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Ever since Theresa Weaver got pink-slipped from the AJC, people have been fussing over the demise of the book review in newspapers and of newspapers in general.

Look folks, mainstream media hasn't done anything worthwhile since Deep Throat got exposed and you all know it deep down. When Bill Moyers coos to Jon Stewart over his eviceration of John McCain, and Jon keeps pointing out how he's just a comedian and Bill keeps saying "no you're the NEW FACE OF JOURNALISM!" (not an exact quote, but my god that fawning was embarassing) you know it's time to wake the hell up. When all three major newspapers--NYT, Wash. Post, and USA Today--all have the exact same photo with the exact same story on the exact same day (I'm referring here to the Don Imus/girls' basketball team conference), you know things are wiggy. When the big news is covered by online journals and the stories are repeated months later in mainstream media (the Walter Reed issues, busted by Salon in July 2006, busted by Washington Post early 2007), you know something's up.

Dear Newspaper Editors,
When you stop cowing to the corporations and the moneybots, I will buy you. When you say something honest and new, I will buy you. Until then I will mourn the waste of trees as you lay littered and abandoned on the metro.

~~

About the book reviews. Here's the thing: a lot of book reviews suck. They particularly suck in the newspapers, where, whether given one page or five, they will all cover the exact same books and they will cover them badly. This is not just the fault of editors or newspapers, but our culture. We have this idea that reading is like medicine, and if it's a book it should be taken seriously and downed like medicine. This is why Ann fucking Coulter is treated with the same seriousness that Bob fucking Woodward is. This is also why genre books are seldom if ever reviewed--because if it's interesting or entertaining, it's not good for us.

Our culture is not critical. We are not taught to distinguish facts but to take things at face value. Quite frankly, you're better off watching tv if what you are watching has more merit than the book you are reading, e.g. watching Deadwood rather than reading Blowhard-of-the-Day. I know that will come as a shock to people, me being a librarian and all, but it's how I feel. Books are not medicine. They will not magically make you a better person than someone who plays video games or any other entertainment fix.

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