Tuesday, August 23, 2011

all the news that isn't, and why i'm okay with that

as i write this, i'm once again firmly ensconced in the relative comfort of the cabin on the spring river. i have put away clothes, food, let the intrepid boxer maggie romp around and pee, read the red sox recap and box score, and looked over some articles my father sent me from his daily perusing of the news.

and here is the sticking point; i do not like the news. let me elaborate on this before my father (who has hopefully by now read all of my prior posts) becomes offended.  i like the articles my father sends me, the last two sent were about the hawks last sighting in washington square park before the hawk cam goes dormant for winter and the other was about recent fossils found in western australia that are perhaps the oldest fossils ever found, at over 3.4 billion years old. my father knows to not send me articles on the dailly butchering of peoples or politics, neither local or global.

my father grew up in a time that the news was only found in a few places, the radio or the newspaper, and later, television.  some of the most important things to happen in the last century were only heard on the radio, read about the next day in the paper, or if you were lucky and/or rich (of which my father was neither for a long time), seen on the nightly news.  consequently, my father takes great pleasure in reading the paper each morning, reading the obituaries to make sure he isn't in there (sorry for the old joke, but it still makes me laugh) and going over the daily events of life in town and in the world we all live in.  he feels a connection with the outside world and for 77 years, he has sought to understand the trials and tribulations of man, and has borne witness to the highs and lows of society in general. and i have no doubt, he is a better man for it.

he and my mother are lovers of information, and they have passed this along to their three sons.  i will admit to being a npr junkie and indeed, one of my early memories of childhood is staring at the headline of one of the old little rock papers of nixon resigning that was posted on the door of richard key's brother's room.  i am a person, a human living on this planet; and i have not been immune to the horrible attacks of september 11, the more recent norway killings, or the recent abduction and murder of a toddler near the mare's hometown.  they have affected me and being ignorant of history means we are doomed to repeat it, though i'm not sure we really have managed to keep from repeating our transgressions on people, animals, the earth, etc.

but at some point, i began to grow weary of news, of politics, of death, murder, rape, crime, the latest hollywood idiot drunken brawl.  this is not really meant to be a diatribe against the way dissemination of the news has changed over the years, it certainly has changed and their are probably pros and cons to the changes, but frankly i don't give a fuck.  i'm fed up with it and it depresses me to no end. those who know me (and probably that is all of you, since why the hell else would you be reading this?) i have my own bouts with depression and have decided that i don't need to add to it by reading the gory details of murder and mayhem or the, perhaps less tragic but also unsettling, aspects of politics as usual.

in short, i've tuned out.  i have not sat (willingly) through the "evening news" for over two decades now and have no desire to do so.  i'm certainly sorry that life is snuffed out in libya or tibet or salem, mo for no other reason than some fucked up mind thought it right to do so.  but i've tuned out.  i won't even listen to the beginning of npr's all things considered because it is a rundown of the latest news i "must know".  there are those of you -- and rightly so -- will criticize me of being the worst kind of person, an apathetic ass who refuses to join the rest of us in the zeitgeist of the human experience.  you will say that if i don't vote, i have no right to complain or worse yet an uninformed person can not influence our world for good.  to turn a blind eye to the horror's of the world is to ignore what must not be ignored. if i am not informed -- you scream -- how will i combat the horrible atrocities (redunancy) of the world at large?

and you are mostly right.  if i were to completely turn away from humanity, i would be no better than the germans who refused to acknowledge the holocaust because it wasn't happening to them, therefore it wasn't happening.  and maybe you are right, i don't know.  but when i was living in maine, there was a movement starting to catch on, the kind of think globally, act locally mindset that most people (including me) roll their eyes at.  (my apologies to mrs. smith, my 5th grade english teacher for ending so many sentences with prepositions. we'll save the discussion on language and grammar for another post.)

but here's my theory... if we are to take care of our own, the people we love, the humans and animals we love, the land which we tend to, and we try to not hurt those them, then aren't we doing what we can to make the world as a whole a better place? do i stop my neighbor next door from pouring motor oil in his backyard even though it doesn't come onto my property? i suppose i should say something, but shouldn't the people he loves and cares about do that?  again, i don't know and i'm not saying i am correct.  but all i'm saying is that i'm not sure seeing geraldo or diane sawyer pointing a camera at my neighbor is going to change the way i feel about things, cause me to take up arms against man's inhumanity to man.  there are holes in my logic, i know... i am sitting here remonstrating myself as i type -- i know i would not let anyone harm anyone in my presence, loved one or not, but please stick with me as i try to piece this all together.

i feel as if i'm coming off as an asshole in this post, and maybe i am.  but i've been called worse and that will likely continue.  but i've lived my life searching for work that keeps me from listening to water cooler gossip and kept me from hearing the latest tidbit about who's sleeping with whom and what fucktard has shot up a building.

i'm not old, but i have reached middle age and am peering over the the other side and i can't say i feel worse about my life by tuning out from most of the world's troubles.  i love my family and friends and animals and would gladly rip your heart out if you tried to hurt any of them.

and i'm saying, for me at least, that's all i can do.

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