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Thankful Thursday XL – Fish Wrappers

This Thankful Thur…, err Friday, I’m thankful for newspapers, an important anachronism in this day and age.

I grew up in a house that had newspapers. We subscribed to a daily big city paper (the Toronto Star) and were in a suburb that had a couple of weekly or semi-weekly local ones delivered automatically. I might have been nerdy as a child, but I loved them. By the time I could read well, I’d always look at it; perhaps even more than my parents did a lot of the time. I got to know what was going on in the world as well as the weather and keep track of the baseball scores and stats in that era that long preceded the internet and real-time updates. And of course, being a kid after all, I looked forward to the comics every day… Peanuts was my favorite back then. The local papers were thinner and didn’t have as much of interest, but being local, they were great at informing us of minor events in town and once in awhile, you’d see people you knew in the photos.

As I grew up and went out on my own, the papers stayed a big part of my life. Much of the time I subscribed to the Star, like my parents (my dad did right up until his death, even though he was having a fair bit of difficulty seeing it well enough to read in his last year or two) and quite often I’d buy the rival Toronto Sun as well. The Star was a big, broadsheet, but was surprisingly liberal in stance; the Sun was a tabloid that was more conservative … the opposite of what most would expect. Both had their pros and cons. The Star was better for in-depth national and world news and usually had better comics (yep, still liked them as I got older though by my 20s I was a fan of things like The Far Side). The Sun was better for local news and sports. Plus its smaller size made it ideal for reading on the bus or at a coffee shop table, making it all the better to take to work. Both offered thought-provoking editorials and by reading both, I’d get two sides to the same story quite often. It helped me think better and be better-informed.

Since I relocated, newspapers aren’t as much a part of my life. For a couple of years we did subscribe to the daily in our city here. It was a disappointment compared to the ones I was used to – much thinner, with more limited national and international news, drawn almost exclusively from wire services, less actual coverage of local events – but it was still something. I’d get the big stories of the day, and at least baseball boxscores for early games the night before. But it kept getting smaller and its price went up so when we moved, we decided to forego it. And with it now costing $2 a copy at the stores, I rarely buy one on a whim.

It’s a theme repeated across the globe. It’s a downward spiral and one of the worst side-effects of the Online Age. Fewer people have time to read a whole newspaper, and most of the things they want to see in one are found online anyway. Classified ads are a dinosaur, so ad revenue drops for the newspapers, circulation drops, so they cut back to try to save money. Which in turn makes the paper less interesting… less original content, smaller staffs, fewer photos, less expensive syndicated columnists or features…and sales drop more. One by one, city newspapers across the country shut down shop.

It’s a shame, and a socially dangerous trend. One only has to see All the President’s Men or know a bit about American political history to see the importance of a widely-read newspaper with good journalists. Or more recently, Spotlight chronicling the Boston Globe‘s role in exposing child abuse and the church cover-up to try to avoid blame. At their best, they not only report the news, they find it.

The only security of all is in a free press,” Thomas Jefferson once said. So yesterday I decided it was time to do my part, and subscribe to the local one again. I’m thankful there still is one and that we live in a land where they’re free to print, and we’re free to read them.

27 Replies to “Thankful Thursday XL – Fish Wrappers”

  1. I grew up with newspapers as well. I did read the local news some but I will freely admit…my love was the sports and comics… the Tenneasean and the Nashville Banner…I would go for the sports page but any sports in Nashville is football sided. I then discovered USA Today…they had my Dodger boxscores.
    Everyday before my early work days I would buy one…read the world news, go for the Peanuts, and then see how my Dodgers did. The boxscore is what I still do on a day to day basis. I do miss newspapers…to hold it in your hand…it seemed more vital and I appreciated it more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. USA Today is good for what it is too; I like it but seldom buy it due to price and now because fewer places have it. The main supermarket chain here used to , along with the local and the Dallas one, but now I almost never see it…just a handful of gas station convenience stores still have it.
      I commented to Hans, I think it’s indirectly a factor in why I’ve not been as into baseball this year. No newspaper = no looking over the boxscores of all the printed games the next morning, so I wasn’t as up on other teams stats or non-headline trades or transactions like players up from minors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Now I go to espn to look at the box scores. Buying a USA today was part of my routine in the 90s just to check baseball…well that was my number one goal. The local papers went to press before the Dodger games were done…so really I had to get it if I wanted to see them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. back in Toronto, usually they just would have the EST or CST games (or day ones) in the next day’s paper, so the West Coast ones and Arizona, Colorado, usually not but if they had space they’d put them the following day as late scores. I could get the boxscores quickly now , of course, but like you said, to me there’s something about just holding the paper and reading it, a lot more convenient and less annoying than having to “click- read- back – click – read…”

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yep. Last store I worked at up north, my usual lunch routine was to very quickly gobble down the sandwich I usually took with me to work, in the break room, then walk down to a Dairy Queen a few doors down, have a coffee (occasionally fries or something too) there and sit and read a newspaper for about 20-25 minutes . Wasn’t real good coffee but it was a great break in the workday and I really caught up on the baseball stats in season, as well as all the other things going on.

