Linked: The Death of Newspapers are the Death of Cities

Harper’s has a wonderful article about the decline of the American newspaper. Richard Rodriguez writes:

We no longer imagine the newspaper as a city or the city as a newspaper. Whatever I may say in the rant that follows, I do not believe the decline of newspapers has been the result solely of computer technology or of the Internet. The forces working against newspapers are probably as varied and foregone as the Model-T Ford and the birth-control pill. We like to say that the invention of the internal-combustion engine changed us, changed the way we live. In truth, we built the Model-T Ford because we had changed; we wanted to remake the world to accommodate our restlessness. We might now say: Newspapers will be lost because technology will force us to acquire information in new ways. In that case, who will tell us what it means to live as citizens of Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor? The truth is we no longer want to live in Seattle or Denver or Ann Arbor. Our inclination has led us to invent a digital cosmopolitanism that begins and ends with “I.” Careening down Geary Boulevard on the 38 bus, I can talk to my my dear Auntie in Delhi or I can view snapshots of my cousin’s wedding in Recife or I can listen to girl punk from Glasgow. The cost of my cyber-urban experience is disconnection from body, from presence, from city.

One of the best essays I’ve read all year.

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Category: Linked List


  • http://www.brainhandles.com Greg Bulmash

    Apparently you were watching “Shark Boy and Lava Girl” and had Robert Rodriguez on the brain, because the author of the essay is Richard Rodriguez. :-)

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    OH GOD. That’s been happening to me quite a bit lately. Thanks for the catch, Greg.

  • http://www.brainhandles.com Greg Bulmash

    “That’s been happening to me quite a bit lately.”

    Which? Mixing up names or watching Robert Rodriguez movies? :-)

  • http://www.novelr.com Eli James

    If I say both, promise not to hit me? =P