstanding. "Punch" was Dad."

The one we're talking about was Punch, who just died at the age of 86.

"Interesting parallels on Althouse and Camics life. As well as divergences (One's protestant Dad was in the news publishing biz, the other Dad part of the stalwart Jewish communist cadre the Soviets emplaced in large numbers in a mostly Catholic country in post WWII leadership. Who served, in the Polish diplomatic corps.)"

I don't know what you're trying to say about Nina, but neither of those things describes my father, who was a chemical engineer who worked for chemical companies like Dupont.

"Convergences of Camic-Althouse to a shallow view of one (me) not really knowing them at all past convenient labels?? Appreciation of both good home cooked and gourmet food, law profs with lives before academia, love of travel, fine photography skills. Marrying a "man of the Earth" they met online after 2 kids and a fairly amicable divorce early on. Early blogging on a range of topics, getting more conservative as time went on."

The difference in the degree of love of travel between Nina and me is truly immense, and I really don't think Nina wants to be thought of as getting more conservative. Even I'm not getting more conservative. I was more conservative back when George Bush was President, probably.

Gary Rosen said...

"I don't know what you're trying to say about Nina, but neither of those things describes my father, who was a chemical engineer who worked for chemical companies like Dupont"

Shorter AA: C-fudd just makes up pointless lies to get in his off-topic antisemtic cheapshots.

nina said...

It's always interesting to me how outsiders view the postwar Poland I grew up in. I'll say this -- the truth is always more complicated than you would assume looking from your own filter of time and distance. (It's true, as well, for Poles, whose perspective on America is skewed, for the same reasons.) And this: my dad (who is exactly Punch's age and who still lives in Warsaw)is not Jewish, nor was he installed into the diplomatic core by the Soviets. In a constant run from the Nazis toward the end of the war, he went by chance and luck to diplomatic school. He landed a position in the foreign service because he took seriously his language studies and could converse smoothly in English - a rarity among Poles at that time.
As for being communist -- he is famous for telling Americans that he never met a communist in his life except on college campuses in America.

As for the Conservative - Liberal labels, like Ann, I don't like labels.

Ann Althouse said...

"he is famous for telling Americans that he never met a communist in his life except on college campuses in America."

That's a good one. I can see that he did have a facility with language.

Aridog said...

nina said...

It's always interesting to me how outsiders view the postwar Poland I grew up in...

I'm fortunate that my very best friend is from Poland, a priest who escaped with US Embassy (et al.) help, via Austria and Germany. He was a younger compatriot of Fr. (Saint) Jerzy Popiełuszko and had to leave, or die. He and I can occasionally talk about our early days, mine in Asia and Vietnam, his in mid 1980's Poland, and it always ends in tears. We lost so many and survived...a hard thing to accept. When we disagree we both strive to study and understand the other's point of view. We never let it lie. We both grow as a result.

I've read a fair bit of your blog Professor Camic, and I'm impressed at how well you relate ordinary life in terms anyone can understand. But I'm weird in what I like.

I am probably weird in that I enjoyed Henryk Sienkiewicz's Trilogy, especially "The Deluge." You are much clearer in your words.

I read the "Trilogy" only because I'd read "Quo Vadis", and when the "Trilogy," "Teutonic Knights", and "On the Fields of Glory" were published in English, I had to read them. I'll admit that the "Trilogy" reminded me of "The Brothers Karamazov" at times. The "Teutonic Knights" seemed to reflect my own values...not necessarily a good thing. All else failing, run the opposition through with a broad sword....or today, drop them with a M855 round to the skull.

My military background gave me understanding of men like Casmir Pulaski, warrior extraordinaire, and Tadeusz Kościuszko, engineer par none, still venerated at West Point.

As you know, Poland and Poles have a long history in the United States, and we might possibly not exist without them. I am very glad you are here, as I am about my best friend.

caplight45 said...

nina said...
caplight 45: the Sulzbergers treated me like family in all ways, at every occasion.

