I know Garrison Keillor's not reading this. Because it's on that wacky, wacky thing called the Internet. And according to one of his recent columns, the Internet is just not cool. So he's here to give us a little education in cool (thank God). And the lesson is: People should read more newspapers.
The ultimate in cool, Keillor instructs us, is Cary Grant and Spencer Tracy, who both, er, read newspapers, or whatever. And if 70-year-old professional storyteller Garrison Keillor says it's the ultimate in cool, then it totally is.
But now, Mr. Keillor laments, The Golden Age of Cool, which was so famously marked by the reading of newspapers, is going to pot because of the Internet. Particularly Myspace, which Keillor dubbs "the encyclopedia of the pathetic." Astute observation, Mr. Keillor. I am sure that all 100 million Myspace profiles belong to losers. And even if a lot of them do, were there no losers back in the good old days? Just because they didn't have the ability to make a Myspace page, or were more prone to read a newspaper, doesn't mean they didn't exist. But in any case, Keillor goes on to condescendingly explain how to properly unfold, open, and read a newspaper. Such brilliant curmudgeonly wit! Any chance you once had some difficult walks to school in the winter, Mr. Keillor? Some uphill walks? If you did, I really want to hear about them.
I agree with him to a point. Newspapers should be read more. And readership has been in serious decline. (Although that decline halted recently.) But here's a little tidbit I'm going to clue you in on, Mr. Keillor. Keep this under your fedora. Most newspapers are actually available for free (you can appreciate free right? Having grown up in the Depression?) on the Internet. So those "people" in the coffee shops who so greviously offend you by surfing the Web may have been saving money. Probably just to waste it on drugs or spray paint or penny whistles, but still.
And I know it's not the same when you can't smell the ink and wrinkle the pages. And I am truly sorry for all that. Or I woud be, except for the fact that that entire argument is entirely dumb. Change is scary, but I'm afraid this little Internet thing is kind of catching on. So how about a grumpy topic that's actually pertinent? Why do they have to put those pickle jar lids on so tight? Why can't the 7-11 hire someone who speaks English? Why must the teens insist on walking through your lawn? It's a big world out there, with lots to bitch about. Keeping dinosaurs on life support so you can stay in your comfort zone isn't one of them.
- Garrison Keillor: Newspapers Give Us Style All Our Own [Chicago Tribune]
- US: Decline in newspaper readership halts [Editors Weblog]
Technorati tags: Garrison Keillor, media, Myspace