Charles Hurt on the Washington Post that once was:
One story I recall was about a crew of construction workers taking their lunch break during nice weather. They sat on a wall along a sidewalk and watched all the women professionals in pretty dresses and high heels walk by. My humble description of the story does not do it justice. But in the hands of one of the old giants of The Washington Post Style section, it was an absolute masterpiece. It was about human interaction at its most primal. It revealed people’s dreams and imaginations. It was entertaining. Most of all, it was real.
And it is the sort of story the Washington Post hasn’t been able to pull off in many, many years. Not that they would attempt such a story that might be viewed by someone as insensitive. Sexist, somehow because it depicted working men looking at pretty women in dresses. Women smiling back.
Whatever. Those stories–and that is just one of thousands and thousands that those great writers produced every year–were real.
I’m in my mid-40s and started reading the papers — we took both St Louis dailies of the time — and yet I can’t remember ever remembering a newspaper story. You know, reading a bit of reporting so good that it sticks with you. A few George Will columns, sure. Plenty of Far Side comics.
But a news report? Remember one for the simple pleasure of having read it? Not in my lifetime.
It’s almost even more sad, suddenly discovering there was once this thing that I never got the chance to miss.