I’m enjoying immensely the funny book that my mother-in-law sent me for my birthday. Our Times: New Orleans through the pages of The Times-Picayune is not meant to be funny. The unintentional humor results from the extraordinary myopia of the book’s editors. A single page is devoted to each of the paper’s 175 years of existence. What is offered as the most memorable highlight(s) of certain years is, to say the least, bizarre. A few examples:
- A sports writer/editor who joined the paper in 1945 merits two thirds of a page, versus less than one third for the end of WWII;
- The premiere of some ridiculous fagfest takes up all of 1974;
- All of 1992 is devoted to foul-mouthed local rappers; and
- Biggest oversight of all, no mention of my birthday in 1956.
This self-serving celebration of the only remaining daily newspaper in New Orleans — the dull behemoth that swallowed up all vibrant competitors over several decades — was published last year in the midst of massive terminations. Recently, the Picayune announced that it would reduce publication to three times a week. Our Times charts the ruination of a once great city and documents how a newspaper’s publishers, editors, and writers contributed to that decline.