What with the Olympics, the conventions and other breaking news these days, there seems an awful lot of TV-watching going on. I don’t do TV very well. For one thing, the Comcast people – whom I actively loathe and despise so I hope your mother doesn’t work there – in their infinite wisdom furnish us with 82 channels, which is 76 more TV channels than I could ever possibly want. There are, of course, one or two I would like to have that are somehow not on the Comcast radar, but in order to get them I would need to add another 40 or 50 more, and my poor old curved-screen TV would collapse of its own weight.
It appears that everybody who is not following the news on TV is checking in on her iPhone or Treo or laptop. I can’t handle that kind of newsgathering either. My assorted home pages and RSS feeds do indeed give me headlines at every turn – and I appreciate that and congratulate you if your mother works for iGoogle – but I am not inclined to zip right over and read the whole story and this is why:
Nothing will ever beat picking up the morning paper, sitting down with a cup of coffee and finding out what’s going on around the globe. Even if it went on 6 or 8 hours ago. The sky will fall if you miss knowing about the invasion of Svenghalistan by 6 hours? Under the old morning paper system the universe unfolds in proper time. You catch the first line of the big head just below and to the right of the New York Times’ “All the News That’s Fit to Print” box as you’re picking up the paper, and the adrenalin kicks in, ever so gently, even before the caffeine. Maybe your candidate won! Or you glance at the smaller typeface just below the slogan and get an instant clue about who’s beating up on whom around the globe. Then you settle down, let everything else wait while the day gets underway, and digest the news and a piece of toast at your own speed. This is good not only for the digestion, but also for the blood pressure (your candidate didn’t win?!) and the furniture that ordinarily gets in the way when you throw things at the TV.
The daily newspaper may be condemned to die, leaving hard news analysis and investigative reporting to the bloggers and the Wikipedes and perhaps some good hearted nonprofits, which many friends of mine believe will work out just fine. I’ve got my doubts (and Newshour still, at least.) But the need to know everything that happens everywhere at the moment of its happening is not high on my priority list.
I want to read about it in the morning. Over coffee.