Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Answers to Your Most Pressing Questions, Part 3

Nancy wants to know: If and when you get a chance to read the newspaper, in what order do you read the sections/articles?

First off, I love newspapers. If we ever move to electronic-only delivery of news I will weep bitterly. For me, the material medium matters. The sheer tactile and visual pleasure of spreading out the paper on my kitchen table and reading it while I eat my breakfast? Words can't describe. Or at least a writer with my limited ability to wax both metaphorically and non-tritely can't.

Now, on to my more or less systematic approach to the content. I scan the front page first, and take one or more of the following actions upon reading the headlines: quake with anger, roll my eyes in disgust, mutter under my breath, or pontificate out loud. And then I promptly set aside the hard news for the fluff. Yep, I dive right into the lifestyle/entertainment section. Must-read stops along the way include the gossip column, the advice column, health and science columns, and comics. Those are always last, and I must read them in a certain order (from least favorite to most favorite). The last two I read are Boondocks and For Better or For Worse.

(I can't believe I revealed the preceding paragraph to the great big Internet. Ah, well. It's not like I had a reputation for trenchant commentary on current events.)

Having sated my lust for pop culture minutiae, I skip lightly among the local news section (starting with the columnists), the business section, and, finally, the main section. I admit that I do not always read the national or the international news in depth -- sometimes the headline scanning that I do initially is the extent of my important-news consumption. It depends on how gloomy I'm already feeling that day.

To make the product and process seem that much more ephemeral, I toss the whole thing in the recycling bin at the end of the day and start over again the next.