What do we need to know?
Newspapers, news radio, CNN, NPR. It is all around us. News you need to know. Crisis here. Disaster there. The latest on the Pitt kids, Tiger’s golf game and marriage, Obama’s latest oration. They tell us we need to know what is going on. It is important to be informed. I am not so sure anymore.
I played the game
I have played that game. My first year at graduate school, new to the cultural mecca of the East Coast, I would devour all five pounds of the Sunday New York Times, marveling at its richness and depth and sure that soon I would become as sophisticated and elite as I clearly deserved to be. It didn’t take. You can take the boy out of the Midwest but you can’t take the Midwest out of the boy.
I got hooked
I did pick up the news habit, however. If I was going to be a sophisticate, it was important for me to know what was going on. I have continued to read newspapers throughout my life. From time to time, I have been addicted to NPR and 24 hour news radio stations. An evening was not complete without Huntley and Brinkley telling me what was important. When they retired, others replaced them. I was hooked on my news fix. Somebody had to tell me what I needed to know; what I needed to worry about.
But then I noticed
Well, as I get older, I begin to notice something. Nobody was ever very clear about why I needed to know all this. With all the urgency about keeping me informed, the President never called to ask my advice. After giving me all that information, nobody ever cared what I thought or needed me to step in and do something about it. All that careful preparation to make sure that I would have the appropriate response to any crisis and then I was just left hanging. I was full of information but with no place to use it.
Now I get it.
Well, lately I have started to question some of these basic assumptions about life that I always thought were important – like news. I started to think about what I need to know and why I need to know it. I reached an important conclusion – I don’t don’t need to know anything that is printed in the daily rags, broadcast on the radio or shown on TV. Everything will continue to be just as wonderful or just as fucked up whether I know about it or not. There is nothing that I can do to change or ever affect what is happening and no reason for me to think about it at all. So I stopped.
No More News
No more new radio. The oil spill will do whatever it does whether I worry about it or not. No more CNN. I can’t do anything to find those lost girls so why get involved? No more newspaper. California is going over the cliff. Let it go. There is nothing I can do about it. I quit with the news.
I have better things to do. How about you?
From now on, I have better things to do than follow the news. I know that if they need my help with anything, they know where to find me. How about you? Are you still craving your daily news fix?