I'm rarely surprised these days, but opening up and reading a hard copy of The New York Times this morning was arresting. Its physicality, its tactile delight, its quietness, all took me back decades ago when it was for me a taken-for-granted daily thing, often on the downtown Seventh Avenue IRT on my way to work. I used to fold it in half vertically, so as to allow turning of pages while being squeezed by other riders, all of us swaying in unison to the rumbling and clattering.
I noted with great pleasure that in this revisitation the advertisements did not move, flash, or appear in separate little pop-ups that hid their delete button. No, I could quietly read without any distractions or annoyances.
And, as a former newspaper reporter, I noted that the Times headlines had subjects and verbs, and rarely used numerals. A great contrast to the utter bullshit that appears on sites like Salon, The Huffington Post, Politico, et. al.
12 Awesome, radical Catholic ideas
6 Stocks to Fall in Love With This Valentine's Day
7 Olympians who are getting bad press
10 unforgettable graphic novels from 2013
11 best a cappella songs of all time
6 signs our culture is sick with greed
10 Ways To Bounce Back From A Broken Heart
10 most memorable moments of the Sochi Olympics opening ceremony
15 Olympians to root for in Sochi
10 worst right-wing statements of the week — Marxist pope edition
8 Badass Photos From the Real-Life "Monuments Men"—Who Saved Art and Treasure From the Nazis
10 Things You Never Noticed About The Wizard of Oz
12 Unhealthy Fish You Should Avoid 9 Things You Didn't Know About Netflix
15 Insanely Enormous Dogs Who Just Want To Be Your Best Friend
5 Foods That Put You In The Mood---And 2 That Kill It
15 Things You Didn't Know About Coffee
21 Things You Can't Do While Black
20 Amazing Quotes From Atheists That Prove Religion Isn't Necessary For a Meaningful Life
12 insanely bad pieces of sex and relationship advice
7 ways government wages war on the poor
9 reasons not having kids is the best decision I ever made
15 Dos and Don'ts for Helping a Friend With a Sick Child in the Hospital
10 Cabins to Inspire You to Escape From the World
26 Slogans That Frankly Make More Sense Than the Real Ones!
The top 10 oral sex scenes
15 Surprising Slow Cooker Recipes
5 Perfect Paired Snack Recipes You Never Thought Of
10 Things Happy Couples Do
10 Classic Movie Lines That Were Completely Unscripted
8 Shocking Celebrities Who Used To Be Hot
8 Tips to Protect Your Identity
10 Obamacare Freebies Available Right Now
I savored the return to an ingrained ritual. First, I found and discarded all the advertising supplements tucked in between the sections. Then I removed Education, Sports Sunday, Sunday Business, Automobiles, Real Estate. I stacked them carefully into a pile.
Which left me the front page, Arts&Leisure, Travel, Sunday Review, Sunday Styles, Metropolitan, Book Review, and the Magazine.
Ah, yes. The faint scent that emnated from the pages was a combination of paper pulp and ink. I remembered long ago the ink would smudge on your fingers, but nowadays it's firmly locked and withstands page turnings.
But that scent!
It evoked getting lost in the page turning, and close reading, and re-reading. Vivid memories of Sunday mornings in Manhattan, with coffee. In an apartment with a view of the George Washington Bridge. Being there was utterly splendid. Wonderful. I'd often think: How lucky could one be, anyway? Actually living in the greatest city in the world!
By the way, if you're wondering, here's an analysis of why high fashion models always scowl, and it's by--Surprise! Surprise!--the New York Times's own John Tierney.