The New York Times and me
Yes, I am a newspaper junkie.
Makes sense, I guess, given my vocation, huh?
But I always have been one, long before I ever dreamed I'd herd words for a living.
I started reading the local papers (we had two dailies then, alas and alas, an era gone with the wind) when I was in elementary school. It was addictive, even then.
I can remember the first time -- this was several years later -- I got hold of The (Sunday) New York Times. Oh, my. Now this was a newspaper! You could read it all afternoon -- heck, all week -- if you wanted.
It was once fairly ubiquitous at Kroger on the newspaper rack. But along the way most of the grocery stores in these parts, including Kroger, either reduced the amount of copies for sale or didn't carry it at all. At one time, the Weigel's gas station on Maynardville Highway at Ledgerwood carried a grand total of one copy. I once got there at 6 a.m., just as the doors opened, to snag one.
Home delivery of the Times didn't even make it to Knoxville until a few years ago. And finally -- finally -- it has made it to my zip code. I signed up for the Sunday Times and felt like a kid at Christmas the first morning I saw it at the bottom of the driveway next to the News Sentinel.
Some of my favorite columnists -- William Safire comes to mind -- are long gone. Maureen Dowd used to infuriate me. Now I agree with her more often than not, or am at least amused.
The Gray Lady has taken some tough hits over the past decade. Jayson Blair and all of that. But it's still the best daily in the country by leaps and bounds. And, every time I read it, particularly the arts section's Broadway reviews, it never fails to put me in a New York state of mind. It makes me want to hop a plane and wake up in the AM at the Milford, run out for a quick bagel and coffee, and work my way back to the room with a city edition to spend the morning with an old friend.
By the way, if you missed "Page One," the excellent documentary film about the a year at the Times, go find it. It's a powerful argument as to why, even in this age of smartphones and super bloggers, the ol' newspaper is still as important as it ever was. Maybe it's even more important now that any idiot with a computer and a camera begins to dream delusions of grandeur....
Labels: The New York Times