A few words from a master journalist

Among his posts as a foreign correspondent, Mr. Clines reported from Moscow about the disintegration of the Soviet Union. In addition to a string of Page One articles documenting the news, he found a perfect metaphor for the crumbling superpower in his airline.

March 22, 1991

MOSCOW – Hand luggage has been safely stored, including a singing birdcage, a piece of metal resembling a giant sawtooth glistening from one of Stalin’s explosives, a bag of cooking utensils at the house, crockery, booty vodka, portable air mattresses for a three-day wait in an airport lounge, a circus performer’s trampoline – all the comforts of a small jet compact are available on Aeroflot ships.

It was the airline of Soviet Communism and the largest airline in the world, and a wheezing, wheezing metaphor for the sickening state of Soviet life.

If real economic competition were to be attempted here, Aeroflot would have to be dismembered into rival divisions like some mythical creature, and the heavily abused passengers could only hope to witness. ant its writhing bouts.

In the middle of this flight, a glass of water was distributed to each passenger, the overall amenities of the flight attendants exuding the scowl and belligerent spirit that are the hallmarks of Aeroflot.

Most of the comrades lay down without clothes, many of them fell asleep with their mouths open in the usual state of being on a Soviet plane. Sleeping people are like exhausted rowers. They are a collective encased in an orbit trapped in a monolith, fearsome hairy beards and hats, seat belts suspended in oblivion like so many at takeoff.

Covering Carter-Reagan’s presidential campaign in 1980, Mr. Clines took readers behind the scenes to see a meticulously observed piece of campaign life.

October 21, 1980

CHICAGO, OCTOBER 17 – “Honey, we’re late,” Nancy Reagan called from the fact that became Reagan’s fireplace, the top step of the movable stairs at the door to the jet plane. their campaign force awaits, optimistically dubbed Leadership 80.

But Ronald Reagan remained busy in the office—on the tarmac at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, where he typed a final word or two on Jimmy Carter while squinting, listening to news reporters.

He finally turned back to Nancy, who had been waiting with a mocking smile “Oh those politicians”. And the Republican candidate for president has stepped up the steps, smiling at his wife with the perfect sit-com timing that all the presidential couples, Jimmy and Rosalynn, John and Keke, show. market throughout the United States.

The news reporter immediately and ignored this scene. A pompous man dashed ahead of the herd, returned to his seat on the second jet, the Reagan media “zoo” plane, and there turned over the engines. to tell of an unusually interesting development.

“Hello, hello,” the gentleman said into the plane’s microphone connection to his action-news-survival anchor desk. “Let’s begin,” he said, turning his sound like a pistol. “And three, two, one: ‘Ronald Reagan today agreed to a one-on-one debate with President Carter…'”

Thus, hope returns that the campaign might prove to be something more than isolated jet caravans making their way across America on TV news screens every evening.

In 1993, the Bronx Zoo changed its name. In Mr. Clines’ hands, it was a front-page story, with a surprising irony lurking just below the Timesian surface.

February 4, 1993

The Zoological Society of New York, which decided the word “zoo” has become an urban mammal with a limited horizon, announced yesterday that it has removed the word from the Bronx Zoo, Department Central Park Zoo, Queens Zoo and Prospect Park Zoo.

William Conway, the association’s president, said they would be called Wildlife Conservation Parks starting Monday, said William Conway, the society’s president, who admitted he was in danger of breaking destroyed a lot of urban areas in addition to the 10,000 creatures of zoos. But he said he had to do something about it since childhood.

“I’ve been here 37 years and it’s like changing my father’s name,” he said. “But the time has come.”

After arguing over the idea of ​​putting the “zoo” aside for the past two years, the society’s directors finally agreed with Mr. Conway that it was time to take a serious stance on the city and world that society is more active than zoos. , with 158 research and conservation projects flourishing worldwide.

“It goes beyond what you see at the zoo,” said Mr. Conway, unable to speak for himself in an interview.

“It was short and snappy — the zoo — and we knew we created a problem,” he said. “But in the American Heritage Dictionary, the word ‘zoo’ has a secondary meaning to a situation or place marked by ‘pervasive disorder or disorder. We are not confused or disorderly. And it’s really too late for the simple idea of ​​a regular zoo. We need a change at sea.”

This 98-year-old society is so active that it doesn’t even want to see the word in its own title and officially changed its name to NYZS/Wildlife Conservation Society.

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