Why don’t we stop foolin’ ourselves?
The game is over…
No good times, no bad times,
There`s no times at all,
Just The New York Times…
So said Simon and Garfunkel back in 1968 when the New York Times seemed as impregnable as Fort Knox.
What times we live in! Recently, the mighty Times had to put its spanking new office building in hock; not to mention that the Boston Globe is holding on by its fingernails, while the Philadelphia Inquirer and the LA Times can barely afford the paper to print on.
The only good news of late for the newspaper business is that its demographic of “more mature” readers is living longer. Make sure you’re taking your vitamins – we need every one of you!
Personally, I find it very hard to face the day without a newspaper. And yes, you’ve got it right. I do have a subscription to the New York Times, that commie-leaning, hater of Rush Limbaugh. But, fear not! I’m far from being an elitist, for I also cast a jaundiced eye over the News, Post, various freebies, and of course, our own dear Irish Echo.
There are two fail-safe ways of measuring the ever-changing nature of New York City – the nationality of cabdrivers and what people are reading on the subways.
Leaving cabs for another day, it’s not what people are reading on the subways any more - it’s that they’re not. Now I’ve nothing against iPods except that if the city takes a turn towards turbulence again, there’ll be a lot of stunned looks, sore heads and ripped eardrums.
There are those who say, “the hell with them auld rags, with one click of a finger I can find out what the ayatollahs are up to in Iran and at the same time get the inside scoop on the color of Britney’s nail polish.”
I can’t vouch for goings on in Tehran but when it comes to cosmetics the Internet is only in the ha’penny place compared to the Echo where Eileen Murphy can give you the lowdown on the eyeliner employed by every boy-band that ever winked a virginal come-on at a camera.
Not that I haven’t had my own problems with the Times. Back in the day, it often favored British Government hacks over nationalist sources in the North of Ireland. But, in general, it does provide a fairly insightful background to world affairs, though on the home front it’s shamelessly more partial to the Yankees than the Mets.
My problem with the Internet, TV and Talk Radio is that we tend to gravitate towards views that we already agree with. Take for instance my brief infatuation with Rachel Maddow. What was I thinking? Now she drives me mental for I know exactly what’s on her mind before she says it
. C’mon, Rach, put some spice back in our relationship – surprise me for once! It’s not that I’ve deserted you for Bill O’Reilly. Far from it, but Maureen Dowd of the Times knows how to keep a guy’s attention – she’s not only unpredictable, she’s got a head of thick Irish red hair to die for.
I have little doubt but that there’s a big shakeout coming in the newspaper world and that opinionated blogs, tweets, toodle-dos and yet to be invented digitized forms of communication will become the main source of information.
Still, that’s nothing we haven’t witnessed before – take a skim back through the myriad pugnacious periodicals of the early Republic when editors were regularly called out to duel - (note to Editor O’Hanlon, keep your pistols oiled, I’m contemplating a column on the Post-Marxist political, sexual and social ramifications of Daniel O’Donnell’s lyrics!)
All joking aside, we live in dangerous time and there is a need for the sensible, well-thought-out, down-to-earth voices of the Hamill-Breslin era. We didn’t always agree with them, but they made us think and consider other ways of looking at things.
Perhaps, I just haven’t sufficiently trolled the Internet but such voices seem to find more fertile ground in established newspapers. Besides, Maureen Dowd knows how to keep her men interested, and, to the best of my knowledge, the color of her hair doesn’t come off a pharmacy shelf.