Monday, May 2, 2011

In Print: May 2, 2011

Somewhere in my home is the copy of the New York Times that was delivered on September 12, 2001. You do things like that on days like those--you know to put the newspaper away. Why? We don't need old newspapers to remember an event like 9/11. Instead, they are souvenirs that attest to the fact that we existed when those events happen: The newspaper, an object, says that in some way we were part of that event. That's one of  journalism's roles, I think--to turn history into stories, into which we can insert our own lives. Pictures are key to that, because they turn us all into eyewitnesses.

 I will of course be saving today's copy of the Times--I'll try to find the one from ten years ago and keep them together in the same place, bookends to a narrative.

 When the daily newspaper isn't there anymore--in print, that is--what will we do on days like this? What will we have to put away somewhere? Perhaps we will turn to artists, rather than journalists, to get the touchstones of history we need. In fact, I think that process began some time ago, but for now at least we still have our newspaper front pages, and I'm glad of it. Of course with the internet we can see as many newspaper front pages as we like. But there are some you just want to put your hands on, to to raise above your head and wave, like this one:

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