Thursday, March 08, 2012

Reading Blues (an excerpt)

I read the newspaper. I currently subscribe to two newspapers-- one's a local rag that's my mainline to nearby politics, and happenings in the community that don't center around the art world. The other is a paper of repute that makes me feel a little shameful because the news is so far afield and the advertisements are aimed at people who make as much in 3 days as I make in a year.

As everyone knows, there aren't many newspaper readers left. I have a few friends who read the paper but my major newspaper influence is my father. Every morning that I lived at home I'd walk into to the kitchen and see him sitting quietly at the table reading. Sundays are forever linked to the completion of crosswords because that's what he did (and still does). I used to wonder why it was that he read the paper so religiously. No doubt the paper helped him be up on current events but so did the news he watched each night, and he's far from being an overtly political person.

I've read the paper fairly consistently for only decade, maybe a little more.  At first I bought it because I thought reading a paper was what a man did while he ate his breakfast. I thought it might ready myself for the day of interactions ahead. When I travel I always get up early head out and grab the local paper. Friends often ask why I get up so early or where I'm going as I hurry past them before coffee and I always respond that a man reads a newspaper.

I guess I do believe this. I of course also believe that a woman reads a newspaper and I love that to see Kim pick up the paper. The only thing better is when she reads me an excerpt of an article. Subscribing to the paper(s) isn't cheap and with a baby on the way I've been wondering if I shouldn't just settle for reading the paper on the internet (after all we do have ridiculously fa$t internet because I insisted DSL was killing me). The problem though with digital papers is that it really isn't paper. Reading the paper is active. All the folding and unfolding-- the creasing and then folding again. Plus, I read the paper with a pair of scissors in my hand, and everyday I clip out articles for Kim, for myself or for friends or students. I have file folders and boxes full of clippings. I'm no Nicholson Baker but my collection of obituary pictures numbers in the thousands, and would be greater if I had the time or didn't mind piles of papers all about the house.

So all of the above is just a small part of the reason why I have kept the pictures that follow. The other part of the reason is maybe a bit bigger and much more idiosyncratic and maybe I'll get to it later. In the meantime, here are some of my favorite obituary pictures that I've collected. Its being International Women's Day, I'm including just images of women.


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