“Old Bill” Suggests—
In a German play, written by Gustav Freytag more than thirty years ago, Bolz humorously storms to his subeditor that, “There are so many things that happen, and so very many which don’t happen, that an honest newspaper need never lack for news.”
The implied magnification of trivial events, such as often takes place when news is scarce: The true but untrustworthy assertion of the fisherman who saw a sea serpent, or a stirring editorial on “The Freedom of Dogs in the Streets.”
In more modern times, when there are enough sheer facts to fill any paper three times over, there may in another sense be more significance in the vacuum of “things which don’t happen” than in the flood of unsignificant facts from every corner of the globe.
One such glaring blank is what appears to be the absence of an adequate balance wheel of stable, common-sense, middle-class opinion. If the balance wheel is really missing many strange things can take place. Some of them have.
ROYAL F. MUNGER.