iOS app Android app More

William Klein

William Klein

Posted March 18, 2009 | 06:25 PM (EST)

Last Newspaper Reader Cancels Subscription


Following the news that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer has stopped publishing a print edition to become a publication that, as the Washington Post reported "will resemble a local Huffington Post," (which itself followed similar news from the Christian Science Monitor, the Rocky Mountain News and the Washington Times--oops, sorry, that was wishful thinking) ,the future of newspapers became even bleaker today. A Berkeley literature professor thought to be the last person in America still reading a print newspaper stopped delivery on the Montpelier, VT Times-Argus, which had been publishing just for him.

The future of newspapers had been "a chronicle of a death foretold," Wolf Blitzer said on CNN, until Jeffrey Toobin pointed out that was a title of a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. "Never heard of him," Blitzer snapped before repeating "You're in the Situation Room" until the network broke for a commercial.

Millions of readers who had been thought to give a damn about reading print turned out to relieved they didn't have to pretend anymore. "You can feel informed in a fraction of the time," said a prominent attorney who requested anonymity. As previously reported in this space, in a quote from E.B. White, "what readers really craved was not so much the contents of books, magazines, and papers as the assurance that they were not missing anything..."

"Having to leaf through all those pages made the illusion of intellectual engagement much harder to keep up," said a Supreme Court Justice who asked not to named as his colleagues already considered him a lightweight. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who started the ball rolling when he launched a campaign to cut down on the sanitation costs associated with picking up newspapers, said he was "satisfied" that the country had recognized that Bloomberg "knows what's best," and hinted he would soon launch a new effort to get people to go to bed earlier and pin their mittens to their coat sleeves.

"Besides," Mayor Bloomberg said in an email to friends, "we won't have to deal with the g----n New York Times or 'Wall Street Journal.'

The New York City Council is currently considering a proposal by Mayor Bloomberg to convert newspaper vending machines into billboard space, and to provide subway riders with construction paper and crayons to replace their morning newspapers. "We're at the dawn of a new era of sub-literacy," Mr. Bloomberg said. "We have to be ready."