By Emily Rosen
Here’s how I know that “The Holidays” are imminent and that “the season” is upon us.
I am “this close” to having to hire a derrick to lift my newspapers up from my front door. Pregnant as they are with advertisements — the very same kind that bulk up my mailbox and almost cause my e-mail to crash, I can’t help but wonder how much longer we, who love to “hold” and “coddle” a newspaper, will be privy to that particular predilection.
And how much longer will we continue to fell trees to indulge the excessiveness of waste when there is a perfectly viable alternative.
For so long have I resisted reading newspapers online, but that resistance is merely a function of an age-long habit. Once I’m booted up, I realize how very much more civilized it is to read off the screen.
This is particularly true if you are, as I am, a lifelong reader of any standard-sized daily newspaper: New York Times, L.A. Times, Wall Street Journal et al. And I keep wondering if everyone reading them goes through the same ugly contortions that I do.
If I read it at a table, the table must be one that is the same (or close) circumference as the length of the paper, in which case I find myself stretching my neck, to see the top or having to stand up to read it, plus having to engage the assistance of a magnifying glass. Or, I find myself folding pages to a more accessible size, a most frustrating and time-consuming task often ending in a hodge podge of newsprint in non-sequential order, and hands that look like I just emerged from a coal mine.
While sitting down in my “comfy” chair, I often try to indulge in a newspaper read, but the process sucks the “comfy” out of the chair. Again comes the folding and stretching and fluttering and stubborn pages that require two hands to unmangle the aberrant folds. And oh, the “continued on page …. X. Isn’t that a precursor to road rage?
And when I see those folks on trains do the “commuter half-fold gig” on their newspapers, I watch with awe as they maneuver their readings and almost always seem surprised when they actually DO alight on the proper continuation of material in which they are so passionately invested.
And by the way, where were editors when the class was taught “less is more?”
And why is it that a convenient newspaper format often referred to as tabloid gets so little respect that all major national newspaper are reluctant to copy that format? As you are holding this paper in your hands, it is not necessary to indulge in acrobatics in order to comfortably turn its pages.
And so, in summation: Standard-sized newspapers represent a throwback to the dark ages, especially in this day of digital competency and awareness of the environmental consequences of bulk waste. And since the powers that be in daily newspaper circles have not succumbed to the tabloid, it is easy to see how online reading will be de rigueur within only a few years.
Meanwhile, in order to maintain our free society we NEED newspapers to survive even as they are tottering on the brink of seismic changes. So read the ads, be sure to recycle them, buy only what you can afford, and become accustomed to “logging on,” cause times, they are a-changing.
And have yourself a very Merry Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, Winter Solstice – and whatever else you celebrate.