You've heard that print newspaper are dying, of course, and being overtaken by this thing called 24-hour cable television news and the online reality of Twitter and Facebook. Now here's ''the world's first musical obituary for newspapers,'' as former Washington Star gossip columnist Diana McClellan calls it, and it's titled "I Just Can't Live (Without My Daily Snailpaper)."
What's a snailpaper? It's that thing that arrives on our doorsteps each morning with news that is already 12 hours old!
Snailmail is slow. Snailpapers are slow, too.
Oh yeah, I wrote it one idle afternoon in my wireless cave in Taiwan. What was I thinking? I was thinking that I really love print newspapers and prefer them to online news. But I was also thinking that the handwriting is on the wall.
So I did the lyrics as a novelty song in the tradition of Weird Al Yankovich, and it's got mentions of such newspaper luminaries as Bill Keller and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, with tips of the hat to the old and now-defunct Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, belovingly called the Her-Ex in its heyday.
The lyrics are below, following the YouTubed song …
L.A. used to print the invincible Her-Ex
Reporters there dined on savory Tex-Mex
If you're going to Hollywood, read the LA Times
Snailpapers for sale on Hollywood and Vine.
Maybe you know him, my D.C. pal Bradlee
Ben's the one sidelined Tricky Dick-ee
O Woodward and Bernstein of Watergate fame
There's nothing better than the newspaper game!
Miami's a Herald, and D.C.'s a Post
Boulder's a Camera and Walter Winchell's a ghost
So let's save our papers, preserve them in print
Call them snailpapers, let Drudge word mint!
O life is just one long newspaper caper
I just can't live without my daily snailpaper
"Crash blossoms" here, atomic typos there
O where would I be without my dear snailpaper?
What will newspaper-themed movies of the future be like? Will they feature Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford lookalikes working at online news sites and poking their accounts into all kinds of mischief? Will "Front Page" be remade as "Screen Grab"? Will "My Girl Friday" be remade in 2050 as "My Boy Internet Provider"?
You gotta admit: newspapers were once a glorious and important part of American culture, from the Hollywood Reporter to the Village Voice. But those days are almost over now, and they're all fast becoming snailpapers, or worse!
By the way, I sent the video link to Carl Bernstein in New York and he wrote back in internet time: "Nice voice, and so very very true…"
Enjoy the song! It's a trip down Memory Lane…