My hands were smeared with blackness, dirtied by the ink that projected words and photographs onto paper that was as fragile as the minds taking them in. This is hard work, I thought. Reading the newspaper is hard work.
I had never appreciated newspapers until I worked for one, and now that I no longer do, I appreciate print journalism far more than I could have anticipated. There’s something archaic about carving things into stone, about adding wrinkles to our brains whenever we become more informed about on-going issues, societal shifts that evolve our culture into something we are always trying to pin down and hold. But it is so elusive. At least we try.
It’s important that we enlighten each other with the going-ons of the world, with the patterns of our immediate environments. There needs to be a record that reflects the way we view behavior, politics, sports, money and nature; something that shines on light how how we prioritize the things we care about. Usually, we identify the things we love by how much time we dedicate to them: family, work, exercise; but we can also take a gander at how we view our present-day culture by the things we write about it as well as what we decide to read in return. Producing and consuming.
Having a conversation is the best way to take a pulse. It’s the ones who refuse to participate who worry me, posting statuses that say Facebook has no place for politics and hinting at possible defriendship as a result of an unwanted newsfeed banter. But just as that person has the freedom to displace their disgust, so do the people who are participating in the national conversation, the folks who aren’t ashamed to make a statement. Regardless of the forum, be it Facebook or a face-to-face conversation, the very act of conversing is a good thing, great even. Educating one another in respective differences is part of the process; it’s how knowledge is created, through tough debates and an open willingness to listen. So listen.
Sticking your fingers in your ears only results in earwax-covered tips, a reminder for how yellow it can be when we choose not to participate, when we choose not to care about our future, and what we’ll have to say when looking back on this very moment. I don’t want to be caught closed off from my fellow man or woman; disregarding their thoughts as ignorant or obscene. Sure, it’s much more challenging to work with but I’d rather decide for myself that I’m up for the challenge. I’m game for working hard, picking up the paper and getting my hands dirty. This is how you educate yourself once you breach the college bubble and the thought clouds that encapsulated our ideas of the world. We cannot be afraid to poke holes in them, deflating our perceptions for the hope of better understandings.
And we must not be afraid to work hard when we find ourselves swimming in an ocean of gray. That’s why newspapers are black and white.