I’m going to stop

For a long time, I didn’t watch the news.

For a long time before that, I did. It was the 10 or 11 o’clock precursor to bedtime. It meant the end of the day; time to see what had happened in the world, in the country, in the neighbourhood. Then, a few years ago, I had a baby. I think that’s when I first stopped watching the news — new baby, no sleep, oddly timed feedings/pumpings, etc., etc. Then when I tried to go back to it I could no longer stomach it. It was bad news most of the time and it really stressed me out. So I stopped.

I did alright without watching the news. If there was something big happening I was sure to hear about it anyway, whether it was on the radio in the car, in the schoolyard, or on the tv at McDonald’s. HardWorker still watched the all-day headline broadcast channel before she left for work or before bed, ostensibly to check the weather or the traffic. Whatever I did happen to see annoyed me no end and it wasn’t just the content. Not a single commentator seemed able to read the sheets that were in front of them without stumbling over names, dates, locations, or the basic tenets of the english language. They make me crazy. I try to stay away from it if at all possible.

I found I was able to stay fairly stress free (news-wise) and life was good. Facebook was something I had discovered and joined years ago (after abandoning my mySpace page) and I enjoyed keeping up with family and friends from around the globe. New babies, vacation pictures, familial losses, even making new friends; it was all at my fingertips. I even joked with other school parents at SCC meetings that if the news wasn’t accompanied by kitten videos on Huffington Post it meant nothing to me. Then it all changed. People started regarding the Huffington Post as a real “newspaper”. The major networks all have Facebook pages, as do all of their regional stations. All the Posts and Times and Gazettes are there as are numerous weekly or monthly magazines. People quote Twitter on their FB pages and link to just about everything that gets published anywhere. It’s too much. Too much to read. Too much to follow. Too much to click through.

It’s too much. Sensory overload. And let me tell you, I barely link any of my accounts, I don’t check my mail every hour, and I’m only on Twitter about once a week. I HAVE A FLIP-PHONE. That’s right. I HAVE A FLIP-PHONE. I do not receive badges, banners, or updates; do not get pinged every time a new e-mail comes in; no swish or chirp when someone tweets something. It doesn’t seem to matter. When I do check Facebook there is invariably some new horrible thing that is being shared by everyone I know. When Hardworker comes home and asks, “Did you hear about …?” I have to say that I did. Whether I wanted to know about it or not. Apparently we no longer have the option of not watching the news.

Well, folks, I’m taking it back. I’m going to stop watching. Stop reading. Stop scrolling. Stop clicking through links. I’m going to stop. I know that some people will think this is no way to live in this day and age. They will call me names and tell me I’m part of the problem. I’m telling you this is the only way to live in this day and age. If I don’t stop I won’t survive.

So yeah, I’m going to stop.

 

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Categories: family, friendship, media, NaBloPoMo, NaNoPoblano, Uncategorized, words | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “I’m going to stop

  1. I stopped, too. And the sun still rises every day. If I catch wind of something I want to know more about I can always seek it out. (On my smart phone. A flip-phone? Really?) πŸ˜‰

    • Oh yeah, a Samsung Rugby, military grade housing, and even has web access if I absolutely need it. I’m pretty hard-core old-school: flip-phone, snail-mail, VHS movies, film camera, etc. I’ll tell you, no word of a lie, my phone flew off an amusement park ride this summer, narrowly missed whacking some poor woman in the skull, hit and skidded/bounced across the , pavement, only sustaining slight abrasions. Still works like a charm. The only issue is that I can’t get emojis, only see empty boxes. 😁

      • And that is because of the nature of the phone, not due to any damage. A smartphone would have shattered.
        And as for the empty boxes, I just always assume they are hearts and kisses.

  2. You might really, really enjoy Neil Postman right now. Anthony handed me his Amusing Ourselves to Death some months back, and I was instantly taken. Postman wove together history, present, humanity, and technology in ways I’d never seen before and have scarcely seen since.

    I’ve read about a dozen Postman books so far. A theme that shows up in many of them is “information glut”: in almost all of his writings, beginning decades ago, he referenced this phenomenon of there being far more information available than any of us could process. He rued the separation of information from the real world, as if information without real-world application could … do much of anything.

    I actually searched “neil postman information glut” and found this fantastic excerpt from his Technopoly: “Information has become a form of garbage” https://boydio.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/information-has-become-a-form-of-garbage/

    (He goes into great detail about the specific garbage that is TV/news in another book I recommend, How to Watch TV News. Li’l D actually told his grandmas that “Mom thinks Fox News is garbage” recently, leading me to ask, “Did you tell them I think all TV news is garbage?’ “Nope.” Okay, then!)

    I don’t watch news. I almost never log onto Facebook; despite joining to keep in touch with a couple of local groups, I just don’t like the overload of ALL THE VOICES with none of the eye contact. I don’t even like navigating there. I quit Twitter and, oh! Life is better for it! I occasionally check my email during the day–maybe 2-3 times?–and skip all audible alerts, leaving the phone set to vibrate only when I get a call or text message. There’s already enough for me to process in the environment around me; I don’t need to have constant artificial threads distracting me from now.

    (As for fun, funny, smart reflection on the human propensity to confuse meaningless noise with meaningful signal, I highly recommend Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He’s up there with Postman for me.)

    I listen to a couple of podcasts (Richard Wolff’s Economic Update and Daniel Danvir’s The Dig). These give me a human voice to current happenings while keeping me up-to-date on what might more accurately, IMO, be called “news.” Outside the outraged non-news, the noise that keeps people distracted from the less enthralling but more materially impacting changes that will alter their lives, there’s so much understanding to be found from books, from conversations, and quiet contemplation.

    I cherish these things, and take delight whenever I find those in the same or like boats. ♥

  3. Pingback: seeking wisdom | The Monster in Your Closet

  4. I had to stop after I had my son, too. And “unfollow” even our local news stations on Facebook. After they were bought out by a national news company it all became too much. Every horrible thing that every person had ever done all around the country, in my face. There is good out there too, I know it, and I see it daily. The important things, I still hear about, of course. But the everyday tragedies that inundated my feed are gone now, and I’m a lot happier for it!

    My husband who has always been extremely political and news oriented had to quit as well, after he began to work at the local homeless and wellness shelter. He hears the worst stories about the hardest lives all day, and he works to change those lives and their situations as much as he possibly can. The rest is just noise.

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