All I Need Is a Case of Literary Diarrhea and the Truth!

The Newspaper, as an industry, is clearly on the ropes. (As opposed to all other industries, which are doing just fine.) Every week, it seems, some paper closes bureaus, scales back its coverage, or folds altogether. Pundits wonder what needs to be done to save newspapers (which supply the precious media real estate that keeps them employed).

I’m not sure newspapers need to be saved. I get all my news online, be it from CNN or Hot Chicks with Douchebags. I don’t need to read the news in a physical form, anymore than I need to watch a movie in a theatre. Newspapers aren’t historic landmarks or endangered species. They’re businesses. Adapt or perish, it’s that simple.

Not that I want newspapers to die off. Although sometimes I do, when I read articles in them like Bono’s op-ed in The New York Times last Friday.

Once upon a couple of weeks ago …

I’m in a crush in a Dublin pub around New Year’s. Glasses clinking clicking, clashing crashing in Gaelic revelry: swinging doors, sweethearts falling in and out of the season’s blessings, family feuds subsumed or resumed. Malt joy and ginger despair are all in the queue to be served on this, the quarter-of-a-millennium mark since Arthur Guinness first put velvety
blackness in a pint glass.

Interesting mood. The new Irish money has been gambled and lost; the Celtic Tiger’s tail is between its legs as builders and bankers laugh uneasy and hard at the last year, and swallow uneasy and hard at the new.

I sense a great disturbance in the English language. It was as if a million full sentences and non-dangling participles cried out, and were then silenced…

Bono just dug out something he wrote for his high school literary magazine, right? Or maybe he was sick and asked one of his kids to write it for him? Because I refuse to believe an adult wrote this.

Remember, this appeared in The New York Times. The paper that spells out every number lower than 100. The paper that adds “Mr.” in front of everyone’s name, no matter how ridiculous it looks. (“Seen here at last year’s Grammys, Mr. Ludicris wowed the crowd with his rendition of ‘What Them Girls Like’.”)

The paper I’ve pitched stuff to on many occasions, always receiving back polite rejection letters in return. I thought maybe somebody else was working on something similar, or my ideas just weren’t good enough. But now I know better. What I really need to do to get in the Times is eat copies of On the Road and Ham on Rye, then throw up on my MacBook.