Saturday, January 13, 2007
Thrusting my aged features close to their spotty ones and temporarily stunning them with a gust of 40-year-old Laphroaig, I often say to aspiring young journalists, 'Nobody buys the paper to read you, sunshine.' In fact, discovering why people read newspaper can be a very shocking and lowering experience. This thought is inspired by an email I have received from the New York Times listing their most viewed articles of 2006. Top of the list is What Shamu Taught Me About a Happy Marriage. The first sentence of this milestone in contemporary journalism is: 'As I wash dishes at the kitchen sink, my husband paces behind me, irritated. "Have you seen my keys?" he snarls, then huffs out a loud sigh and stomps from the room with our dog, Dixie, at his heels, anxious over her favorite human's upset.' My knuckles are now white with the effort of not commenting on this. I shall content myself with a silent scream. Elsewhere in the top ten are two other lists - best American fiction of the last 25 years and best books of 2006. Where is the lists of lists, the supreme meta-list? Nothing on Iraq, though there is one story about climate change. All serious journalism seems to float on a sea of dogs called Dixie and dumb ass relationship babble like (number 3) Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying, which, of course, has the added bonus of an illiterate and ungrammatical headline. If only all these people could be persuaded to read grammatically sound books with excellent spelling like this one.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 8:16 am