My local newspaper is now unreadable, and I’m damn mad about it.
In order to understand the earthshaking significance of this turn of events and its emotional impact on me, you have to understand the role my paper, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, plays in my life.
It is the centerpiece of a long-standing ritual, one that started when I emigrated from the corrupted streets of what had once been a great city—San Francisco—to the green pastures of Sonoma County, a hegira I’ve described in past columns. After flipping a few houses in the outer reaches of the county, I eventually wound up in the town of Sebastopol, where the noted horticulturist Luther Burbank once flourished, and where the sylvan beauty of the countryside is surpassed only by the dull conformity of its predictably liberal inhabitants. Upon arriving in this utopia, I immediately subscribed to the Press-Democrat, and we have been companions for going on five years now. The relationship has been often uneasy, as my own views are quite different from those of the paper’s editors, but that has never been a problem—until now.
It was never a problem in part because it was the ritual that mattered. Going to get the paper is the first act in the day’s drama, with the journey out to the road, where the Press-Democrat awaits me in its special little green-and-white tube...