Newspaper Reading: To Do or Not To Do? (9 cents)

Late on a busy Sunday, I am looking at a pile of newspapers I have not had a chance to read.  I want to read them all (I would also like to go to Mars).  There are the Sunday and Saturday W. Post and NY Times.  There are two “Forwards” and one “Jewish Week” and one “Atlantic Times”.  Oh, yes, and Saturday’s Wall Street Journal.

I started with the second section of this week’s “Forward”.  I read through it slowly and found the articles interesting enough, but I did have to ask myself why I was reading it, and why I wanted to read the rest of the papers.  After all, how much will I remember?  And for how long?

For example, am I going to remember that Israeli/New York photographer Eilon Paz has been running around the world (after raising $41,000 on Kickstarter) taking pictures of large scale collectors of vinyl records, including one whose collection specializes in LPs whose jackets have been defaced by previous owners?  Or how about the review of the memoirs of Paul Stanley?  Who, you ask?  You know, Paul Stanley, who used to be a member of KISS?  Do you know that his off stage personality is much different than on stage, that he was born with one of his ears deformed, and that the biggest influence in his life is his therapist?  How much of this will I remember?  I don’t think that, if you ask me a week from now, I could remember his name.

OK, then there is an article that a music scholar has concluded that Handel’s “Messiah” is overtly anti-Semitic, and reactions from a half dozen other equally qualified scholars that say this is a lot of bunk.  Will I remember this?  Come to think of it — what is there in this that is possible to remember?  Another article, equally valueless, tries to explain why so few quilters are Jewish, either in this country or in Europe.  The conclusion is that everyone who is asked has a speculation (there are no experts on this question), but no one really knows.  Anything anyone can remember in this one?

And something on the biblical level.  Philologos (columnist with best pseudonym) believes that the “hyssop” that Moses referred to in instructing the Israelites how to spread the blood of the lambs on their lintels before the original “passover” was really marjoram, but badly and identically translated in each and every biblical translation.  I am sure I won’t remember that.  And another bible based article basing blaming taxation in general on Abraham’s belief in the necessity of tithing.  (Yawn)

Or how about the review of “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and the influences of early films of Ernest Lubitsch, such as “To Be or Not to Be” on it?  (I saw the previews of this film – seemed utterly silly to me.  “To Be or Not to Be” was funny, but also an anti-Nazi masterpiece.)  I might remember the film, but this review?  And finally, there was an article on whether women should be able to wear fringed garments (tzitzit), or whether only men should?  These fringed garments are often worn by orthodox men, and they don’t really fit women, so they need to be re-designed.  Will I remember?  And ask me if I care.

So, I probably spent 20 minutes or so reading these articles, and another 15 writing this piece.  Will I remember writing it?  No.  Will you remember reading it?  Haha.



6 thoughts on “Newspaper Reading: To Do or Not To Do? (9 cents)

  1. Maybe we should compare all of the things that we have to read that we have not read but really really want to read. My stack includes today’s local paper, today’s NY Times (on the computer), the Art Daily site for the past few days, and then all kinds of magazines going back several months and in some cases years. These include a great number of issues of New Yorker, Horticulture, Food and Wine, Bon Appetit, Issues in Psychological Science, U. of Michigan weekly, U of Rochester alumni magazine, and probably more that I cannot remember. How to free up time to read? How to decide what to eliminate since I won’t remember anyhow. With the New Yorkers, I try to page through, read the cartoons (of course) and then mark the articles that I really want to read (anything by John McPhee, most of the fiction, a “profile” or two, and perhaps a few other things). I save the cooking magazines and then just read the recipes, which are mostly available on line on, so why bother? I should stop subscribing, and definitely stop feeling guilty for not reading everything. Isn’t that what you are saying?

    • Maybe you just need a longer winter. Or to get up earlier in the morning. I guess my problems are not enough time to read what I want, and inability to remember most of what I read.

      • Never mind a longer winter. This one has been more than long enough. Possibility of more snow tomorrow, up to 3 inches, after a week or so of thawing. Yes, definitely not enough time, but also I think I have to filter out more of the stuff that is low priority, whatever that means. Maybe I won’t remember it, or maybe it is stuff that really repeats what I already mostly know, or maybe it will not be all that interesting, or who knows what. “Who knows what” is the problem: How to separate what might really be interesting from what is a waste of time. Wish I knew the answer to that.

      • Or “earlier in the morning” I now get up at 3:45 a.m. How much earlier? I do start by reading the NY Times on line, or at least scanning the headlines, before I leave for swimming. Try to catch up later if possible. Usually not possible.

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