Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The World of Dinosaurs

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Jurassic jokes and Cretaceous critters! Oh my, oh my, oh Miocene!

Here, at long last, is a portrait of Family Johnson's white magic project. This bench is in a tiny little pocket park dedicated to a famous dinosaur find from the nineteenth century. The dinos here are mostly those furnished by the very generous Heather of Baltimore.

Kids love to come to this park to play with the dinosaurs. Sometimes I see a little boy or girl, with an attentive parent, orchestrating plastic prehistory, happy as a lark.

Lately these dinosaurs have taken on a bittersweet symbolism.

My husband, Mr. Johnson, is a print journalist. He has been a sports reporter since 1977 and has won just about every award they hand out to sportswriters. And each day, each hour, we inch toward the closure of his newspaper. And if his newspaper goes, our middle class existence will go with it.

I'm living proof that you can't pay your bills as a freelance writer.

They say that newspapers are dinosaurs, a waste of paper, old-fashioned, out of touch. This must be true, because newspaper circulation is down all over the country. Tried and true dailies are dropping like flies.

What will a world look like without newspapers? We will depend upon computers, radio, and television for information. Increasingly that dependence will fall upon computers. And at long last it will become possible for some computer genius Lex Luthor to shut down the world and take over.

In the meantime, politicians at every level of government are praying for the speedy demise of the daily rag. Those pesky reporters who get paid to watch what the local pols do? Pests! Remove the ink-stained wretches from the mix, and you've got ... emmmmmm ... oh, I don't know ... corruption on a massive scale?

Okay, Alex, I'll take "Corruption on a Massive Scale" for $400. Daily Double!

Perhaps because our family's livelihood rests on newspaper journalism, I've been sensitive to complaints about the press. Said complaints are loud, constant, and bitter. They come from the Right and the Left, and even from the Center. Hatred of print journalism crosses political lines, probably because newspapers really do print a variety of opinions.

A great many people think we'll be better off when these useless liners-of-bird-cages close down. Who knows? Maybe they're right.

We should ask the Chinese how they like living without newspapers. There might be more to it than meets the eye.

Newspapers, dinosaurs. Do extinction events bring about a better world?


Lavanah said...

When I looked at the cost of cable tv, versus the cost of my 2 daily newspapers-I canceled the tv. And my husband works in that industry. I wish I could say that I don't understand how we've gotten to the point where the newspaper could be extinct, but alas, I do understand how we got here. And, it isn't good.

THE Michael said...

Working in the health care field (ain't THAT an oxymoron?!), I could understand what it would be like to have a whole industry go to ruin, alot of people would find themselves without purpose. I find it somewhat scary that all our news papers are going down, victims of the internet, but I can't for the life of me figure out how we'd save it. But you are right, if the field of journalism collapses as well, we are ALL in big trouble.

I really do hope the best for all of you.

Jennifer said...

As an ex-reporter, you have my sympathies. I now do data entry for money and it makes more and is more stable (so far). But a lot duller.

I hate how writing is utterly devalued and TV news, which is beyond awful, will live on forever.

yellowdog granny said...

damn i keep forgetting to send you dinasaurs for your park...
It scares me to death all these papers going out of business..I love my paper..if dallas am news crashed and folded I'd go into hysterics...and my little home town paper?...oh man...
i lit candles and said prayers for eveyone today and said a prayer for your husband and his job..hope it works..
maybe he could be a world famous sports writer/mystery writer...
along the lines of

John Mohn said...

Chinese without newspapers? Last time I heard, the Chinese newspaper readership was increasing. They now have some of the largest newspaper circulation rates in the world. Should have. Largest cities, largest population.

Hecate said...

Love the dinos!

Shehuntstoo said...

hey I recognize some old friends here!

sniff, I miss newspapers

Celestite said...

The sound byte generation will never miss newspapers. The rest of us will miss them every day.