I’m not a big crab person. Twisting legs and cracking shells all to extract a bit of meat the size of my thumbnail and then ... I’m just done. When I see people wrestling edamame out of their individual pods, I get exhausted. I don’t want to fight my food.
Lately, when I am at the computer and click over to a website for news, I feel like someone has plopped a plate of Maryland blue crabs with a side of edamame pods onto my keyboard.
Just to get to the meat and beans, I am dodging pop-up ads, decoding typos and grammatical errors, scrolling past extra photos, tweets and bits of video and leap-frogging the ubiquitous blue headlines that interrupt every paragraph of text — the clickbait for other stories on the website.
I don’t want to fight my news. But the upside is that like junk food, it’s cheap and fast.
I seem to be caught in a stage of life between persnickety “from-my-cold-dead-hands” newspaper reader and fully engaged, modern techie. Right now, I don’t like being either. While I prefer the presentation of the newspaper, with fewer distractions and ignorable ads (sorry, advertisers), I have become a skimmer, flipping through the pages in search of stories I haven’t read the previous day online, which inevitably yields one or two stories with headlines like: “Ancient Scottish Tree is Changing Sex.”
The news is happening right now, damn it, and that’s when I want it. To get it, I must suffer through misspellings like “Natzi,” error-ridden articles slapped together by interns so that there’s at least something to accompany the video, and news stories I care about until I find out they happened in Idaho.
I know I shouldn’t complain. You get what you don’t pay for. But I still wish someone cared, even just a little bit, about details like apostrophes and spellings of important local names like Robious.
I wish someone cared about my experience while reading the page I am on, rather than trying desperately to get me to another page.
National news websites aren’t much better, now that they are so littered with polls, tweets and pages that scroll by themselves while you are reading. It’s all starting to make me wonder if perhaps I don’t need to know right now that former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt has died. Maybe that can wait until tomorrow.
Perhaps it is time to commit to the newspaper again, to dive deeper and settle into the experience. I think I have been operating under the false notion that all the news is waiting for me out there in cyberspace; I just have to go fetch it.
But newsfeeds and home pages actually offer a very narrow slice of what is going on in the world, creating a news tunnel vision that rarely allows the gripping long story or the fascinating science piece to break through.
Maybe along with libraries and video stores, the newspaper is where you can truly browse, savor and be satisfied. So, I’ve decided to conduct a personal experiment: I am going to unlike online news sources for a while and go strictly back to the newspaper for my daily news diet. Goodbye, junk food, edamame pods and hard-to-eat crabs.
Um, no thanks. I’ll pass.