I have been ploughing through a five-inch stack of newspapers this weekend. I insist the newspapers be set aside for me to read if I can’t get to them that day and, since I have been traveling for work lately, I am a bit behind.
My rationale is that if I haven’t read it yet its still news. I do read the fluffity USA Today in my hotel room so I am not in a complete news void, but I like to know a) what is going on in my town and b) what the local paper has to say about national and international news. Not much on most days, but these are my people.
Still, I compulsively read the entire paper everyday. Except for the sports section which I consider to be elective like the classifieds. I pay very little attention to professional sports (or college or HS) unless something extraordinary is happening that everyone is talking about. Then I will get up to speed because basic human interaction demands it.
It can be an interesting exercise to read the news this way. For instance, I read what was in retrospect a lousy analysis of the Wisconsin recall election followed by a baffling four-page spread on the marines. Turns out there was something called Marines Week in town which made the in-depth explanation of MRE’s more understandable if not actually news. Its important to keep the papers in chronological order.
My favorite part of the paper, after the insane letters to the editor of course, are the comics. I save these for last as a reward for reading about debt crisis and failing public schools. I am a bit OCD with the funnies as well and read all of them even the ones I hate. I save Doonesbury and read it last so I can savor it. It also helps me recover from Mary Worth and Family Circus.
A Karen Findley-esque performance art piece could be constructed from all the dysfunction found in the intersection of Charlie Brown, Beetle Bailey, Mary Worth and Judge Parker. The paper once tried to phase out Judge Parker and Mary Worth by taking them off the comic pages and placing them in the classifieds. A firestorm of protest from the over 80 crowd got them back to their rightful home. Where they remain in perpetuity. And where, because of personal issues beyond my control, I am forced to read them every day.
Now for the mile high stack of New Yorker’s I have been neglecting…