I have a collection of 110 newspapers, and today I took some time to organize and document them. Here’s the complete list, with date, headline, newspaper, topic, and provenance.
Yesterday the Supreme Court ruled on the constitutionality of the Affordable Healthcare Act in the National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius case. Last night I read everything I could get my iPad’s hands on via the Web site of the world’s best source for news, the New York Times.
But that wasn’t enough. I went to bed last night knowing that there was going to be a six-column headline this morning. I love six-column headlines. Here it is:
Justices, By 5 – 4, Uphold Health Care Law;
Roberts in Majority; Victory for Obama
That doesn’t appear anywhere in an online search at this time except in a summary of news coverage on Politico. It is a uniquely physical object— a double-decker set of text delivered to millions of homes and stacked nears thousands of sticks of gum on streets and in stores all over the world. A comma- and semicolon-separated statement of facts that define, forever, what happened yesterday.
When I went out to walk the dog this morning, the paper wasn’t quite here yet. While I was out, I saw the delivery person walking by with her stacks. I chased her down and gave her all of the money in my pocket (eight dollars). Because she delivers me something worth paying for, every morning.
We really do live in a wonderful country.
under government rules Wed Jul 11 20:32:47 +0000 2007
Tyler Hicks is one of the best war photographers in history. He has won the Pulitzer Prize and worked with some of the best, including C. J. Chivers and Dexter Filkins, trying to explain a world gone mad.
In March of last year, Hicks— along with colleagues Anthony Shadid, Lynsey Addario and Stephen Farrell— was captured by Libyan forces, while covering the revolution in Libya for the New York Times. The article that the four of them wrote together explaining their ordeal, “4 Times Journalists Held Captive in Libya Faced Days of Brutality“, was a crushingly personal tale that also shed light on the story they were there to cover.
Last month Anthony Shadid died of an asthma attack while covering a story in Syria. This morning the New York Times published an article written by Hicks called, “Bearing Witness in Syria: A Correspondent’s Last Days“. I dare you to read it without crying. Hicks is a photographer, not a writer. It’s a hybrid document where he recounts the last days of his friend and colleague— ending with Shadid collapsing while Hicks was holding him up— and tries to tell the story they went there to get. Here’s a snip:
That evening I read a book while Anthony walked down the street to interview some fighters we had been with that day. A while later an activist returned to tell me that Anthony wanted me to follow him and to bring my cameras. I arrived back at the base where we had seen them prepare their weapons, and as is the custom I took off my shoes before entering. There I found a carpeted room full of the fighters, now familiar to us, singing and playing traditional music, some clapping as one sang.
Directly across from me, amid cigarette smoke and sitting among them, was Anthony with a huge smile on his face. This was exactly the kind of connection that made him most happy as a reporter; his great warmth and intelligence were part of what made him the most important journalist covering the Arab world.
He put his arms out and said gleefully, “Tyler, look at this!” I found a seat next to him. Always wanting to share the experience, he told me that when they started singing he immediately sent for me. They served a dessert of sweet cheese, doused in a sticky syrup. They ad-libbed to incorporate us into the lyrics of one of their songs, thanking us for coming to Syria to witness their struggle.
Read this article. Buy the newspaper in which it appears, and clip it out. Press it in a book or fold it into a novel on your bookshelf. And then, as time goes by, if you get nagged by doubts about the future of journalism, or want to debate about pay walls or Craigslist, pull this story out and read it again. And you will be reminded that the New York Times Company paid two friends to go find out what was happening with defectors from the Syrian Army in early 2012, and one of them died of a horse allergy, and the other one carried his body over the border between Syria and Turkey.
This morning I read the obituary of landscape architect Wolfgang Oehme in the NYT. Here’s a snip:
For 30 years, Mr. Oehme teamed up with James van Sweden to develop self-sustaining gardens, free of pesticides, that could remain beautiful even as the seasons changed. They planted flowers and bushes not by threes and fives, but by the thousands. Details, like how the wind would move the leaves of different plant species, were studied meticulously. Water, whether trickling or in reflecting pools, became a hallmark.
Their work graced embassies, universities and private homes, including Oprah Winfrey’s. In Washington, it can be seen at the Treasury Department, the National Gallery of Art, the National Arboretum and the Federal Reserve building. In New York, they created pieces of Battery Park City and Hudson River Park. Their work extended to Minneapolis and West Virginia.
In effect, they revolted against the American lawn, which traditionally opened to the street with bushes around the house. Mr. Oehme and Mr. van Sweden put big plants in front of a property to create secluded space, which they filled with carefully plotted but unclipped plantings. Mr. Oehme abhorred the ever-popular azalea, arguing that it flowered for just two weeks before becoming a boring green bush. Grasses, he noted with approval, change with the seasons and can look striking in winter.