The Newspaper Apotheosize


In December a one-shot broadsheet "daily" called the San Francisco Panorama hit the streets. The paper was crammed with material guaranteed to make daily newspaper nostalgics swoon: a lavish comics section featuring the hippest cartoonists, a slick magazine section, more than 100 pages of book reviews, and long, serious investigative reporting on matters local, national, and international. The "newspaper" was in fact the newest issue of the playful and chameleonic literary journal McSweeney's.

The McSweeney's crew, spearheaded by the novelist/screenwriter Dave Eggers, live to execute and defend crazily elaborate efforts of print-based love. So they probably didn't intend the most obvious social lesson that Panorama suggests: that this sort of high-minded, carefully curated collection of material, planned for many months and starring big-name writers dedicated to the McSweeney's cause, would be an impossible business proposition as a daily. —Brian Doherty