Midsummer News Nightmare

I have a character in a play living in a wilderness lodge who once a week makes the wintry drive to the nearest post office to which his Register-Guard is delivered, then daily doles the morning paper out to himself a week late. So, think I, why not cancel your RG subscription and have mail delivery of the San Francisco Chronicle, reading the news late, like the play’s Walt, gaining the same advantage he claims: Reading about inevitable outrages is a tad less outrageous a few days after it’s slipped into history? One phone call answered the question. The Chronicle would cost $840 per year. So much for that idea.

So despite the drastically shrunk news coverage at all levels (including failing to report the eventual indictment and jailing of the Florida white man whom the police had excused on the basis of stand your ground although he fired the fatal shot as the black man backed away); despite space being taken on the baseball stats page for reporting the like of transactions by the Lincoln Saltdogs and the Ottawa Champions (not to mention the River City Rascals and the New Jersey Jackals, nor that many event times are now Eastern, like ESPN); despite paring down editorials and opinion columns to the extent some days there are NONE of either (in the absence of Bob Welch and Jackman Wilson, the former being predictable); despite the near absence of editing that allows the word “icoiln” to show up in an editorial, and (hilariously, really) led to a correction regarding the misstating of the bike rental figure in the previous edition being in the same edition where further on in an editorial they misstated it AGAIN! — and these are only two of about 30 gross mistakes while casually reading the thing I made note of; despite all this and much, much more, I’m forced to swallow and swallow and swallow and accept that I’m captive to that paper if I’m to have a print newspaper to read with my morning coffee (which, alas, is a paper now so small that it no longer lasts long enough for me to take the editorials and op-ed columns with me for my quotidian visit to the water closet — no political comment intended), and a crossword puzzle to work with a pen while eating my morning meal.

In what other city home to a major university would this happen to a poor old guy? My one-time acquaintance, Bunky Baker, must be writhing in his grave. Sad. For all of you in the same sinking boat, I’ll finish by noting that good national and international coverage is available free on the Guardian’s and the Hong Kong News’ websites, and the EW website does a workmanlike job of keeping us up on local and regional goings-on.

John Biggs

Cottage Grove

Comments are closed.