Saturday, October 29, 2011
I love living in a place where I can see the seasons change. This is that time of year when some of the trees in my neighborhood celebrate Halloween by imitating fire. That they are ablaze is an understatement. The reds, oranges, and yellows are day-glow.
But there are other transitions too. They don't come at predictable times of year. They move slowly, even slower than many people might imagine, but they too are everlasting. One such change is the gradual disappearance of the newspaper.
We know this is happening, but the form it actually takes is just beginning to take shape. Every morning when I buy my hometown paper I'm aware that the little yellow metal box is soon to disappear. Hell, the paper is literally disappearing. It's often embarrassingly thin. And that's with all the ads still in tact. But there is a notion that maybe the daily newspaper could survive with a different function. One NY Times editor recently made the observation that the American newspaper is taking the place of the magazine because it now serves to review the news we already know. It becomes a summary of the information we've received from instantly following issues on the Internet.
Either way, the ways and places we receive our information about the world are changing. And with all change, the situation is unavoidable so the way we handle it or not is increasingly important. I've decided to savor the physical product called a newspaper. I do this by seeing how long it can be purchased on the street. That is, I don't subscribe any more, I buy it from the box. One day someone will explain to a curious child what those were. Perhaps a colorful contraption will show up at an estate sale one day and go from there to "The Roadshow."
I look at some of the newspaper department that now seem an anachronism. Who sells anything in a newspaper these days? Why? I read the comics, look at the weather, scan the letters to the editor, and of course, work my way through the sports section. You know, it is often all a review of things I already know. If the paper helps me know them more accurately, then it's done it's job.
And then there is the crossword and the Jumble. Good brain exercises. It's become ritual for me now. When there is a crossword sitting around unmarked, it's enough to turn off the computer. Most days I live dangerously, I do them in ink. My finished puzzles (occasionally I fill in all the boxes without asking for help) are enough to light me up like those trees outside right now.