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Pulp Non-fiction

As one of the last 3 remaining (and unapologetically pretentious) non-online-version readers of the physicalized newpaper, complete with oils and ink, my complaints likely bear little weight. In the past I’ve been supportive (up to a point) about recent section re-designs, but fooling with my Circuits section—People, the Troublemaker Estate has gone too far. Geeks who still read the paper on paper unite! What used to be a luscious Thursday section, complete with wonky articles on fun techie gizmos and website reviews, is now relegated to a miniscule 3 pages in the middle of the Thursday Business Section. Up to just a couple of weeks ago, Thursdays were a real treat—it was Circuits day, and I would buy the paper (get out the green, an actual full dollar is required these days), and like the Funnies Ritual of my youth, force myself to read the actual news sections while saving the delicious best for last. (Aside to non-New Yorkers: there are no funnies in the NYT. A tragedy to be sure, but I’m here to tell you that you sort of get used to it. For the comics one is forced to pick up the two tabloid-format options, a choice ranging from the Silly to the Sublimely Ridiculous. And even though I feel dirty after I peruse it, The Evil One Cursed be He unfortunately does put out the most entertaining sports section in town.)

So why not read the Circuits section, or the entire paper online, for free, like everyone else? Well I have complaints (of course). The newspaper is a visual experience best served open and wide. Where the articles are located on the page indicates their importance, and there is a lattice-like hierarchy (as opposed to the online version, which is a top-down hierarchy) … I can’t see the breadth and scope of each article at a glance … Scanning for articles of interest in the online layout doesn’t always work for me—I often feel like I’m missing something. And let’s not forget the oft-apt adage, You Can’t Take It With You (with a cup of coffee)…

So let’s look at what has replaced Circuits. Why, a Thursday Styles section! Jeans, floss, and silicone implants. Far be it from me to compare the worthiness of one frivolous non-news section with another, but is this what Times readers yearn for more of? Is there really not enough Style disseminated on Sundays, when we all peruse the section for pictures of drunken wealthy dowagers posing with B-list celebrities, and wedding announcements worthy of ridicule? Understandably, the subscriber hordes probably also never hankered for a weekly review of the latest first-person-massacre video game either, but what about MY needs? We’ve got serious geeky energy to sublimate here: where my vocation is Real Person’s hobby, my hobby is Sensible Person’s vocation, that is, all things techie.

To be fair, this morning’s face of frozen horror softened a bit as I got to the end of the Thursday Style section where I came upon the photo essay featuring the expressive “L” train, and what all the hipsters on their way to and from Williamsburg were wearing. The art of Genuinely Cool makes me smile, but it doesn’t make up for the loss. Now for my geekout I’ll have to resort to blogs and such. The upside is perhaps I’ll be dressed more fashionably while I read them.

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