You were blessed to know him and share life with the family. What a gift.

Paddy O said...

Very nice tribute. Thanks for sharing it. I like these kinds of very personal tributes by people who were, in a way, vulnerable to someone's character and could have had a very different sort of experience. Gives a lot more insight into who the man was than just a list of accomplishments.

Cedarford said...

I stand corrected in my comments in one aspect, Nina.
When you referred to Ed and yourself as heathen and Jew, though not much in your Catalan trip remarks...Then later as saying you were a religious minority in a land 99% Catholic - I presumed Ed was the heathen, you Jewish. That

But as for communist, my understanding was that the E European Bloc and Russia had a strong tendency to only put people in good Party membership standing in the diplomat corps. Otherwise, many had a tendancy to not wish to return home or were less than complimentary about Kruschev, Breshnev, Gorbachev, and dear local leaders like Gomulka, Gierik and Jaruzelski. So I'll stand by that, though lets say in the history of the communists was losing their faith progressively decade by decade until I'd say a good majority of them were just mothing the right words and going through the motions.
Otherwise the collapse of the Soviet Empire would have not been as peaceful as it was.

And yes, like the Balkans, the Soviets installed people that had not been the non-communists camp prior to and during WWII but loyal cadres that had gone to Russia. Many Jewish, as Pope John Paul II wrote about.

Cedarford said...

AA - would it be fair to say that you like travel, though perhaps not as much as Nina?
Lots of road trip photos from your travels across America in the last 8 years.

As for news publishing..did I skip a generation? It was your grandfather that was the editor you published photos of??

Paddy O said...

"It's always interesting to me how outsiders view the postwar Poland I grew up in."

One of my good friends is also from Poland--and also a professor at UW. Talking to her about her experiences, her family background and such, have always been utterly fascinating to me.

We Americans tend to lump the former Eastern bloc together, but Poland really doesn't fit the assumptions.

paul a'barge said...

Arthur Ochs Sulzberger. The living, breathing embodiment of evil incarnate.

But he cleaned the kitchen.

kentuckyliz said...

Sorry Nina, I have no beef with you. I'm pissed off at the MSM, which decides what they will allow us to know or not. I'm pissed off at the class warfare rhetoric that is trying to cut down the tall poppies. My comments were pushing it to the extreme but it's really not about you. I'm hyberboling.

Yeah, I just verbified that.

Gary Rosen said...

"But as for communist, my understanding was"


In other words, you have no clue, you just make up shit. Like your "profile", I hope no one here is stupid enough to believe that C-fudd actually has a family. He claims he has two "daughters", then speaks of them contemptuously in a way few fathers would. Regardless of that, though, in another blog a couple of years ago he claimed he had a *son* for the purpose of scoring some debating point.

Cedarford is a liar through and through.

MadisonMan said...

The colors up around Indian Lake are fabulous right now. Went up to MSP and back this weekend. NW Wisconsin is peaking right now (the drive from the 90/94 split to Hudson is still interminably long however).

Nichevo said...

Gary, I've been away for a few days, the holidays and all that-shana tova by the way. Last I looked C4 and his killer instinct were running and hiding from me. But the posts are old now. Did he take advantage of Yom Kippur to make like he's got balls, do I have to go back and nuke him some more or what?

By the way, Nina, if you're not a frequenter of Ann's blog, Cedarford is her official pet anti-Semite. Never to my knowledge has she ever censored him, though she does it to others all the time at whim.

Nichevo said...

and that's okay, kentuckyliz, a little hipshooting is just what I expect in my hotcha redheads.

Ann Althouse said...

"AA - would it be fair to say that you like travel, though perhaps not as much as Nina? Lots of road trip photos from your travels across America in the last 8 years."

