Rendered Fat Content


"I dread the responsibility this practice places on me …"

I pride myself on being well read. Most mornings, I warmly anticipate fetching my New York Times from the driveway. It's part of my ritual to peel off the protective plastic bag and spread the four or five sections across the kitchen table, ready for breakfast perusing. I've already read one or two of that day's op/eds online, but I tear into the paper paper anyway. I scan the front page then delve more deeply into the back pages, looking for stories that might help me make sense of what without some inside analysis, probably wouldn't make any sense to me. I'm a paper guy from my earliest age. When I delivered these pages, I poured through each edition. They were my primary source of education, so I revere them and the journalists who produce them, except on Sunday morning.

On Sunday morning, a behemoth paper awaits me in the driveway.
It's typically almost as large as the combined volume of the prior six days' editions, inevitably including at least two glossy inserts, the much-vaunted but little read Magazine and a brochure promoting seven thousand dollar French wine country tours. Both of these seem pre-destined for the recycling bin; likewise the bulk of each Sunday's edition. Endless sections dedicated to arcane arts, superficial sports, overblown travel, and boring business doings quickly follow their glossy fellows into the bin. I retain first and foremost, the book review, then the expansive op/ed and the front page sections. I'll be fortunate to make it through those by the end of the day.

I've come to dread the Sunday Times. It's more than I can swallow. My daily dedication to ferreting out the truth never takes off a day, but neither does it necessarily require a quadruple dose just because it's Sunday. I might argue that my inner Diogenes doesn't ever need this sort of booster shot. He's built up ample immunity through the week, and I might benefit from a day spent in more insulated contemplation. Still, I wander out to fetch even this truth bomb and silently separate its wheat from its voluminous chaff. I produce an unseemly carbon footprint on Sundays, a supposed day of rest.

From the book review, I'll likely stumble across notice of some freshly published work worthy of reserving at the local library. From the expanded op/ed section, I might read through no more than Maureen Dowd's latest. In the first section, I search for the Metropolitan Diary column, the finest work of journalism this paper ever produces. It's comprised of little stories readers send in about their experiences in New York. It features something unlike the rest of the news, often out-dated and presenting tiny portraits of actual people performing little acts of kindness, meanness, or both; true New Yorker stories. These pieces reinvigorate my faith in people and I deeply appreciate those who take the time to catalogue their dog bites man vignettes. They remind me who's present here. The real news seems much broader than our President's latest inane Tweet or the foreign policy establishment's current heartburn.

I could be excused for concluding that the world's going to hell, but not in any hand basket yet, though multiple times on Sunday. Saturday tends to be the least news-infused day of each week. Friday night tends to serve as the point when the news the newsmakers want buried gets released to the public, too late for the Saturday edition and with an increased lag time before it finally appears buried within the overwhelming windfall of Sunday's. Those newsmakers-who-want-to-hide-this-news-they've-made understand that they stand a decent chance of getting away with their latest malfeasance if the only report of it appears in the Sunday morning Times. I dread the responsibility this practice places on me, but feel fairly powerless to counteract it. I'll collect my Sunday paper, anyway.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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