SEQ CHAPTER \h \r 1Shatrina Cathey
Due Date: 12/6/07
“Extra, Extra Read All About It!”
Imagine a teenager at school and something has gone wrong. They were just in an argument with another student. The teenagers are about to fight next period. What does this teenager rush to do? The teenager rushes to text message all of his or friends, gang members, or sometimes even their parents to inform others of what is about to occur or what has occurred. Many people say “awe these young folk are crazy.” “You have to watch them.” Well, this sense of urgency to get out information is not new. Many teenagers would be upset to find out that they have not started anything new. In addition, do you ever wonder why so many Americans wake up to a morning cup of coffee and a newspaper? Do you ever wonder where, how, or why newspapers and magazines originated? This release and urgency to read any and all information began in the Eighteenth Century, however, is prevalent in today’s society and is expanding ever more. The beginning of this new genre was in the Eighteenth Century.
Initially, the genre of newspaper has drastically expanded since the birth of it in the Eighteenth Century. Can readers find examples of humanity, reason and satire in reading within the enterprise of print journalism? Which area of journalism is the most enlightening? This was a question then and is a question now in the Twenty-First Century. For this matter, how has the rise of newspapers and other printed text contributed to or not contributed to society during the Twenty -First Century? Furthermore, in many ways, readers can find examples of humanity, reason, and satire in the enterprise of print today, which is extremely enlightening to some degree. Just with anything, newspapers has decreased our society as a whole’s reason and lowered the expectations of humanity.
Initially, the manner of life in today’s time is fast pace. Everyone is on the go, and the only reading that many people engage in is newspapers, magazines, journals and periodicals. There are a few good points and bad points to this new genre. In these types of print, there is much satire, reason and humanity. In most, these literary elements are in their simplest forms; however it’s vaguely there. Even though Jonson was attempting to protect his way of living when he forecasted this genre to be “an imminent glut of cheap and worthless information,” but I propose that this genre is very easy for most to understand without any thought or reason (The Longman Anthology, p. 2387). Most local newspapers are written on an eighth grade or lower reading level. Thus, our manner of life and understanding capabilities has decreased over the past three hundred plus years. In response to that, they publish satiric articles such as: “What is happening to our youth?” Let’s see; the youth’s idea of studying is not to select books in print. It is more like surfing the net, watching the news, reading articles from the newspaper, short journals, etc. In other words, print that does not invoke much thought; mostly factual information is used to assist many young Americans with their educational studies. There is actually nothing new under to sun after all. This trend started in the Eighteenth Century.
Consequently, in Richard Steele’s periodical from the Tatler, Steele satirizes the intellect of the coffeehouse politicians. These were known people who loved the rise of the newspapers. The only concern they held was that of the news. “Politic persons, who are so public, spirited as to neglect their own affairs to look into transactions of the state. These gentlemen ...being persons of strong zeal and weak intellects” (Steele, p. 2397). There are people during the twenty-first century identical to these gentlemen. Reporters are the first to hear bad news and are usually the first to go to report it to everyone else in society because they have nothing else to do. Many as Steele stated are not even concerned with their own life. They are more concerned with what is occurring in others life. This is not new! Who wants to have zeal without intelligence? Many groups in today’s society that the newspapers actually mock, the readers are not intelligent enough to even understand; yet they continue to read the news and support the genre. Newspapers specifically tell its readers literally what to think. There is no room left to interpret or analyze. The reader is told the facts. Thus, one of the causes of the inability to think in today’s society is the simplifying of texts.
Despite the idea that this genre is full of cheap and worthless information, there is a positive attributes to this genre. One being that this was a new trend. This genre opened many doors. In writing, progress is needed just like anything else. New possibilities are a plus. People at this point were allowed to print media and explain to other parts of the world what is going on in another part of the world, which was not ever attempted before. For example, The London Gazette’s article on The Fire of London specifically describes what occurred in 1666. This is a great gain in literature because if there were no newspapers, other areas would not have known about this drastic incident. Let’s just face it; people are nosey, and people in society want to know what is going on everywhere in the world. At this time, in the Eighteenth century print is the only way to spread the news. Simultaneous, while the genre spreads, news and journals shift to the letters etc. This opens new opportunities for all writers. Change is good.
Furthermore, despite of the weak intellects and cheap and worthless information, readers may find examples of satire. Firstly, the quotes aforementioned are examples of satire. Jonson and Steele use satire to describe newspapers and other print in this genre. The question is why are Jonson and Steele criticizing this genre? One reason why they are criticizing this genre is because this genre is taking over and more people are concerned with reading news, articles, letters, and journals rather than their works. In addition, people are reading worthless news....news that is not even intellect or that does not need intellect. In contrast, many educators and older people say the same thing about many of the new trends of the twenty-first century. Many people argue that this new trend of computers does not invoke true intellect. Many think that the internet and the cell phone capabilities are not true intellect. This is many of the same arguments from the eighteenth century. This is humorous in and of itself. People would rather read about other people’s business verses learning more intellectually. This is common today; many young adults would rather surf the internet and read various articles and columns or read or send text messages than to read a novel. They would rather read shorter, simpler text. “...After their reading what to think: which shall be the end and purpose of this paper” (Steele, p. 2398). In other words, even the authors of these news articles do not know what to think. Here the public is running to read the article on information that is not only worthless, but also the writers are not very intelligent. Many times while searching on the net you can find more information that is not valuable because of where the information comes from verses finding reputable and reliable sources.
In addition, Joseph Addison introduces satire by stating the obvious and then adhering to it. “I have observed that a reader seldom peruses a book with pleasure ‘till he knows whether the writer of it be a black or a fair man” (Addison, p. 2400) After Addison states this, he continues to explain that people have a need to know the authors background to understand the text. This is an insult. Simultaneously, he informs the readers of his background so the reader will know that he is well qualified to write on the occasion. “I found him to be the greatest newsmonger in our quarter, that he rose before day to read the Post-Man; ... He had a wife and several children....but much more inquisitive to know what passed in Poland than his own family” (Addison, p. 2405). Addison satirizes print journalism. He attacks the readers and authors. He insults this print because it is his competition. Journalism is the going competition against the periodical essays. There are genres competing against one another now. For an example, areas of technology are taking precedence over any printed novels or text. If it cannot be viewed on the net, it may not be read at all.
In conclusion, there are positive and negative attributes to the newspaper genre, and they began in the Eighteenth Century and are evermore present in the Twenty-First Century. As with anything, people can argue for it and against it. Either way, it is great that this genre was added because growth can always be seen as a positive. On the positive side, there is still evidence of ridicule and satire in every day life. The thought process can be utilized if reading the right sources. On the negative side, people should be careful what they choose to read everyday because the local extra, extra read all about it is not going to enlighten or invoke much thought. Varied reading strategies and sources would be a great idea. One should not only read the newspaper or only surf the internet. Americans should surf the net and read various text, read novels and short stories, and read and listen to the news. Learn a little everywhere.
“Reading Papers.” The Longman Anthology of British Literature. Ed. David Damrosch. New York Pearson Education, 2003. 2387-2400.
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