I love home and find it hard to travel. I must force myself out of the house, and I haven't been on a plane in a couple years, maybe. These long drives are almost deliberate exiles. I find it quite hard to do. I do make the most of my photographs, and I do like to do photowalks when I get someplace. But the travel, per se, I find almost painful. Nina has an unusually strong passion for travel and will go on long plane trips all the time.

"As for news publishing..did I skip a generation? It was your grandfather that was the editor you published photos of??"

My mother's father worked as an editor for the Ann Arbor News. He certainly wasn't the publisher, and I really don't know what level his job was, maybe some kind of copy editor or managing editor of some kind.

Gary Rosen said...

"C4 and his killer instinct"

Like Jimmy Carter's "killer rabbit" bwahaha? Certainly he should be mocked and derided at every turn but let's not overrate him, Nichevo (ok, maybe you were being ironic). Like the rest of the antisemites, he's a nitwit, misfuck and born loser. Also a compulsive liar, as nearly every post he makes proves.

Nichevo said...

Oh, he bragged of it, after I lamented him on an Amb. Stevens related thread, about his diary. He said AQ shoulda seized it and posted excerpts implicating himself as gay and having a little American Jewish rentboy.

Ignoring his hateful crudity, I told him that his propaganda was crude and less effective because of his Judenhass obsessions, and that if you wanted to really inflame the Arabs, lead them to think that their children, their own boys and virgin girls, were being fed to the American ogre. That because his mind could not exit the gutter, it affected his efficiency. And that in truth,his intellectual pretensions were just that, because he lacked the killer instinct to maximize his own effectiveness.

This angered him amazingly though I was polite. Started spluttering about his "killer instinct" and all his kills in GW1. Whatev. It's not like he was killing with his hands in a fair fight. Anyway, at that point he abandoned the fight and ran like his Iraqi targets. Sadly, like GHWB, I failed to chase him to Baghdad and execute him, because of the holidays.

I think the next project is to analyze what God-forsaken armpit of Eastern Europe it was that vomited him or his people forth. He says he's 2nd generation American but I wonder. He missed on my remarks so badly that it made me wonder if English was in fact his first language! And while he is fluent enough in his own writing, I think his patterns have markers that can be analyzed. Honestly to me he sounds like Bram Stoker's Dracula. Transylvanian, LOL?

Gary Rosen said...

Nich, I wouldn't necessarily assume he's of Eastern European decent just because he says so. Maybe *especially* because he says so. His posts are all constructs, he builds a fantasy world designed to justify the hobgoblins that have permanent residence inside his skull.

Same with his claims of military service. It's possible he was in some branch of the military sometime, somewhere but I would be very careful about assuming any specific claims he makes about what he supposedly did there.

His standard MO is to spout off on some obscure area that most people have little knowledge of. This projects the illusion of him being knowledgable and well-educated while protecting himself from accusations of fraud because most people don't know and so won't challenge him. But an overwhelming percentage of the time someone *does* know he is exposed for the liar he is.

Gary Rosen said...

There *is* one line I believe in C-fudd's profile - "energy consultant". The guy is still pumping gas even though he's pushing 60.

Aridog said...

Ann Althouse said...

I love home and find it hard to travel. I must force myself out of the house ...

That is how I am now. The spontaneous wander lust of my youth is long gone...until I get someplace new then I revert to the curious kid with camera, no concept of time, and a desire to know the natives, and the animals even more, etc.

Even as a youth I suspect this curiosity kept me alive in time of war as much as anything else I did. Three years in Asia and I regret none of it, loved most of it...except for a few rough spots...and mine were not nearly as rough as some others I knew. I was very lucky.

Oddly, the airplane is what preserves me...if I had to take a "road trip" today I'd likely never go. I mean I love Montana, but how many trips across the Midwestern plains to get there could I take? The airplane makes it possible to hop aboard here and hop off in Bozeman in less than 6 hours, and one more hour and I'm at my rented cabin on the Yellowstone. From there on I'm as a kid again, until I have to return to Detroit.