Newspapers have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. The Los Angeles Times always was scattered around my parents’ house, and I got my first newspaper subscription (to the Portland Oregonian) when I went to college at age 17. These days, the number of Americans who read print newspapers continues to decline.
Here in the Shire, the local fish wrap is a sorry and petty embarrassment known as the San Diego Union Tribune. This product is published by somebody who calls himself “Papa Doug” Manchester, a name more suitable for the owner of a chain of pizza delivery stores. The San Diego Free Press says Manchester “…took a hard right turn and drove the local newspaper off the cliff of delusional insanity.”
This paper used to have a little slogan near the top of the first page that read, “More Than 1,000,000 Readers Weekly.” Now in the same spot are the words, “The World’s Greatest Country and America’s Finest City.” Really? I’m reminded of something once said by Spiro Agnew, Vice President of the United States: “America is still the greatest nation in the country!”
Over the years I’ve observed that San Diego has “America’s Finest Weather,” but it’s hard not to notice that the town is dominated by the military and big money connected to developers and other standard-issue rich folks. Even so, out of habit our household has carried on subscribing to this increasingly shrill Republican paper – until recently. Alexis and I decided we were fed up with the constant barrage of naked Republican propaganda and the general absence of meaningful content. Why pay for this rubbish?
Take a look at the white netbook in the picture. It cost $150 new. I’ve got it configured as a dual-boot Windows / Ubuntu system, but I find myself using the Linux OS almost all of the time. It’s a perfect operating system for a little cheap computer because it is so much faster than Windows.
Breakfast is a little different without newspapers flying around the table. There have been times when I subscribed to several newspapers at the same time. These days I am not subscribing to any at all. The little computer screen is easy to read. The trackball mouse turns all the pages, my morning coffee conveniently adjacent. When the Financial Times renews its offer to give me the pink fish wrap for Peasant Price instead of Daddy Warbucks Retail, I’ll gladly take them up on it.
If you look closely at the picture, you’ll see that my dainty little netbook is browsing the UT’s website. Now “Papa John,” er, “Papa Doug” will have to carry on working to enrich himself and his cronies at the public expense without getting any further monthly checks from me.