As I walked back up the driveway this morning with my copy of the LA Times I scanned the headlines. One of the stories the editors deemed important enough to put on the front page — though, mercifully, “below the fold” — was an article about “eco-friendly” kosher foods. Stop the presses.
This is not the first or worst example of how newspapers have become increasingly silly and irrelevant — whether you see the story as yet another bit of environmentalist advocacy posing as reporting or view it as too trivial to be given front page priority — but it gave me a sort of ominous chill, like when a parent first exhibits some minor symptom of Alzheimers.
A few moments later I was looking in frustration for the weather map of LA, ordinarily printed in color and easily found on the back of section B. I eventually discoverd the weather buried in the business section and in black and white — nor with a map that had been designed as in earlier decades to be understandable in b/w, but rather with the usual color map printed gray, all the color cues lost or at least difficult to distinguish one from another. This gave me a second chill — this time like hearing a doctor deliver a long-dreaded diagnosis.
They’re doomed, aren’t they?
The passing of newpapers — no matter how goofy they may have become, or maybe always were — doesn’t make me glad. I’ll miss rustling those non-virtual paper papers when they’re gone; miss snapping the sheets flat when I run across something interesting to read. But then I suppose there were thousands who missed gathering ’round the old upright and singing “Love’s Old Sweet Song” after the piano in the parlor succumbed to whatever it was — the Victrola? radio? the talkies? — that crowded it out.