Saturday, May 5, 2012

Give me a Paper... A Newspaper

Look. I'm by no means an ideal citizen and certainly not one to be listened to for very long or really at all. I also will be writing things about stuff which really I don't know much about. But I got urges. We all do. You're gonna hear about them.

That being said, I'd like to talk with all y'all about why I like newspapers. When I first started reading them, I found them cumbersome.  I can lose pages often. Trying to get to page A 4 or G 9 took some time. Sometimes I spilled barbecue sauce on them. But with practice, I developed some skills in maneuvering each wispy page of the Boston Globe or the New York Times. I enjoyed taking the news on the T. It would make my journeys to Cambridge or Downtown Crossing feel worthwhile and I would exit the subterranean layer of Boston's transit system a little wiser then which I entered. The paper was big and I had somewhat of a fort that I could reside in which made me feel safe in some Freudian way. 

What I'll look like shortly.

The Boston Globe I believe to be thorough. Each news story is longer and more in depth then what you might get from TV news on CNN, Fox, or the Johnny Stewart show. There are also multiple pages in this newspaper... at first I was pretty overwhelmed. Am I supposed to read all this shit every fucking day? That's a lot. I don't know if I can read so good to begin with. Practice though. Practice makes perfect and you get accustomed to synthesizing all the rich stories offered in the news.

As I delved further into the newspaper and realized my day wasn't that useful to begin with, I realized how much I was learning. I could win arguments about abstract political or social issues (well win in my mind at least). I could rant our many pieces of evidence and offer exemplars of whatever sordid theorems I was trying to prove. I could find things to get real frustrated about that I didn't know existed and this gave me purpose. I could impress colleagues at work with particulars of various what-have-yous going on in the world. I could scour opinions but then also wallow in the nitty gritty details and put pieces and ideas together for myself.  I knew some great things about our cold city, Boston, and in knowing some of these things, it felt less cold.  I was an informed fucking citizen. 

The newspaper plops itself on your doorstep saying gently "If you want to be an adequate human being, get used to reading all that's in here asshole." The problem with on line news is you only have one story on your page at a time. I find that that's usually the extent I read before the facebook, addictinggames or pornography ensue. This guy agrees. The newspaper, in all it's voluminous glory (unless it's the Herald), says "this is how much you should read, burn in hell if you don't fuckface." You're not confined to one screen, you're not allowed to go to illicit, or sensational websites, and you're reminded this is your duty. You need to know this to be part of our society.

Why are we watching them again?

The media sucks. I know this kinda as do you. The sensational nature of programming today is really ruining much we hold dear. There is a huge amount of partisanship and kids are fat. News has to compete now. It has to entertain to get it's funds. It's gets sluttier because of this. No longer do we move to reach it's ideals, it sinks below the depths of our baseline morality and attempts to scare us, shock us, seduce us and use us. It's entertainment.

Newspapers are having trouble.  So hold on to those last bastions of semi quality information. Hold on to these papers like my grandparents did when they clipped articles that they found important. Sure we have the blogosphere and social media. But I don't know what good they do.  Everyone's got a blog now, even your Uncle Harry. Does that means we should listen to them. Is he trained in any reasonably journalistic practices? Am I? I don't think so.

Better than your Uncle Harry's blog

The nature of how we get the important information has become so convoluted and messy. Don't fuck us society. Ensure that we have our quality News that is rich, objective as possible, and varied to give us what we need to know. Support this institution. Be an informed an active citizen at least moreso to some degree. Support the good places of news*** (and at least explore what it means to be good) that provide us this information as its been the decline in our civic activity as a populace that has led to the disaster that we call a democracy today (well it's not all bad and thats an overstatement, but you know, congress is so divided and caustic, and you know... money and politics... huge wealth disparity... citizens united... I don't mean to offend).

*** Lord knows what I don't know,  but here is what I think are some good sources of news what have yous ***

The New York Times
Wall Street Journal
BBC news
Reuters (spelled like Roy-ters or something... don't ask me)
60 minutes
Meet the Press
NPR's Tom Ashbrook and All things Considered
The Economist
Slate Magazine
Boston globe
Washington Post
This dude who wrote this article
Spiegel (German and such)
Prospect Magazine

The onion

If you want to be real hard you can just go straight to C-span and get that ish for yourself.

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