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      4. Everything now is meant to be fast and convenient to you can keep working. I wouldn’t trade the era we grew up with…with now…no way.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. likewise. I find it shocking yet believable that they say about 1/4 of youth entering college now can’t tell time on a conventional (analog) clock. And I bet more than that have never tried to ride a bike. the 70s/80s were a pretty good time to grow up. Happy Thanksgiving!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I was reading this while riding with Bailey….I asked him….do you know how to tell time? He looked at me like what? Dad you taught me when I was a kid…ok ok….lol
        Happy Thanksgiving Dave…have a great one.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. good job of parenting then, Max! Hope your day and food was good; ours was.
        I watched ‘Get Back’, part 1, last night… interesting. Oddly, to be honest I think my sweetie got very bored with it about an hour in and historically she was an even bigger Beatles fan than I. Some of my takeaways were that John seemed a lot happier than I would have imagined, Paul was a whole lot bossier (although as was pointed out, after ‘Mr Epstein’s death, someone needed to steer the band I guess and the others weren’t wanting to), and Yoko seemed to really light up when Linda Eastman came in which surprised me. As did George walking out like that, even though I kind of half-knew the story beforehand… but you could see him like a heating pot getting ready to boil over, sitting there listening to Paul.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. You can tell her that it will probably lighten up now and be more enjoyable. Who in the world could make music in that huge, cold studio? George demanded that they move to Apple and it saved the project.
        But in reality…our band….we got into much bigger arguments than they did lol. That was nothing….thank goodness we didn’t have a film crew lol.
        From what I read….at lunch is where it happened with George….and it was John not Paul that pushed him over. “If he is not back by Tuesday we will get Clapton”

        But it still wasn’t doom and gloom like the way it was painted. I thought years ago that they were at each others throats.

        Liked by 1 person

      9. yep! Even the hostility was a lot less than we’d been led to believe in the written histories. I’m surprised John and Paul didn’t continue to work together , at least periodically, in the 70s since they seemed to be pretty Ok with each other still at this point.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. I think they would have Dave….I really do. Yoko didn’t break up the Beatles but she helped keep them apart after the breakup…I’m convinced of that.
        I really think they would have come back together…Lennon and McCartney anyway. Well they all would have with Anthology….supposedly Lennon already agreed to it.

        Liked by 1 person

      11. watched the majority of part 2 last night, but it was getting late so we switched it off maybe 15 minutes from its end; might catch up later today. Billy Preston really was a breath of fresh air in that studio. And we had confirmed, a quiet Yoko is a good Yoko!

        Liked by 1 person

      12. I’m watching it today…I was busy last night and I’m ready for it! Billy meant a lot to them and it cheered everyone up.

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Well Cin had dozed off a bit during Part 2 on Friday night and we stopped it before the end, so we re-watched that last night. Probably get to the final part tonight.

        Liked by 1 person

      14. That is me also…because of work I couldn’t watch it all…hiding the microphone in the flower pot…wow…that conversation said a lot. Hogg was interviewed recently and he said he couldn’t use that because of the background noise….of course that was fixed now.

        Liked by 1 person

      15. A little devious that was, but 50 years later I doubt anyone cares. we watched part II in entirety Saturday, but were pretty wiped out last night so perhaps tonight we might get to the final instalment.

        Liked by 1 person

      16. Still haven’t gotten to part 3 here yet… probably tomorrow since I know we’re a bit busy tonight and I don’t want to be watching it in little bits and pieces.

        Liked by 1 person

      17. I’m not giving anything away because you have seen most of it. The rooftop concert they did in probably 30° weather which is very hard to play in that… That shows me they could have played live and been up there musically with the stones very easy.

        Liked by 1 person

      18. oh no doubt about that. Show would have probably been even better if they had done that African ampitheater because their hands wouldn’t have been so cold, but the logistics of getting there were ridiculous as they pointed out.

        Liked by 1 person

      19. They dreamed big…and by that time…any idea they had…no matter how crazy could come true. I wish one of them would have said…boys lets just play in the Cavern and film it.

        Liked by 1 person

      20. They tried to do that before but Brian Epstein said no because he was afraid they would get killed because they couldn’t get them in and out because of no back door

        Liked by 1 person

      21. well that would be a valid concern I guess, not to mention how to keep fans safe…how much was the capacity of the club vs. how many thousands would be trying to force their way in.

        Liked by 1 person

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