Some tips from Victoria Times Colonist columnist Les Leyne:
* Always read the newspaper in a public place, and walk confidently into the store or wherever you go with the paper under your arm.
* Always dress your best and wear a really expensive watch that shows while you’re holding up the newspaper. “You want to look as if you’re killing some time while your private jet is being vacuumed.”
* Open the paper with a snap so it makes a small firecracker-like sound. “People will look up and realize something special is going on. A person is reading a newspaper.”
* Always read it with a cocked eyebrow. “You know about everything the newspaper says is happening. Hell, you made some of it happen yourself. You’re just checking to make sure we got it right.”
* Always go to an inside page first and read a really obscure story. “The more boring the story, the smarter you look reading it.”
Finally, Leyne notes: “Plagiarism is just a quaint old notion these days, given that everything ends up posted everywhere. But to be safe, the above is informed by a vaguely similar piece I read years ago, and have been unable to locate to credit properly.”
UPDATE: I asked Leyne if he’s received additional tips from readers or colleagues and he sent me this reader email:
Dear Les Leyne
Read your article about reading the newspaper. Question: does the newspaper have style or is the reading with style. tch! tch!
I also believe that newspapers are going to have further reductions in readership. Oh well, that’s progress!
I enjoy the thought of the “current business model”… “transitioning to a more to a monetized synergistic digital presence”. However, what I would like is that newspapers move toward watching more closely the bottom line, working together and using modern digital computers.
I appreciate being a “segment” and I realize I am an elitist.
To prepare for reading my morning paper I firstly arise from my bed and wander over to the door to get my paper. However, when I take my paper to Serious Coffee to peruse its contents I fail your number one prerequisite – I’m only adequately dressed — runners, t-shirt and no watch. But I am definitely killing time as I am retired and have no job to go to.
I always walk into Serious Coffee with the paper under my arm (however, when it rains I stuff it in my jacket). I don’t open the paper with a snap but I certainly energetically flip over the pages with elan.
Although I am a smart cookie I find I am unable to cock my eyebrow even though I was born in Eyebrow, Sask. Perhaps it is genetic.
I don’t mean to be overcritical but sometimes I find that there are quite a few articles that are obscure.
I never talk to myself for fear of getting an answer I am not satisfied with. But I do giggle when reading the funnies.
I hold the paper so others cannot see what I’m reading when I giggle. Perhaps they will think the newspaper has written a clever article on the front page and their curiosity will be aroused and they will buy their own newspaper instead of asking me if I have “finished”.
I read ALL the sections in the newspaper. As yet there has not been one woman who even looked at me let alone speak to me. A dog came over one day but I chased him away as he looked like he was going to diddle on the chair leg.
Regarding friends: I wished I could call a friend. There a two reasons I can’t: 1) I have no friends. 2) I don’t have a cell phone.
I have read the newspaper wherever I have lived in British Columbia. As a matter of fact my wife tells me I am a fountain of “trivial” information.
I read and enjoy your column sometimes.