by Max Brantley
The newspapers get thin toward the end of a long holiday weekend. A few notes:
* White County native Beth Ditto, the internationally acclaimed punk rocker, is interviewed today in New York Times.
Q. What music did you grow up hearing?
A. My mother was really into Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath, and my dad was into Patsy Cline and Kool and the Gang. I also had a lot of brothers and sisters — there were three older than me and three younger than me — so I had access to what younger kids were listening to, even when I was, like, 20. And when I was 4 years old, my brother was 13, so I knew what 13-year-olds were listening to, which of course was hair metal. I really wanted to be a hippie. But I had a crazy rock mom and a dad who did sound for my brother’s band, which used to play the honky-tonks around Arkansas. My mom was pretty dangerous — she lived on the edge — and so was my dad, because he went to honky-tonks and took his 6-year-old daughter with him.
* The Democrat-Gazette anounced today that the new Stephens-Hussman newspaper monopoly in NW Arkansas will combine newspaper forces next week behind a single website fully accessible only to paying customers. Thus, says the story, "virtually all print journalism" in Arkansas will be behind a pay wall.
I guess that depends on how you define "print." If you mean digital images of print on a screen, you've got at least seven increasingly energetic TV news websites in Arkansas, a handful of radio websites (including productive KUAR), several independent newspapers (the vigorous Log Cabin Democrat in Conway and the Baxter Bulletin in Mountain Home among them), the Stephens Media Little Rock bureau, Arkansas Business, Memphis TV stations and a growing assortment of blogs and aggregators that provide free Arkansas news 24/7. (Oh, I forgot the Arkansas Times. We do some news now and then, judging by how often our stories get recycled behind the DOG's paywall.) Protecting day-old news by charging to read copies of same on a website may yet prove a canny business model. But the good news is that not even billionaire monopolists have yet figured out a way to lock up access to information in Arkansas. Not yet anyway.
* Sweet Tea on hiatus? Dead men tell no tales.