All solutions are individual.


That's what I learned from reading the Chicago Tribune today, specifically, a little wrap-around page touting itself. But wasn't it preaching to the choir? It should be boasting to people who don't have the newspaper in their hands.

First problem: A pizza deliveryman was mugged and carjacked. Solution: "...people from as far away as South Korean and Germany sent in more than $16,000" so he could return to his pizza route, which I would bet doesn't supply him with health insurance. But that's not mentioned.

The second problem: A reporter wrote about a family living in a storage faculty. Solution: the "generosity of friends, family and Tribune readers touched by their troubles" provided money to put the family up in a motel.

Whew. Problem solved. Don't look to the left or right to see if there's anybody else homeless.

Third problem: A kid was in foster care and he got himself more than $1 million in scholarship offers. I remember reading about this kid. It was a feel-good story. It was the kind of story to make you think, Why don't all the kids pull themselves up by their bootstraps?

Also of note: The Tribune tells us it is "[s]hining a light on the persistent and often ignored problem of youth violence...." Persistent? Yes. Ignored? By whom? Not by the kids who are killed each year and their families. Not by people who live in violent neighborhoods.

Everything was off today. Ask Amy said that doctors should always be called by their titles because of their expertise. Hell, I'm an expert and my students call me by my first name. This is America, talk-show-etiquette America, where everyone has a first name but maybe not even a last. I call some of my doctors by their first names. Sometimes I have to force myself because of all the years of calling doctors doctors but if they call me by my first name, I do the same, especially if they're 20 years younger.

But we subscribe and we read the Tribune and it does give us some information about the city. And suburbs. Even though it is so so embarrassing how every other story seems to be based on a TV show. We can't be treated like real adults; we have to be able to relate our news to broadcast (or digital?) fictional dramas and comedies. We are amusing ourselves to death.

Which is the title of a book by Neil Postman, in which he writes: "What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism."

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