in a perfect world of yancies: Before We Go: Three More Things I Believe In

23 December 2008

Before We Go: Three More Things I Believe In

First of all, I really think you should drive less. (Or not at all, if possible.*)

One way to encourage that would be a national gas tax.

I know, I know, but a) it's totally for a good cause, b) gas is so cheap right now that you'd hardly notice it (at least as compared to those crazy prices from last summer--what was it, like $4/gallon, or $16? something like that), and c) the hilarious guys on Car Talk agree:

Good and funny!

I also believe that it's fun to take photos of myself.
This work?
I don't, however, believe that it's necessary to share every one of those on this blog.

If you would nevertheless like to keep an eye on them, I've created a set on flickr, called vanity.

It's almost like I have my own fashion blog, with only my own nearly-fashionable self as subject . . .

That brings me to my third: the fourth estate.

I love journalism. If there's one career I'd aspire to (besides being a real professor (haha)), it's journalism. I love, for example, the New Yorker--what a magazine! and now their entire archive--every page of every issue, going back to 1925--is available online! Wonderful!

I love citizen journalism, too. And I think it's exciting that my hack reporting on those goats caught the eye of someone involved on the other end of that story. (I do fear, though, for the future, since I'm not sure that a teacher out xmas shopping during winter break is really where you'd want your news coming from . . .)

And I love public radio. That's why I was awfully sad to hear that the layoffs at NPR were affecting even their top reporters.

Damn stupid recession. What's the most annoying is that their listenership is actually growing!

Not growing, alas, is newspaper readership.

I say alas because of all the media in all the world what I truly love most of all is the daily newspaper.

Now I could say those things we say about newspapers--it feels good to hold a paper, in a way that no laptop or Kindle could ever replace; local journalism thrives when you pay good reporters to do real work; bloggers (duh!) are primarily parasitic on real journalists and therefore cannot replace them--but I assume most of that goes without saying. . . .

Here instead, then, is just a tiny sampling of what I love about papers (mostly, yes, the Times, but all from the past week):

  • Top-notch film critic A. O. Scott explaining his affection for a nice Scotch this time of year.

  • "Rachel Getting Married" writer Jenny Lumet talking about her devotion to diet soda.

  • Even "Gossip Girl" author Cecily von Ziegesar recollecting some of her experiences with the yearly production of the Nutcracker.

  • There was also Manohla Dargis' discussion of some of the films she liked the best this year. I'd never even heard of like half of them, and I absolutely love that about her.

  • Speaking of movies, has it ever occurred to you that in "It's A Wonderful Life" not only is Pottersville, the town what would have been had Jimmy Stewart's character never been born "cooler and more fun than Bedford Falls, it also would have had a much, much stronger future"?

    It occurred to Wendell Jamieson, who goes on to elaborate in his fascinating essay:

    "Think about it: In one scene George helps bring manufacturing to Bedford Falls. But since the era of “It’s a Wonderful Life” manufacturing in upstate New York has suffered terribly.
    On the other hand, Pottersville, with its nightclubs and gambling halls, would almost certainly be in much better financial shape today. It might well be thriving."

  • Holidays and writers named Jamieson brings us to Robert Jamieson (no relation to Wendell, as far as I know), who wrote in Monday's Seattle P-I about Santarchy:

    ""Santa" plus "anarchy" -- which could be described as equal parts pub crawl, equal parts holiday celebration and a whole lot of fun."

    It involves hundreds of folks dressed up as Santas storming all over downtown, and Jamieson's write-up is (from where I sit) perhaps the best, and safest way to enjoy it. He's a dependably good local writer, and I try never to miss a column.

  • I want to end by quoting a bit from Dan Barry, who I'm not quite so into. He's usually a bit too far on the treacly, cheesy side for me, but his recent piece on the immanent demise of the Bristol Press, a small daily in Connecticut, is a must-read.

    "Last month the newspaper’s financially troubled owner, the Journal Register Company, announced that The Bristol Press and a sister newspaper, The New Britain Herald, would cease to publish if not sold — cheaply, by the way — by mid-January. Given the dire state of newspapers, Mr. Sarno and his hard-news colleagues are steeling themselves for an outcome that would make one helluva story if it weren’t so personal.

    The Press, after all, has been covering Bristol since 1871."

If you follow only one link from this post, I'd ask that you follow that one.

Well, that was all a little heavy-handed. Sorry.
What was the title of my self-portrait set again?

One thing that we should all acknowledge, though: I love newspapers, and I hope you'll love them too.

How about closing with a slightly lighter item?

Here's the scene I passed Monday afternoon at 14th and Harrison:
Skiing 14th and Harrison

For comparison, here's what that intersection normally looks like:

View Larger Map

Cheers, reader, and Happy Holidays!

*I know that for many (most?) of you it's presently not possible to stop driving. But maybe a good goal for the new year?

1 comment:

  1. I would love to get rid of my car! Unfortunately, in the sprawl that is known as "Greater Helena Area" I cannot think of any place to live where work, school, & shopping are within walking distance. Unless someone figures out public transportation. OH! And I LOVE where we live...and where Maraya goes to school...and where I work...