Extra, Extra!

The New York Times. August 20, 1968

The New York Times. August 20, 1968

(Image via The New York Times “Today in History”)

Imagine my shock.

There we were on The Outer Banks of North Carolina, beginning a week’s worth of fun and sun, nothing to stand in the way of a completely invented, self-contained escape from reality. We knew no one, didn’t expect phone calls, brought along “A Dance to the Music of Time” on DVD and a couple of books… . The 21st century, as we are coming to know it, would not intrude.

The house had high speed internet. Well, DSL anyway. Fine, I wouldn’t actually check email or the daily headlines. I determined to only read those blogs that I so enjoy, reveling in the chance to “take some time off” from my obsession over daily posting.

Morning dawned sweet and cool for August. I looked down at the driveway, following the hopping lope of a rabbit and saw…. a Sunday newspaper. “Hmm,” I thought. “That’s sort of nice.”

You see, I don’t fit the demographic of the newspaper reader. I am younger than 65, for example. I no longer work in any sort of important job or live in an important city. As I mentioned in a glancing blow above, I get my headlines via the New York Times online. (Odd, you would figure the Washington papers’ electronic editions would be more my cuppa… but they get awfully serious. When I worked for the government, I would read The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post — no Washington Times then, The New York Times and Jane’s Defence Weekly.) Papers today seem a waste of time.

But that Sunday “Virginia-Pilot” was right there with news of Michael Phelps’ incredible achievements, the fencing scores, the headlines and more. How nice of my landlords to have a Sunday paper delivered! I enjoyed a half hour’s respite on the deck with my paper as the sun rose and began to burn away the evening’s haze.

Monday morning there appeared another paper! And Tuesday’s edition was waiting the next day….

Reading the daily paper was a ritual that our parents shared with their parents. A free press is taken for granted by Americans. But we’re losing that connection to the paper — maybe it’s the ink that coats your fingers…. (I understand that having your gentleman’s gentleman iron the paper will set the ink.) The daily paper is fast becoming a relic of a slower time, one in which two editions a day covered “all the news fit to print.”

If you truly wish to embrace a more elegant lifestyle, I suggest finding time to peruse the newspaper. Reading the news whilst having your freshly brewed coffee each morning, just before you step out the door. Pull that off and you will have slowed time to a pre-internet pace. But, it won’t be easy.

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