In my 57 years on the planet, I think I’ve read the London Times more often than I have the New York Times. Newspapers are having a “tough row to hoe,” as the farmers say, but no worse than purveyors of books. Bookstores always used to be my fallback job, if I got tired of working for jerks, but they’re pretty much all closed. There’s something about the heft of an actual book, and ruffling the pages, and using your bus pass as a bookmark, that’s just lost with your iPads and Kindles. Even the malls that housed the bookstores where I used to work are pretty much ghost towns these days, as people shop online more. Technology leading to institutionalized laziness, is how I see it. We had a city election yesterday and only 22% of the registered voters bothered to attend the polls, and THAT was considered a high turnout. Democracy is a participatory process, but too many of us are snoring and hoping our dreams will change things. There are some good science fiction stories about that concept, but I haven’t seen it happening in real life.
By now, you’re wondering where I’m going with all this. Well, it’s 6 a.m. and the cats did their alarm-clock thing to get fed, and I’m half-awake and have some leftover thoughts from last night. The New York Times has shut down its environment desk, and now has shut down its “Green Blog.” That city got swamped by Hurricane Sandy, and the editors still think that other departments can handle such a peripheral issue, I guess. Something that could drown the town is shoved aside in favor of, what, more sports coverage? Bread and circuses.
My prolific friend Tim De Chant writes a blog called “Per Square Mile,” about population density; I, on the other hand, tend to write about the intellectual density of the population. He also works for the PBS series NOVA, a job I’d kill for. Anyway, he apparently reads the NYT way more than I do, and posted on the phenomenon here:
There are plenty of articles to choose from about the closing of the Green Blog and the environment desk; if you’re interested, I’ll leave it to you to discover. And for my spin on BOOKS instead of i- and e- everything, I refer you to Samuel T. Cogley from a classic Star Trek episode: