In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • The News
  • Matthew Schultz (bio)

1

The news arrives each day with the freshness of new weather. Its beginnings are mysterious like the beginnings of traffic. Couldn't we all just drive a little faster? But whereas the eternal question of gridlock is a matter of why things suddenly stop, the eternal question of the news is why things suddenly go. The sun sets and the sun rises. Overnight things have happened. The world has changed, even if only incrementally. There is new weather all about and new news as well.

2

60 Killed at the Gaza Border Demonstrations.

A headline.

A headline I wrote.

I was instructed to use neutral language.

Protesters and Bullets Become Acquainted, I might as well have written. [End Page 31]

3

I don't know where the news begins and I don't know where it ends. I know only the small role I play in its journey.

I am a writer of bulletins.

Six a day. Six headlines and six small descriptions of six news stories.

A harvester of subjectivities—those of the journalists whose opinions I pluck from the internet like fruits off a tree and then serve, sliced and fanned on a plate.

From my desk in Tel Aviv I send my bulletins (the Daily Report) to the readers of the Jewish Tribune in the States.

I don't know who they are or what they do with it.

It greets them in the morning.

They might be sitting on the toilet.

Or at the kitchen table with orange juice and eggs.

Hustling to get out the door for work.

60 Killed at the Gaza Border Demonstrations.

"Honey, have you seen my keys?"

4

Bullets shot. They were trying to breach the fence.

A baby died from tear gas. Who brings a baby to a violent demonstration?

An open-air prison. They should blame their own leaders. [End Page 32]

Bullets shot. They knew what would happen.

What choice did they have? What choice did we have?

5

And what choice did I have?

I simply woke up and read the news.

6

Weeks later and the news is still in Gaza.

Still, I was instructed to "give it a rest."

Instead I write about democratic primaries. I write about Bill Clinton, who doesn't feel he owes Monica Lewinsky an apology. I write about rising suicide rates in the United States.

I give Gaza a rest.

Rest well, Gaza.

7

60 Killed in Gaza …

But this is no longer the news. That number has grown and shrunk. Other stories have emerged. The facts have been arranged and rearranged. Most of all they have been interpreted.

Carnage in Gaza Indiscriminate Killing Israel's Right to Defend Itself Non-Proportional Response Not Peaceful Protests A Bloody Spectacle Terrorist Infiltrators Human Shields Blame Israel Blame Hamas Blame Ivanka Blame [End Page 33] Trump Blame Bibi Blame the Jews Blame Iran Blame Abbas Blame Egypt Blame God Blame the Nations of the World Blame the Summer Blame the Heat.

8

Ezra Pound said that poetry is "news that stays news."

But what happens to the news that doesn't stay news?

A vanishingly small percentage of it becomes history.

The rest lines birdcages.

9

In the age of print, lining birdcages was just one thing you could do with old news.

Old news was also useful for cleaning windows—much more effective, in fact, than paper towels, which leave streaks.

Old news was used to wrap fish or meat at the market.

Old news was shredded and made into papier-mâché.

Old news was used to kindle fires in fireplaces and at campgrounds.

Old news was folded into fanciful hats for children to wear.

Old news was cut up to make collages.

In short—it was transformed.

Today, old news is just buried under new news, which is then buried under newer news. [End Page 34]

It is neither transformed nor destroyed.

It is mummified and entombed, like the dead of ancient Egypt.

Like pickles in a jar sealed tight at the back of the shelf.

10

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Share Historic Handshake.

Alas, history! Not merely news.

But like...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1544-1733
Print ISSN
1522-3868
Pages
pp. 31-50
Launched on MUSE
2019-11-15
Open Access
No
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