Kamby Bolongo Mean River named one of 25 Important Books of the 2000s by HTML Giant

KBMR was named one of 25 Important Books of the decade by HTML Giant. And was a Page One selection of New & Noteworthy Books by Poets & Writers Magazine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

No news today - Guest Post - Matthew Vollmer

No news today—and no news the next. None. The world, it appeared, had run out. News, finally, was done. There was no longer anything to report, nothing of note to relay. For as long as anyone could remember, the general consensus had been that no news was tantamount to good news. But now that there was no news, those who had grown so accustomed to it—those who had depended it on it, for entertainment, for educational purposes, and to feed the illusion that they were staying informed—didn’t know what to think. No news? Really? None whatsoever? This sudden depletion was itself newsworthy, was it not? Yes and no. “No news” was not really news—at least not for long—and it certainly couldn’t stand in the place of what people had thought for eons as "regular" news. So, once the news of the news’ disappearance had been reported and heard, it was final: there really was no more news.

These early newsless days were characterized by suspicion and doubt. People, being people, wanted to believe that, despite all evidence to the contrary, nothing—or very little—had changed. Yes, they admitted, it was strange, this lack of news, and sure, they were worried, as any normal person might be, but they expected to hear—any day now—some sort of, well, update, as it were, about how news was doing, where it had been, what had happened to it during its absence. What, in short, was the news about news? Nobody knew. News—being no more—made not a peep.

Time moved forward; nothing of note continued to occur. In the meantime, everybody seemed to be getting along fine. Wasn’t this—this unprecedented harmony —a good and wonderful thing? Hadn’t this newsless age been what everyone, deep down, had wanted? Perhaps. And yet… something seemed to be missing. Something felt “off.” It wasn’t just that the deficiency—the gaping maw that news had left behind—proved palpable; it was also that people had a sneaking suspicion that news had not gone gently into its good night, that perhaps instead it had been kidnapped, murdered, or otherwise done away with in some inauspicious and decidedly horrific manner. Such hypotheses were, of course, unfounded, and turned out to have been a sneaky way of attempting to manufacture a new kind of news. But speculation, no matter how cleverly it got spun, was not—nor would it ever be—news.

Eventually, people had to come to terms with the fact that news, after a good long life, would have to be declared—officially!—dead. And perhaps it was for the best. No news gave people a chance to reflect on and re-assess the news of the past. “How manipulated we’d all been!” they cried. “How shallow! How like woebegone addicts we’d gone about our days, hungering for the next bit of news, in whatever form it took!” The new news, if one could call it that, which one couldn’t—not really—was that people hadn’t needed news nearly as much as the news had wanted them to believe. In fact, it appeared—according to those who studied this kind of thing—that news had not been essential or vital in any way at all. Therefore: “To hell with news! Good riddance! Sayonara!” Everyone was, then, in agreement: they would all would dedicate themselves anew to a new, optimistic, and newsless era. Never again would anyone allow the news to rear its dragon’s head, to breathe its demonic fire, which, as mesmerizing as it had been, also had a tendency to scorch straight through to one’s soul. In this new era, people would return to their homes, to their families and neighbors, their gardens and gazebos. And, for the most part, they would forget about news, although a few—collectors mostly, and nostalgia-freaks—would occasionally take a peep at the old news, which now that it was old, was but a phantasmagoric—if not laughable—representation of what news had been. And during this fabled era—this time before news returned, with a heat-seeking vengeance—everyone was truly happy, and lived sincerely in the belief that they had nothing whatsoever to fear.

Matthew Vollmer is the author of a collection of stories titled FUTURE MISSIONARIES OF AMERICA. He teaches at Virginia Tech and is at work on a novel.

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