A blog 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

Monday, October 26, 2009

Folding the Newspapers

Kevin Drum forecasts the demise of newspapers.
A few years ago I was on a panel discussion and the moderator asked us all how long newspapers distributed on newsprint would last in the United States. My guess was 20 years: that is, the last newspaper in the country would shut its doors in 2025. That's now looking pretty optimistic: a lot of people these days seem to think that 2012 is more like it, and today's news won't do anything to change their minds. At the same time, there are various ways you can look at that 10% drop, and one of them is simply that the recession has condensed several years of decline into a single year. A $500 newspaper subscription is a prime candidate to get sliced out of the family budget when times are tough and news can be found everywhere.

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