Saturday, November 22, 2008


The cow is giving kerosene,
Kids can't read at seventeen,
The words he knows are all obscene,
But it's all right.
I will get by. I will get by. I will get by.
I will survive.

So wrote my all-time favorite songwriter Robert Hunter, for my all-time favorite band, the Grateful Dead. The song – A Touch of Grey – doesn't perfectly echo my inner feelings about what's transpiring around us, but it's appropriate.

I present it to you alongside the knowledge that The Herald, unless it's sold by our parent corporation, the Journal Register Company, will cease operation on Jan. 12. The same fate awaits The Bristol Press and many of the weeklies surrounding Hartford that have been disseminating our local news.

The Herald and The Press, two grand old ladies who have walked hand-in-hand with people west of Hartford for 130 or so years, have been given their last rites. Unless another company with deep pockets and foresight can interpret that their legacy should live on, important voices will be silenced.

Why the demise? It's heartbreaking for me to say this but our world has become one of instant gratification. People want to know right away and they want it delivered in a short sentence or two. Flashes on the internet or television suffice. Hmmm, is this why text messaging has become so popular? People using their thumbs to tap out abbreviated words that convey instant messages, never taking the time to learn how to read, never taking the time to learn how to spell.

That's their life, and I'm sure they'll be the worse for it. That’s only one reason. There are others. But regardless of why, New Britain and Bristol will surely be the worse for not having detailed local news at their fingertips, even if it isn't carried by an electronic messenger in broken phrases and doesn't reach you in a moment's notice.

We have witnessed how the latent, pernicious human trait of greed has permeated our society, greater than any society in the past. We've seen how the soulless Satans who run the Enrons of the world put their own excesses ahead of the hard-working couple trying desperately to finance their golden years. We've watched helplessly as board-room greed has invaded the once unfettered world of sports. Greed mongers, who have reached their sinister fingers into our pockets in trying to pluck our last nickel, have even pirated our games of leisure.

They will all suffer for their sins. I hope we survive long enough to run their obituaries.

If indeed this is the end, I want to tell you how exciting and satisfying it has been to serve you at both of these newspapers since 1991 – to inform you in what I hope was an entertaining manner. I truly hope that I become blessed with another forum in which to do so until these fingers can no longer slide across the keyboard and this mind can no longer describe and interpret what these eyes see.

Some will say that’s already happened, but I digress.

I thank you for inviting me into your homes, allowing me to stimulate your thought, permitting me access to your wonderful children, many of whom have gone on to make all of us proud and our world a better place. Let us pray that our newspapers are not silenced. For the good of everybody who lives from Terryville to Rocky Hill, from Windsor Locks to Southington, that the original mission of our newspapers survive.

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