They create a blog forum related to philosophy ("The Stone"), and then choose a complete hack as its moderator. Simon Critchley? Even among scholars of Continental philosophy (his purported area of expertise), he's not taken seriously, let alone among philosophers in any other part of the discipline. (When Michael Rosen [Harvard] and I edited The Oxford Handbook of Continental Philosophy, the idea of inviting Critchley never came up--how could it?) If the APA weren't fatally compromised by its need to pander to everyone, it would launch a formal protest. Unbelievable.
I would urge readers to send a short note to the public editor, Clark Hoyt, stating, roughly, that you are pleased to see increased attention to philosophy in the NY Times, but are concerned that someone who is not taken seriously as a philosopher or scholar has been invited to serve as "moderator." Keep it short and sweet. If they get a couple thousand e-mails to that effect, maybe they will wake up to the spectacular mistake they've made.
UPDATE: A philosophy grad student has a good comment on the inaugural Critchley piece here. Thanks to the various philosophers who have sent or blind cc'd me on their letters to the NY Times. I have, however, heard from an Assistant Professor of Media Studies (with a PhD in comparative literature) that, in fact, Critchley is a leading scholar of Continental philosophy; this same individual also reported (without any sense of embarrassment, as far as I could tell) that he had never heard of any of the contributors to The Oxford Handbook. Perhaps the NY Times might take this hint, and retitle the new blog, "The Media Studies Stone."
ANOTHER: A reader points out that several other philosophers have already been announced as contributors to this forum, including Arthur Danto, Nancy Fraser, and Peter Singer, so that's a bit more hopeful. The NY Times is, predictably, New-York-centric, but there is not a shortage of very good philosophers in NYC who can also write in an accessible way for the educated public (off the top of my head: Ned Block, Paul Boghossian, Philip Kitcher come to mind right away). Perhaps if they retained a moderator who actually knew some philosophy, they could put together an even stronger list.
THIS IS A FIRST: This blog has been linked from Gawker, which for some reason picked up the Critchley story. The comments are funny.
ANOTHER FUNNY (AND APT) COMMENT from the NY Times site: "Philosophers do a lot of important work and it's pretty out of touch to focus on how a few of them fall in wells. That's one reason why so many philosophers find the treatment here out of touch with the important work that many philosophers are doing. Philosophy is serious work, on serious topics that matter."
ONE MORE: More reactions from other philosophers. I've yet to find a philosopher who has been willing to defend the original column.