I have always liked learning and the newspaper has been my preferred source of information. From my earliest days, my morning venture to get the newspaper
marked the beginning of a curious. sometimes useful fact finding day, particularly if baseball stats are considered useful. A good forty years of almost daily paper reading has passed and objectively speaking, it’s hard to say how much it has enhanced my life. Yes I do have a fairly decent sized database of eopardy worthy information, not to mention troves of unfinished crossword puzzles. And yes I can make small talk with quite a few people from various walks of intellectual and professional life.
But recently I’ve sadly wondered if the newspaper still matters. Most people don’t read it and perhaps they are the wiser subgroup. In my case, since I don’t really follow sports that closely any more, does it really make a difference whether I read the paper?
Let’s take todays paper. A quick look at today’s headline articles of interest
include in the spirit of going back to school an increased variety of school offerings (a worthy story), the updated story about the police shooting aftermath in Ferguson, Mo. (a story that has become way overblown) and a few completely shocking, note the tongue in cheek reference, tales of corruption in state politics. Somewhere further into the news section I’m sure there are some good articles to read but my attention span inhibits my desire to scan..
I find all of these articles interesting. But I can’t help but question what is the enduriing value of being in the know. At the end of the day, if I am not going to affect the outcome, what is the point of following the stories? Am I reading just to pass the time? Is it simply food for thought? A habit that is hard to break? Aren’t I better off just immersing myself in my fields of interest instead of trying to cover so many bases?
My sense is that those who are out of the loop tend to carry a little less mental weight. No one is quizzing them on the completion date of the Port of Miami tunnel or how much we should intervene with the ISIS terrorists in Iraq.
I suppose in getting to the paper each morning, there is still the excitement of discovering the unknown.. That’s the fun part. But the bigger issue of what I do with the information lingers and I don’t really have a good retort
Perhaps it is to just keep convincing myself that it matters and maybe get lucky in one day qualifying for Jeopardy. And thank God there are still cartoons, the perfect fit for my dwindling reading level