Monday, May 4, 2009

Pour salt in the wound of a dying medium

"Hello? . . . Yes, hi, I'm calling to cancel my subscription . . . Yes, well, I've already stacked a number of old ones on top of each other to use as a video game chair and I really don't need any more . . . What's that? . . . Oh, I understand it's nice to have a hardcopy to hold in my hands . . . Of course I understand newspapers have been the number one news source for the past three centuries . . . I'm sorry, but don't YOU think they've run their course? . . . Yes, well, someone probably should have thought about that before they made all the same content available for free online . . . Look, I understand every cancelled subscription means fewer advertising dollars for you, but that's really not my fault. I simply can't justify wasting hundreds of pounds of paper each year just to glance at the first few front-page headlines so I can pretend to keep up on current events . . . I-- . . . I -- . . . I understand that, but -- . . . Wait, are you kidding me? Did anyone in the newspaper industry even notice the internet, let alone work to adapt to the information revolution? . . . Boxscores? Boxscores! I'm sorry, but do you own a computer? updates their boxscores in real-time! . . . Listen, I can't continue this conversation. I understand the newspaper industry is dying, but it's their own damn fault. I'm canceling my subscription . . . Sure, I'll hold." 

Decades from now, it should be funny and a little embarrassing to explain to our grandchildren, that, "Yes, Virginia, people just like you and me had to wait HOURS to read about the previous night's baseball game on a thin, foldable piece of gray paper.  Hard to imagine, right? Wait, there's more! If the game was in L.A. you'd have to wait two days! . . .  No, you get out . . . Prove it? How about this?"

Man, newspapers seem dumb, but at least a stack of papers, or better yet one of those clunky newspaper vending boxes, provides a relatively sturdy seat.

Pros: Subtly show dinner guests that you collect antiques.

Every saved newspaper is one less piece of windblown-trash on the street.

Read a little between your legs to pass the time, that is until . . . 

Cons: . . . Story continued on page B8 -- down by your heels. 

Every saved newspaper is one less crappy blanket. Or one less place to put my gum on the T.

Black ink is to white pants as the the internet is to the newspaper industry.

Gray is attractive, but dingy yellow? Ew. 

You need a lot of twine and patience to secure a bunch of frictionless piles of paper. 

At the the very least, newspapers are good places for your cat to sit and learn where to piss in your house.
Although the hard-copy newspaper will soon go the route of the town crier, bundled Boston Globes, Daily Free Presses and Star Ledgers continue to serve a purpose as a relatively comfortable chair in your attic, garage or basement. 

. . . 

One more thing before the final tally: The death of the newspaper industry will no doubt lead to the movie Bloggiez, a film recounting the golden age of web-based media, which focuses on an ambitious, young blogger's (played by Zach Efron) citywide quest to boost the unique-hits counter of his own unsolicited-and-uninformed-reactions-to-noteworthy-events website in order to secure premium adspace from Google. 

"That's my Adobe Creative Suite 4! You'll illegally download anudder. Hey, bloggers we got woik to do . . "

. . .

Stability - 2/5, Though this number jumps to 3/5 when twine is introduced.
Cool Factor - 1/5 Newspapers are so 1951-square, man.
Difficulty - 3/5 To your wallet, that is. The few newspapers not about to die will soon cost even more.
Perilousness - 1/5 Nope. Sorry.
Added bonus -  3/5 A true piece of Americana -- a genuine newspaper. Again, wow your grandchildren.

Overall rating - A pitiful -- and soon to be worse -- 10/25