The New York Times dedicated three reporters, part of the front page and a two-page spread to the memory of Kate Spade.
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The New York Times dedicated three reporters, part of the front page and a two-page spread to the memory of Kate Spade.

When fashion designer Kate Spade died last week of an apparent suicide, there was an outpouring of grief, from Twitter to the front page of the New York Times. "Buying a Kate Spade handbag was a coming-of-age ritual for a generation of American women," declared the Times. On Second Thought host Virginia Prescott speaks with Farai Chideya.

But as journalist Farai Chideya pointed out in a now-viral Twitter thread, the purchase of an exclusive, luxury accessory couldn't actually have been a common experience for an entire generation of American women. And in a time when audiences fragment toward ideologically-based publications, Chideya says, the "false universality" of the Times's language is one luxury American journalism can't afford.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.