nonBlog — July 2009

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Sacrilege—Thursday, July 9, 2009

As much as I’ve been bellyaching about the demise of my industry, I must confess that I am as much a perpetrator as a victim here. First I canceled my San Francisco Chronicle and New York Times subscriptions because I seldom got the time to read them, and I hated killing those trees for no good end and then recycling the unread product of their deaths. Then I asked the Times if I could just subscribe to the Sunday Magazine, and they said they don’t allow people to do that. (Which is one good reason why the publishing industry deserves its evil fate. If a customer wants to pay for delivery of the Sunday Times Magazine and only the Sunday Times Magazine, then why not take their money and give the people what they want?)
When the Times said no, I subscribed to the entire Sunday paper for a while just so I would never miss an issue of my beloved magazine. But eventually I had to cancel that too—more unnecessary recycling. What was left were the dozens of saved (unread) issues I had in a basket in our mudroom. I used to get a bit behind on the magazine, so I would save those issues and catch up at the coffee shop or the doctor’s office. Then I got a bit more behind, so I would save them for business trips when I would read a half-dozen issues in a row on each flight. Then I got a bit more behind than that, but still I refused to read them out of sequence, and the collection continued to grow. I was learning about things that happened a year or more earlier (which must have made me a very confusing dinner partner at parties).
This weekend I pulled out the bottom issue and saw that I was fully two years behind. It was the July 8, 2007 issue and the cover story is: “Her Jewish State: Israel at This Moment is Prosperous, Insecure—and Stuck. Is Tzipi Livni the One Leader Who Could Get Things Moving?” That did it. Suddenly I was violating my every principle, throwing Tzipi and all her compatriots into brown paper bags and hauling them to our big blue bin. I must accept that as a consumer, even I have moved beyond paper media, and if I want my career to continue I have to figure out what people like me are still willing to buy.
So what do I do next? I agree, inexplicably, to write a regular online column for the Chronicle for free. They would like me to post three times a week please. Three times a day would be nice also. For—did I mention this already?--zero dollars and zero cents. The least you can do is read it, since they’re paying me the least possible amount for it. You can find it here, and it’s about health care, and my dad. I figured if I had to write for free for the industry that employs me and which I’m helping to kill, the least I could do is to use my new venue to keep telling his story.



New, or Practically New

  • Fame and Fortune: Currently working on, and shocked to find I’m making headway with, the latter. Partly because of a bit of movement on the former. Perhaps endurance is the key to everything after all.