Sunday, February 04, 2007

Not that I believe in omens, or anything, but ...

Readers of this blog may have sensed that the initial bloom is beginning to wear off now that I've spent seventeen years, five months, three weeks and six days as a copy editor at the Philadelphia ******er.

I don't know, maybe it's just me, but something about 101 people being laid off, a new editor-in-chief every fifteen minutes, the loss of company contributions to my pension, being uprooted three or four nights a week from the department about which I care most, seeing some of my favorite colleagues forced out the door, and being compelled to work weekends for the first time in a decade can get to a person. Does anyone outside my family, my immediate circle of friends, and my sympathetic blog readers care, though? I thought not until very recently.

Each night as I left work plotting revenge, then rejecting the idea as insufficiently forward-looking, I'd step out into the cold Philadelphia night and head home or to Philadelphia's press club. This week or late last week, though, I noticed that the world had gone a little darker, and tonight I figured out why: The streetlights in front of the ******er Building had been extinguished. As far as I could see, on both sides of the street and in either direction, every bank of two street lamps had at least one functioning light, and most had two -- no small achievement in a big American city. But not the one directly in front of the ******er Building's entrance. Coincidence? The work of a sympathetic streets department employee? One of the ten plagues being visited on my paper's new owners?

And then there are those yahoos in Boston who posted flashing signs with weird little robot characters all over that city as part of an advertising campaign, to which the city reacted with an all-day security alert that cost something like a million dollars.

It turns out that activism is not dead, because someone has set up a legal defense fund for one of the ad men-cum-pranksters behind the campaign, who face charges of placing a hoax device and disorderly conduct. Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine carries a story about the guy with the defense fund, who happens to share my first name. Bill's blog post includes an illustration that plays on the flashing signs that caused the hub-bub. I have included a copy in the top right corner of this post.

Perhaps, having read the first part of my comment, you will understand why I find the sentiment attractive. In fact, I'm thinking of having it blown up to poster size and picketing in front of the ******er Building. Stop by and lend your support. Only do so during daylight. The streetlights are out, and if you show up too late, you may not see me.

© Peter Rozovsky 2007

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5 Comments:

Blogger Bill Crider said...

For someone who's been reading newspapers almost since learning to read (a long time ago), it's sad to see what's happening to them. I know that things change, that technology is leading us in new directions, but I still like going out for the newspaper every morning and opening it up for the headlines.

February 04, 2007  
Blogger Uriah Robinson said...

" being uprooted three or four nights a week from the department about which I care most, seeing some of my favorite colleagues forced out the door, and being compelled to work weekends for the first time in a decade can get to a person."

Hang in there Peter, but do take care. A friend and I were discussing our careers some time ago and realised we were working longer hours in our late 40's than we had in our 20's.
Not a healthy option.

February 04, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Thanks for the comments. Technology is leading us in new directions, all right, and eventually publishers or whoever takes their place may realize that some readers prefer their "content" in a literate and substantial form. That hasn't happened yet, though.

My special field of interest is international news. International news-gathering is expensive, and newspapers are shedding expenses. The result will be concentration of sources for international news in fewer and fewer hands, with all the hazards that implies.

The remaining non-major newspapers will do what's cheap: local coverage and lifestyle stories -- you know, provide the kind of "content" that today's busier reader can use. The trouble with this kind of "content" is that is fails to take into account that readers have minds.

Uriah, I should clear up something about my remark on working weekends: I still have my two days off, only they have been shifted to Monday and Tuesday rather from Saturday and Sunday. The problem is less one of overwork than it is of work that is vastly less satisfying than it once was.

My one bitter satisfaction is hearing my calmer colleagues finally starting to describe their work and its product in the very terms I have used for years. It's a satisfaction I would gladly do without.

February 04, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

your brother says get another job and did you receive his car magazines?

February 04, 2007  
Blogger Peter said...

Ha! My brother's brother says yes, he got some magazines a couple of months ago, and he asks you to e-mail him and tell him when you're going to North Carolina.

February 04, 2007  

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