Temps Perdu, Newspaper Dept.

For those pondering the future of the press, a dispatch from George Plank, a theatre specialist at West Point (and long ago a student of mine in a writing course at Camp Zama, in Japan):

marcel-proust.jpgAt a supermarket in a town about 10 minutes north of USMA, I picked up a copy of today's NYTimes along with a couple of other items. The checkout clerk was a young girl, a teenager I guess. The paper had, I think, four sections today. To prepare it for scanning, she separated the four sections. She found the bar-code on the first page and scanned the first section. There was a beep, and a price was recorded. She then began to look for a bar-code on the second section.

I was puzzled, but then realized that she probably was used to scanning tabloids with only one section. I said to her, "It's all one paper." She said, "It is?" I said, "It's the New York Times." She said, "Oh."