The Universal Notebook: No News Mondays

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Around our house the first day of the week is No News Monday because the Portland Press Herald no longer prints a newspaper that day. Being addicted to newsprint and uninterested in reading anything flickering on a screen, I often get up Monday mornings, drive down to the corner for a bagel and then go in search of a Boston or New York newspaper.

Last Monday, I ended up buying four. I bought the New York Times ($3) because it was the only newspaper left at the gas station. Then I went to the supermarket and picked up the New York Post ($3), Boston Globe ($3.50) and Boston Herald ($4.50). Not sure why the Herald is the most expensive of the four because it’s easily the least of the four, both in terms of quality and quantity.

Edgar Allen BeemPerhaps it’s nostalgia that still draws me to the lowly Boston Herald. My Nana Beem used to buy the Herald. I think she liked the comics and my grandfather liked the sports coverage. I sure hope it wasn’t the Herald politics they liked. The Boston Herald, like the New York Post, is a working-class tabloid with a reactionary, anti-intellectual bent.

The Herald cover story was about Mark and Donnie Wahlberg’s childhood home in Dorchester going up in flames. The more reserved Boston Globe covered the Wahlberg house fire on page B1 and didn’t even mention the actors had lived there until B3.

The Globe had more important news to report, such as the fact that there was an outside chance that a moderate Republican named Allan W. Fung might win a House seat in Rhode Island. The Globe noted that Sen. Susan Collins is the only Republican from New England in either the House or the Senate. (We all know now what a huge mistake that was!) It also seemed to suggest that Sen. Maggie Hassan should win easily in New Hampshire over a Big Lie Trumper named Don Bolduc who also believes that there are computer chips in Covid-19 vaccines.

The New York Times devoted its front page to the signatures of 61 of the 139 House Republicans who rejected the results of the 2020 presidential election, thus putting both the GOP and the USA in grave existential jeopardy. To vote for any Republican in 2022 is to vote for an end to a woman’s reproductive rights and an end to our democratic republic.

The New York Post’s cover headline was a speculative attack on Biden and the Democrats entitled “The great American swindle: US stands to lose $564 billion in Covid relief fraud.” The actual story on page 7, however, doesn’t cite how they arrive at that figure, which is much higher than the credible estimates of relief fraud reported in other newspapers. That number “may” actually be as low as $87 billion. It “may” not even be that much.

On to more important stuff, the Post also reported that cannibal killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s prison glasses are for sale for $150,000 and that Hillary Clinton is considering a run for president in 2024. They wish.

The two Americas are well represented by the tawdry tabloids on the one hand and the toney Gray Lady and Globe on the other. Opinion columns in the New York Times last Monday were written by Harvard and Tufts professors. The column I always search out in the Boston Herald is by Peter Lucas, a veteran journalist who seems to share all the white male rage of his readers. I am still waiting to read a Peter Lucas column that makes any sense to me. Maybe next Monday. 

Edgar Allen Beem has been writing The Universal Notebook weekly since 2003, first for The Forecaster and now for the Phoenix. He also writes the Art Seen feature.


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