Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Sunday 8 July 2012

What the Papers Say

I don’t read a newspaper every day.

I’ve had the internet for a long time, and before that I listened to the news on Radio 4 every day, so I haven’t read a paper every day since I lived with my parents, but I’ve always read the Sundays.
For most of my adult life, I’ve taken several Sunday papers; not always the same ones, but always a pretty decent cross section.
The husband and I have a little ritual, which goes back a long time. He gets up and makes us a cup of tea, and we sit in bed with the papers for a couple of hours before he brings us breakfast in bed, or we go out for brunch. Our Sundays haven’t varied much for over a decade.
It used to take us two or three hours to get through the Sunday papers. We used to read them from cover to cover, and clip articles and discuss what we were reading. Stories would spark conversations. We’d catch up on reviews, and plan what we’d read, listen to and watch over the coming weeks.
The Sunday papers helped to make us feel connected to the World.
Of late, it has taken us less and less time to read the Sunday papers. I honestly spend more time doing the sodukos than I do reading the news, and we often say very little to each other while we complete the ritual.
I do not know what has happened.
Is it just because the print media can’t keep up?
Is it because all print news is old news, and, because of that, all print news is, in fact, opinion? Is it because we constantly feel that the most important thing in life is to be entertained, and heaven forbid we should ever be bored by anything?
Is it really because it is simply too much trouble to be informed?
We no longer need to be informed. If we don’t understand a reference, we don’t need to make idiots of ourselves by asking a question, we can simply turn to our trusty i-phones and blackberries, our i-pads and androids and look stuff up... and forget whatever it was, again, in the next instant.
Where are our scholars? Where are our polymaths? Where are our intellectuals, our commentators, our raconteurs? Where are our Peter Ustinovs and our Jonathan Millers?
I trust that they are still out there. Their skills may not quite be the same, their educations may vary somewhat from their predecessors’, but, in the end, perhaps that isn’t such a terrible thing.
I’m beginning to feel a little out of my time and a little out of my depth in a society that seems to be moving ever faster, but then I look around and I still find Dara O’Briain and Armando Iannucci and Stewart Lee, and that’s without giving a thought to all the amazing women working in media right now.
Maybe it’s not all so terrible after all.

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