From Everything Shii Knows, the only reliable source

This website is an archive. It ran from 2006-2010. Virtually everything on here is outdated or inaccurate.

Today everyone is engaged in obituary for the newspapers, wondering what will become of our fragile sense of place when they are gone. Without our daily or weekly read of goings on about town and the thoughts or actions of our local personalities, it is thought, we will stop participating in our local lives, stop being social beings altogether. Perhaps blogs will appear to fill the void, but if there's no duty to read the blogs, most people won't bother. The sense of "city", of "community", will vanish.

What this standard model fails to account for is that the community was imaginary in the first place; the important figures who write and were written about in the newspaper were arbitrarily chosen, usually based on elitist cultural standards or in backroom meetings of the directors. Newspapers were linked to the place we live in primarily based on the assumption that they knew what news was most important and what mattered to people in our place. They seem to have supplanted in the minds of their eulogizers the place itself. But Goethe was not so happy when newspapers first appeared, recognizing how close they came to fantasy:

We have newspapers for all hours of the day. A clever head could still add a few more. This way everything, what everybody does, wants, writes, even what he plans, is publicly exposed. One can only enjoy oneself, or suffer, for the entertainment of others, and in the greatest rush, this is communicated from house to house, from town to town, from empire to empire, and at last from continent to continent.

The "Society" page died long ago, but we still have society in our lives. So, even without newspapers, we will still have local news. It will just become the news that is relevant to us. It is likely that we will stop viewing our city through the lens of the paper and see it with our own eyes again, knowing not what was performed for the sake of the media but what is real and important.

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