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?