Monday, February 28, 2011

Reading, instead, on Oscar night

So I skipped most of the Oscars in favor of a good book.

What can I say? Most of my favorite movies were filmed before 1980 anyway.

Reclining in a chair, alternating ice and heat on my aching back, I read instead. The book is "The Lady Upstairs," about former New York Post publisher Dorothy Schiff.

I learned all about the great newspaper strike of the '60s, about how the Post came out of it as the No. 1 P.M. newspaper in New York. I learned how Dolly, as she was known, became fascinated by Jackie O. I learned that she liked to ride the elevator alone to the Post's penthouse office in part because she was afraid she'd forget someone's name.

Page after page tells a familiar tale. Schiff bothers over the bottom line, lamenting losses, doing this and that to get the paper to turn a profit. (It eventually did, by the way.)

I haven't reached the grand finale, in which the liberal crusader sells her beloved Post to an Aussie who promptly flips its editorial pages 180 degrees. Only in America, right?

Reading about the Post's declining readership way back when makes me ponder over the present. I worry that we do not read anymore. Sound bites and social networks have all but obliterated our attention spans. The day may soon arrive in which metropolitan areas might not have even one daily paper.

But a sentence from the book stands out. Musing over why the Post endured, someone said it was because the paper had a POV, a strong, uncensored voice, one that stood for something, shouting from the figurative rooftops, even, when it was needed.

Seems like there's a lesson in that somewhere.

Oh, and yeah, I finally turned on the Oscars. I do wanna see "The King's Speech."

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2 Comments:

Blogger Gwen Newpenny said...

I watched only a few minutes of the OSCARs. I spent the evening caring for my grandchildren.

9:44 AM  
Blogger thinkingasiwrite said...

I want to see it too, now!! And don't worry....I saw more than you did and you didn't miss much. You tuned in at the best part. :) Kinda sad....

1:23 PM  

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