The travel blogging attempt had disastrous consequences–so now I will try being a hard hitting news commentary blog…5
September 26, 2011 by rebelwithalabelmaker
So my friend from Meadville (school) who is not named Mick is the total opposite of me in pretty much all of the ways, which is good because Gary can make sure I get on the flight on time on my way to Meadville, but who will make sure I get on the flight on the way back?
Mick chain-smokes news–he's one of those people who is addictive about knowing what is going on in the world. I am… less informed about world events, let's say. Really, really less informed. A couple of times as a teenager, I was involved in various things that got into the news and discovered that by the time they showed up in the newspaper they were completely distorted from reality. So I decided to ignore the news for life. If someone is going to be hopelessly distorting reality in reporting "facts", I feel it should be me.
Also, I feel that news is poisonous to my outlook on life. It presents such a distorted and negative overall picture, that it leads to pessimism. I am very loyal to hope, and believe that at times one must be disciplined to protect it. I tried reading the news for a few days last winter. Gary didn't like it–he would come and be greeted with: "Gary, that stuff going on in the middle east is completely unacceptable. What are we going to do? Someone has to talk to these people." He would try to explain that someone has tried, and I would say that someone has to try harder. And he would say that he missed the days when I would greet him at the door with "I have immune thrombolocytic perpura" instead of "Gary, someone killed a baby yesterday. A baby!!! ON PURPOSE!!!!"
Also, I worry that too much news immerses me too much in popular culture, and has to potential to make me less likely to think for myself. I want to make my own decisions and think outside of the box. That said, I think I've been pretty successful in this goal and can afford to take a few risks. I haven't even seen the box in a long time.
Of course, I'm not completely uninformed. Big things reach you, one way or the other. Sure, I didn't actually watch the twin towers come down on TV, but it did come up in conversation a few times since then. It took me a while to understand that "What does September 11th mean to you?" was not referring to my dad's birthday, but I got it with time. (In my defense, my dad is pretty great, so there was some impetus for fuss). And now, everyone reminds me when his birthday is coming up, which is very helpful. I heard about a special airing about people talking about the good things that happened as a result of the attacks–a kind of silver lining thing. I was going to tell my dad that he should write in and tell them about everyone remembering his birthday, but he was kind of distracted by my telling him that I had likely given him hepatitis. Eh.
Last winter sometime, my 20 year old left a message on my machine that went "Hey, I only have a minute but I wanted to let you know there's a revolution in Egypt. Bad dictator for years and years, people peacefully protesting and bringing about meaningful change–a really big deal. Just wanted to make sure that you know so that you don't embarrass yourself at parties or anything, love you, bye."
So I know what's going on in the broad strokes.
That said, it's come to my attention that when I am a minister, it will be a problem if blurt things like "Oh, that's right–I forgot there was that recession." I have known for a while that I would have to start thinking of the newspaper as more than a craft supply and hamster toilet. But I have been inspired by Mick from Meadville to seize the paper by the twine and get moving on this goal.
Mick is trying to go thirty days without reading the news, to see how it changes his perspective and outlook. I am going to try to go thirty days reading the news, to run the same experiment in reverse. He can get to try being me, and I can get to try being him, you see. Except I am keeping the hepatitis for myself, because I kind of like looking like I have a tan. Eh.
I'm curious to find out. How much of the information I get will I find valuable? Will I, as a more informed person, do a better job of making a difference in the world? Will I become pessimistic and jaded? Will Gary stop coming home in the evenings?
So, stay tuned, folks. You heard it here first. Random person decides to read the paper for a month. Oh, this is exciting stuff. Don't worry, next post I will go back to talking about the every popular Hepatitis. Eh.