Good news for readers of The New York Times. Delivery should resume this weekend! The reality of newspaper delivery was at odds with our promise to put the paper on the shelf for you to read. And though Scott Feinberg states “The mission of The New York Times is to create and collect and distribute high-quality news and information….” as any former paperboy or girl will tell you, “The FATE of your news is in my hands.”
But this is a blog post, so greater philosophical questions are raised. We must not settle for the obvious, “Why did the paper stop coming?” Let’s ponder a larger question: “Where do all the papers go once they are read?” Yes, we know that one Albany patron takes our discarded NYT’s to peruse the science sections at his leisure. This noble diversion from the recycling pile has gone on for years! But where do all the papers go from all the libraries and homes after they are read? Just imagine….
Despite our efforts to preserve The Past,
old newspapers are destined for the bin.
The New York Times, for instance, meets the fate
of any stack of print: oblivion.
Years back, the faded papers found repose
in some cerebral landfill in the hills.
This heap of happenings, each day’s events
was sent upstate for sudden burial.
There was a vast and gray, forgetting field
where names of great renowned and so and so’s
became the same beneath the acid soil.
The woes of Jackie-O became Jane Doe’s.
The heated headlines, able for an hour,
to raise the general feeling to a boil
sank into soft, unmemorable loam–
their furor lost, forever, to the world.
Now papers are recycled, rinsed of ink
and pulped to be tomorrow morning’s news,
Each day’s erasure comes as soon as it
is taken in. There is no time to lose.
Entire populations, stirred to think
exactly the same thing, grow loud and bold
with little facts to verify their views
or cause them to examine what they’re told.
And still the stacks of papers rise each day
to fill the shelves and tell us what we know.
But when they start to take up too much space,
the tilting stacks of papers have to go!
The urgency, the question, that remains
the lead for every story fit to print
is what the New York Times does not contain:
“Where does Time go when it is done and spent?