May 30, 2007

This just in

For the first time ever I am freeing myself of daily newspaper delivery, which is kind of an interesting concept. Interesting because I am wondering what I will blankly stare at each morning, er, midday/early afternoon when I eat breakfast. I have always gotten the paper ("taken" the paper as you might say in the formal tearoom) and even grew up in a home that received three dailies each morning. Both my lovely wife and I are news junkies and read several newspapers and other news sources a day, although neither of us would ever use that annoying phrase "news junkies, even if I just did to prove a point.

The main reason is because the local paper is so useless that having it delivered is, in the words of my wise wife, "really more of a recycling issue than anything else." The paper might not have anything to say, being essentially an AP newswire with bad pictures, but it does tend to pile up.

We would get the NYTimes or Washington Post delivered here except, as I may have mentioned before, neither paper will deliver into the Hood where we live. I used to live three miles as the car drives from this house and got the Times each morning. I move to the Hood, they refuse to go the extra distance. (insert snide anti-liberal comments here).

I could, but won't, detail the myriad ways the local paper sucks. Let me just highlight a couple points. There seems to be very little, how you say, news in this newspaper. There is no there there. Each day, the entire front page above the fold is a large picture and headline. The picture is not a newsworthy photo either, it is an illustrative one to decorate the invariably stupid headline. The operative journalistic theory seems to be to fill space at all costs. Most of the stories inside are so vapid as to be difficult to grasp (such as the half page story yesterday on page two detailing that Barbara Streisand's ticket prices in Italy were so expensive that she had to cancel her show. The paper of course also unerringly chooses to report the most alarmist tellings of everything from crime to the weather. In the winter it constantly warns of looming snowstorms that never arrive since we live in southeastern Virginia, where it never snows. In the summer it warns constantly of hurricances. The weather will not change. Our heroes have killed themselves and are killing themselves. The cancer of time is eating us up. We are in the lockstep toward death. That sort of thing.

The local free weekly is something worth skewering if it were all so boring as to bypass sordid and just plow right on to depressing. Like the daily, it is also a loose collection of those most pedestrian mass market stuff (news of the weird, Tom Tomorrow). So little, so precious little, ever comes through town that there recent "what to do this summer" blockbuster issue was filled with a big section about "concerts that have taken place here over the last 25 summers." Bands have played! Famous Bands! Here!

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