The Graffiti of the Philanthropic Class

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That’s what the New York Times, via an article today by theater critic Charles Isherwood, calls the various plaques and signs honoring philanthropists’ donations to cultural venues, schools, hospitals, charities, libraries, parks, museums, etc.

With his personal interest focused on performing arts, Isherwood concentrates primarily on the "naming" of theatrical venues; but the implications of his lede line: "WHATEVER happened to Anonymous?" include the many other instances in which benefactors are identified by name.

One can only wonder if the Times’s resentment of the practice might stem in some small part from the curious absence of the name Sulzberger on any local buildings or public facilities. Certainly, there are no hospital wings, university labs, concert halls, or charitable organizations widely known for affiliation with the Sulzbergers — even in the weekly Sunday Styles pages of the family’s own newspaper, a reader would be hard pressed to see any photo of Pinch or pAAre among the attendees at charity balls, galas, and fundraisers. Which makes it unlikley that he and his family are anonymous donors.

Indeed, as far as a quick mental review by this lifelong New Yorker extends, there is no recollection of any public involvement of the Sulzbergers — certainly one of the city’s premier business dynasties — in any philanthropic endeavors save one. That’s the Times’s annual "Neediest Cases" drive, in which readers are asked to donate money for which the Times later takes credit by turning the funds over to various organized charities.

In a city where names from Andrew Carnegie to more recent philanthropists like Weill, Rose, Paley, Tisch, and many others are firmly attached to the walls and canopies of so many public structures, would it be so terrible if the Times’s Isherwood stopped whining so loudly about the recognition given to public-spirited citizens and spent his energy entreating his boss to become one of them?

americanthinker

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