People don’t want to believe

They don’t want to believe that major cities can’t sustain daily newspapers anymore. And they cry foul when a beloved character prostitutes herself for a partnership in a fictional ’60s ad firm. Why? Because they can’t — or simply won’t — believe it.

But in fact the move toward diminished print publication has been underway for a while now. Why should we expect the New Orleans Times-Picayune to be immune? Just because you love a city and its traditions doesn’t mean they can or will continue forever.

Loyalists talk about how entrenched the T-P is in the Big Easy — it has the fourth-highest market penetration in the country — and suggest that New York-based Advance Publications is shafting a city that is less wired than cosmopolitan counterparts. They invoke Katrina as a worst-case scenario, reminding that the paper went the extra mile to inform citizens under those trying circumstances.

No doubt plenty of residents will miss the paper terribly on the days the presses remain silent. But we are not talking about a binary news environment here: To suggest that Advance Publications is leaving citizens high and dry is to conveniently forget that those without computer access will still be able to get their news from TV and radio.

And I don’t doubt that if there were another epic disaster that T-P journalists would rise to the occasion as they did when Katrina decimated the city, way back in 2005. During the aftermath of that hurricane, it should be noted, the T-P presses did not roll for three days; the paper relied on its website to disseminate news.

Maybe, just maybe, more and more cities will become like suburbs of old, able to sustain print editions several times a week rather than daily, and rely on additional outlets online or over the air for their up-to-the minute news fix. Is that the worst thing in the world? It will be different than it used to be, that’s for sure.

As for Joan’s momentous decision on “Mad Men,” I was as shocked and saddened as many viewers Sunday night. But outraged and disbelieving? Not so much. Given what we know of the character, it felt within the realm of possible: Joan died a little when she learned Roger was in on these discussions and apparently did not put the kibosh on it.

By sleeping with the odious Jaguar dealer, she could secure her future and get back at Roger by debasing what they had (and herself) in the process.

The agency got the account and Joan got a partnership. But at what cost? We’ll find out soon enough.

In the meantime, spare me the outrage. Matt Weiner did not do you wrong.

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