A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Friday, March 7, 2008

Black Friday

I canceled delivery of the San Jose Mercury News today. It's no longer the newspaper I worked for. It's no longer a paper I need, or particularly even care, to read.

When I left the paper, taking the buyout on 2005, they were trimming fat. (I contributed my ounce of blubber.) When the layoffs started, they cut into the muscle. Today, they hacked into the bone.

I don't have any confirmations about who got laid off today, only rumors, so I won't mention any names. But the ones I've heard include some of the most talented reporters it's been my pleasure to know. And I've heard rumors about reassignments of some of the people who remain -- rumors that make it clear that the management of the newspaper doesn't share my values or interests.

For as long as I remember, I've read a newspaper at breakfast: The Memphis Commercial Appeal, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the Dallas Morning News, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Mercury News. Tomorrow, it'll be the Chronicle again, not the Merc.

A sad day.

Update: Here's the list.

Lisa Chung, Metro feature writer, ex-columnist
Steve Chae, Library
Katherine Conrad, commercial real estate reporter
Barbara Egbert, copy editor
Barb Feder, medical writer
Dennis Georgatos, 49ers beat writer
Elizabeth Goodspeed, features designer
Joanne HoYoung Lee, photographer
Carolyn Jung, food columnist
Dave Kiefer, sports writer
Thu Ly, photographer
Mike Martinez, travel writer
Erik Olvera, Metro reporter
Connie Skipitares, metro reporter
Barry Witt, Metro reporter
Alvie Lindsay, state bureau chief
Matt Mansfield, deputy managing editor
Pam Moreland , features editor
Rebecca Salner, AME of Business
Steve Wright, head of editorial pages
Voluntary departures
Sue Hutchison, features columnist
Julie Kaufmann, food editor
Levi Sumagaysay, assistant Business editor