Daily Office:


Matins: “10 Reasons Why Newspapers Won’t Reinvent News.” A very persuasive list, and one worth thinking about because of its core idea: today’s newspapers are keeping tomorrow’s from being born, so the sooner they step aside the better. (via kottke.org)

Tierce: Kathleen, who reads the Letters to the Editor if she reads the paper at all, pointed out the following response to the American Dream of “Joe the Plumber”:

To the Editor:

Fair taxation isn’t about “redistributing the wealth” — it’s about giving back to the great country that gave you the opportunity to benefit so greatly.

It’s not about taking money from “Joe the Plumber.” It’s about making sure that “Joe’s Mega-Plumbing Incorporated” gives back to the country and the people who gave him:

¶Roads and bridges for his trucks to roll on.

¶Support for research for his latest plumbing equipment.

¶Public education so he can have a well-trained work force.

¶Markets so he can raise capital.

¶Police and firefighters so his business is protected.

¶Health care so the employees who helped him build his business can stay on the job.

¶Freedom so that he can build his business creatively.

If “Joe” has been able to become wealthy because of the bounty of America, then he should pay his fair share back to America — that is patriotic.

Daryl Altman

Lynbrook, N.Y., Oct. 16, 2008

Sext: One of the best bits in Ghost Town is Kristen Wiig’s turn as a colonscopist. I had not heard of Ms Wiig before, but now I’m not surprised by the comedian’s virtuosic range, from Judy Garland to Suze Orman. (Thanks to Andy Towle)


§ Matins. Good newspapers have always been a vital organ in the body politic of modern humanism. For a number of reasons — the first of which is “things change” — the current business model of newspaper publishing no longer makes economic sense.

I don’t mean to single out one of Dan Conover’s reasons as especially pertinent, but #5 presents a problem that has nothing to do with journalism:

5. Newspapers don’t “own” enough creative technological expertise (programmers, database/mashup designers, XHTML/CSS coders, video editors, Flash animators, graphic communicators, etc) to constitute a viable tech infrastructure. Instead, most newspaper payrolls are bloated with pluralities of resentful Luddites who struggle with the complexities of e-mail.

Today’s newspapers are the product of their own very highly evolved technology — and that’s the problem. Computers have been brought in to streamline existing tasks, such as typesetting, but the modern newspaper is still the product of an old, but complex, method for the mass distribution of broadsheets and tabloids. As Mr Conover argues in a comment, newspapers ought to stick to printing, and stop trying to produce content.

§ Tierce. What really blew my fuses yesterday was the appropriation, by the faux just-folks Republican Party, of an ancient-history image of plumbers. As Alan Feuer reports, New York’s plumbers include former lawyers and — gasp! — metrosexuals!

§ Sext. As of this writing I have only enjoyed the first two clips, but I’ll be coming back for more over the weekend.

Bon weekend a tous!

One Response to “Daily Office:

  1. Nom de Plume says:

    I remember Tom telling me that when The New York Times wanted to computerize, the union of typesetters wouldn’t allow it. So the paper opened a computerized plant and printed the paper both ways until attrition allowed the old way to die.