The phrase, “go figure,” was used frequently in my hometown of Evergreen during the 1940s, to sum up a situation that didn’t seem to gibe with reality.
And just the other day, I thought of an old codger from Evergreen who would study a situation that didn’t gibe with the reality of things and say, “You know that sure is a ‘quare’ thing.”
And during the 1950s in my study of human nature in an Evergreen barber shop, I heard these two phrases: “go figure” and “it sure is ‘quare’ thing” — when the codgers would sum up a session on the situation in Korea.
“How can we be in a war that’s not a war?” One would say.
“Yeah,” another would say. “There’s some calling it a ‘police action.’”
I became even more interested in this Korean thing when I reached the age of 18, and I listened to more sophisticated sessions on current events in Mrs. Lockwood’s civic class.
Kids from Evergreen were getting killed in Korea.
I decided that it didn’t matter whether one called it a “war” or a “police action,” but what really mattered was that I could join the navy, serve four years to get the G.I. Bill and study journalism in college.
Now a couple a weeks ago, the news broke that three major newspapers in Alabama — Birmingham, Mobile and Huntsville — would change in the fall from daily newspapers to three days a week.
And that a lot of the news staffs would be working on reporting and editing for the online editions.
No numbers were mentioned as to how many reporters and editors would lose their jobs during this transitions.
And then a few days later, the news breaks that a highly respected newspaper chain headed by the highly respected Warren Buffett is paying good money and a lot of it to buy Media General, a group of newspapers that includes the Opelika-Auburn News.
Why would any group buy another group of newspapers during a time when the newspaper business appears to be sinking.
Echos of “go figure” and “it sure is a ‘quare’ thing” come to mind.
Maybe no one knows for sure what is going to happen.
Maybe there are still some good jobs out there for people who want to be reporters and editors.
But if you want to work for a newspaper, be smart.
Study the situation.
In 1960, the year I got my journalism degree, Ted Turner was quoted as saying that newspapers would not be around much longer, and I think he designated 1980 as the year newspapers might begin to fade.
One hears and even experiences times and events that lead you to believe one thing, but sometimes a situation doesn’t gibe with the reality of the event.
Sometimes “go figure” and “it sure is a ‘quare’ thing” might justifiably give you pause to think.
That’s all, just think until you can figure out the reality of something.
Gillis Morgan is an associate professor emeritus of journalism at Auburn University and an award-winning columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org