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Old Things That Are Tough To Explain: The Sunday Newspaper

March 4, 2018

Before the internet came around, Sunday newspapers were the best!  I don’t just mean that the Sunday newspaper was better than other newspapers.  I mean Sunday newspapers were the best!   They were better than television.  They were better than movies.  They were better than most relationships.  Even hyperbole doesn’t do Sunday newspapers justice.

The Sunday newspaper was giant, and you could sling that wrapped paper over your shoulder like you were Santa Clause.  Once you took that newspaper out of its wrapping and started reading it, it would be impossible to put back.  It was like trying to fold a baby and stuff it back into its mom.  It just doesn’t work.  But why would you want to?  The Sunday newspaper was awesome!

The Sunday comic strips were the best.  They had more panels and were in color.  If you were a cheapskate, you could collect them and use them as wrapping paper for gifts if necessary.  During birthdays and Christmases in the 1970s and 80s, everybody knew which gifts were from me because of the colorful comic strips.  I even cut and taped the comic strip wrapping paper so that you could read the strips while the gift was wrapped.

Sunday mornings were the best mornings, better even than Saturday!  Before going to church, I could spread out that giant paper, drink my coffee, and read the paper section-by-section.  I had an order.  Headlines, sports, comics, opinion, entertainment, living, and then whatever.  Every section was 2-5 times larger than normal, so the whole paper might take a couple hours to read.  I could drink a lot of coffee in two hours.

I usually felt pretty good after reading the Sunday paper because I took my time and drank a lot of coffee.  But that coffee sometimes struck when I was at church.  If I had to get up in the middle of the service to use the restroom, I’d get dirty looks.  I could have sneaked out during communion without many people noticing, but that kind of defeated the purpose of going to church.  So I usually waited it out and prayed for a short sermon.  I think everybody prays for a short sermon, even if they don’t drink a lot of coffee before church.

My best friend in high school hated to read, but he could look at the Sunday entertainment section and memorize the entire week of television programming, even with the cable channels included.  That Sunday paper kept my friend from getting “tested.”  No kid wanted to get “tested,” even if he/she needed it.  I’m sure my friend’s parents were thinking about having him tested, but that entertainment section proved to them that he could read just fine.  Thank you, Sunday entertainment section!

One of my letters to the editor got published in the opinion section of a Sunday paper 25 years ago, and I was so proud that I kept the whole section.  It’s yellow now (cheap newsprint) but still intact.  Looking back, I sounded like a crank.  I think every letter written to the editor sounds like it was written by a crank.  To their credit, the newspaper editors didn’t change anything, so all that crankiness was mine.  Now that particular newspaper no longer exists, but I have a blog, and I still sound cranky when I write.

Even though the Sunday newspaper still exists, it’s not such a big deal anymore.  People might still look for coupons or inserts.  People might still read the giant comic strips in color.  The multi-paged opinion section might have some interesting viewpoints.  The internet has all that stuff now.  You can find your own coupons.  You can choose which comic strips to read.  The internet is filled with plenty of opinions.

With the internet, every day is Sunday.  There’s nothing special about the internet on Sunday.  Maybe the internet should do something special on Sunday just to bring back that feeling.  Maybe the internet should go black&white for every day except Sunday.  It’s too late for that, though.  Everybody has been spoiled by all-color internet every day of the week.

Since the internet has replaced the newspaper, the internet should think of a way to make Sundays cool again.  Don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s cool that every day can feel like Sunday.  Maybe we could just turn off part of the internet for six days and use it only on Sunday.  That would make the Sunday internet special.  Nobody would want to shut down the internet every day, but it would demonstrate how awesome the Sunday newspaper was, because that is kind of hard to explain.


What do you think?  What was your favorite part of the Sunday newspaper?  What else can be done to make Sunday an awesome day?

From → Pop culture

  1. i still get the sunday paper deivered to my home. it’s much smaller, but at least i can hold the paper in my hand and read it –

  2. I used always to enjoy the comic strips, and the puzzles in the colored section. I don’t even know if current papers have Sunday comics~perchance they’ve gone the way of Saturday morning cartoon~but I still wallow in the puzzles. The Sunday paper is still thicker~than~average compared to other days, but it[s just not the same. Time and change always do that.

  3. I used to love the Sunday newspaper, especially the comics – of course half the time I didn’t understand them, but they were entertaining.
    I think the internet news should make Sunday special by not having anything about the Kardashians on Sunday. It should be a Kardashian free day. That would be a treat!!!

  4. Sunday comics were the best. Prince Valiant, Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, Li’l Abner, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, They’ll Do It Every Time, and I’m probably forgetting some. I even liked Mark Trail–always contained a puzzle. Might be before your time, but Steve Allen’s Tonight Show, featured letters to the editor, gleaned from local papers. Some were quite humorous.

    • “…Steve Allen’s Tonight Show, featured letters to the editor, gleaned from local papers. Some were quite humorous.”

      Ha! I bet that was way better than celebrities reading mean tweets on late shows nowadays.

  5. The Sunday papers would be fine if they were of the same quality they were 30-40-50 years ago. They aren’t. Do papers fold or get smaller because of Internet competition, or have they shrunk because no one working for the papers knows how to write and entertain?

    • It’s probably, and you can blame the Internet for both: as the internet competes with the newspapers, the papers get fewer readers, and as a result have less resources to do the same job – meaning, they probably can afford to hire fewer good writers, fewer on-site correspondents, check their sources less thoroughly…

  6. lexc13 permalink

    My fave was comics, the few random times I get sunday paper now its mostly for comics. Though i try to at least skim the rest.

  7. You can surf the Internet all day on Sunday, unlike, say, Wednesday (for most of those employed 9-5)

  8. The Sunday paper is a thin reminder of the good old days. LA Times has a one page comics section!

  9. Actually I always hated the Sunday papers. Once my parents sat down with them they didn’t move for hours. I wanted to go out and do things on Sunday, but they just wanted to stay home with the papers 😦

  10. The crosswords!! I warm up with the regular crossword, then move on to the NYT, which usually takes me all week (and a few contributions from the husband) to complete. We just finally cancelled the Sunday paper (we didn’t get it the other days of the week, so the Sunday paper was REALLY special) because of frequently late or altogether missed delivery. And I’m talking, like, two years of this crap. When your whole Sunday morning ritual of lattes and crosswords is dependent on the consistent, timely delivery of the paper, and the paper doesn’t come, it makes for a crappy Sunday. After I cancelled the paper, I frantically asked everyone at work (who is older than 50 – anyone younger than that doesn’t even realize that newspapers can be delivered) if they a) get the Sunday paper, and if yes, then b) do the crosswords, and if no, then c) can you please bring it into work and give it to me and whenever I bake I’ll bring you things to eat – mostly slices of cake because cakes are my speciality. I had a couple people make this agreement with me, which meant I was getting doubled up on crosswords and giving away extra cake needlessly, but I didn’t mind because two identical crosswords is better than none.

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