Saturday, February 28, 2009

Little Deaths

It's difficult to believe--never mind, because it's not all that difficult to believe in these times--but The Rocky Mountain News, a landmark American newspaper in Denver that's been publishing for 150 years, since before the start of the Civil War, has folded. Gone kaput, belly up. Gone out of business. Here's a paper that's won four Pulitzer Prizes since 2000. I wonder how many people in Denver are going through the pains of losing one of their most trustworthy friends. It's difficult to put into words the kind of relationship a reader builds up with his newspaper, or with the magazines he habitually reads, for that matter. Something akin to love develops, I believe, especially if it's a relationship of long standing. Now think of all the little deaths that will occur today as regular subscribers experience their first morning without the companion that they've awoken to for all these years.

Sigh: it's a sign of our troubled, wrenching times. I think we're living in a time that's going to change the world's way of living irrevocably. (Maybe it's an arguable point, but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.) But, as is only human, as long as our own lives are not being whipsawed, as long as the wrenching things are happening to other people, not us or our families, the monumental changes going on all over the world will pass us by mostly unnoticed.

That's why it's good to notice the death of The Rocky Mountain News. Other papers are sure to follow. We need to be aware of how our neighbors are suffering . . .
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