The New York Times has appointed former restaurant critic Frank Bruni as its new Sunday (and Thursday) op-ed columnist. It sounds like he'll be taking over the big picture spot on the Sunday page that Frank Rich is vacating:
"This column, which will be a new anchor feature of the section, will be a sharp, opinionated look at a big event of the last week, from a different or unexpected angle, or a small event that was really important but everyone seems to have missed, or something entirely different," [Opinion editor Andy] Rosenthal said.
Sounds like some sort of shitty Dan Barry knockoff column! Kidding! A few points:
1. This will presumably be one of the most high profile portions of the ongoing "reinvention" of the Sunday Week in Review section.
2. Bruni is one of the NYT's best natural writers, which is why he got the restaurant critic gig in the first place, and why you knew that he wasn't going to languish in the limbo of cranking out magazine features for very long.
3. Assuming Bruni maintains his normal level of quality writing, he seems like a pretty good selection, and perhaps a step towards mitigating the NYT's columnist problem. Of course, being a good restaurant critic is no guarantee you'll be a good op-ed columnist; then again, being a good Rome bureau chief is not guarantee you'll be a good restaurant critic, but that transition worked out okay for Bruni. He seems to be able to manage these things well. Which is good, since his brief appears to be "Write whatever the fuck you want."
4. "Mr. Bruni, 46, is the first gay op-ed columnist in The Times's 160-year history." Psht. Ha.