Monday, May 9, 2011

No News is Good News

I'm still not sure what that's supposed to mean. Does it mean that not getting any news means nothing bad has happened? Or does it mean that all news is bad? Are those basically the same thing, and I'm all confused about it for nothing? Is this statement even true, for cryin' out loud?

The first time I read Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau, I got to his rant about news and felt a little—miffed? He basically says news is worthless unless it directly involves you. At the time, I was in my first year of college, idealistic, and very much into news and politics.

Lately, I'm not really into either. Why? Jaded cynicism, I suppose. What passes for news largely consists of the following:

Congress isn't doing anything. Each party blames the other and/or the White House. (Insert clips of politicians spouting meaningless rhetoric.) In other news, (insert latest disaster or coup I can't do anything about), (update on celebrities I don't care about), and (sports I don't care about).

I find myself agreeing with ol' Thoreau. News is worthless. Unless I'm going to be voting in a local election, sandbagging the local creek, or going to a multiple author appearance at a local middle school (which should have been in the news before it happened, dang it!), nothing in the news really applies to my life.

The idealist in me feels bad about this. He thinks I should be actively trying to promote change. To borrow a line, I'd join the movement if there was one I could believe in. Maybe I'll run for school board, someday.

Until then, it doesn't matter who I vote for in presidential elections. (I'm in Utah.) It doesn't matter who I vote for for U. S. senate or house. (Same thing.) Our state legislators all deserve the boot, so I never vote for an incumbent. I don't live in a city, and county positions are usually unopposed.

Activists annoy me, and I'm not going to become one.

I'm not likely to travel long distance to help disaster victims, and I already donate money to a charity I trust to make good use of it.

I do like reading about new books coming out. I get that from blogs. In fact, I get all my news from blogs, Twitter, and Facebook these days, and that suits me just fine. Most of the news is about people I know and care for. When they need my help, I can give it directly, sometimes over a great distance.

And so, the mass media in my life have been replaced by social media. You know what? I'm happier that way. (I mean, you see how grouchy I get at the mention of politics.) I'm in touch with the real world of people's lives, not that fabricated reality of mass media where nothing ever changes.

But if anything ever does change, someone let me know in 140 characters or less.

1 comment:

  1. Hear hear! Occasionally I read updates on MacWorld or some such related tech newsplace, and I still pay attention to Motor Trend and Top Gear's website for all my car news, but other than that... Facebook.

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