What does that mean?

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

I wonder if it’s a trend in society. Maybe it’s a trend in me. Maybe it’s a symptom of aging. Hmm. Weird. I’ve noticed this … thing in the world over the last year or so.

Nothing is what it is anymore. Everything seems to have at least two meanings. Let me give you some examples.

• A movie premieres, say Meet the Fockers. To me, this is the most vulgar title for a popular movie in history. So, it’s not “Wow, that movie has the most vulgar title for a popular movie in history”; it’s “Wow, that movie title symbolizes the degradation of the American sensibility.”

• The Reno Gazette-Journal is redesigned. I don’t just see a newspaper that’s proactively changed the way it looks in order to enhance readership and readability; I see a reactive change in direction. What could they be reacting to?

• Bush wants to take money from the sale of Nevada lands to cut the national deficit. I don’t just see a fiscally responsible exec looking for new cash streams; I see a guy who’s looking to punish one person by penalizing an entire group. Who could he be looking to discipline?

• Did you ever notice a Valentine’s Day heart looks like an entirely different part of the body inverted? Now, why would that symbolize love?

I’m not some conspiracy buff who makes connections among unrelated events. I’m saying I think I’m seeing something unusual for this country. As I ironically try to analyze this trend and figure out the “why” of it, I suspect Americans have embarked on a societal search for meaning.

Speaking of symbols: The volume number on the Reno News & Review went from 10 to 11 this week. For those who don’t know, that volume number increases by one every 52 issues. The 11 (since there is no Volume 0) symbolizes our 10-year anniversary. Now that’s a symbol I can wrap my brain around. By the way, we’re having a big party on Feb. 26 at the Reno Hilton, and you’re invited. I think its going to cost $10 to get in.