Entry 4: Reading the news.
Now is the summer of our discontent. As many news anchors and John McCain have said, the world right now is terrible: Gaza, Ukraine, Nigeria, Ebola, Syria, Iraq. It's so bad, finding and linking all those stories would take too much time. You know them already. I don't need to remind you of your depressing news feed. And the United States, Oh, God, the United States. We're not going through a hair's breath from being nuked; we're not going through a losing war that killed over 50,000 people; we're not going through a Civil War and two World Wars; but, we are going through the apparent stop of the functioning United States government in the modern era. Nothing the government does seems to be working, going anywhere, even trying anything. We're in stasis. Instead of finding all those stories, here's The Guardian's front page as of a moment ago.
What do you notice about the US? Well, even though we've condemned the latest Israeli strike against a UN school designed to be a safe haven, we're still providing munitions to Israel, our Siamese Twin. Below, hey, the economy is doing a little better, but it's qualified. Below that is the lingering immigration problem no one in Washington can fix, so its up to the undocumented to do something, anything, by going on a hunger strike. Going down, we're really going down metaphorically, as a a country betraying its ideals—hey, the State department and Colin Powell were not aware of CIA's torture. Israel and the CIA: America will never go against you. Then there's the ubiquitous college rape problem, something about a corporate lobby pushing for new conservative policies , shooting survivors testifying before Congress, and 53% percent of Americans in a poll saying the country has no "moral obligation" to offer asylum to those fleeing persecution and violence in their home countries. Truth be told, I didn't even read the last three stories.
And that's what I'm saying: In this terrible summer, and in the heat, why frustrate and depress yourself by reading the terrible news? After years of irately pointing out Americans get the government they deserve, I finally understand why they do: people want to be informed, but if the news is an endless cycle of violence, corruption, and government failure, no wonder people don't pay attention to politics. No wonder voter turnout is low. Yes, it's a negative feedback loop, where bad politicians cause bad news leading to voter apathy leading back to bad politicians. It seems hopeless.
So this is a temporary call to stop reading the news. It's summer, it's hot, go out and do something fun and cool (in both senses). As Dylan says, "Summer days/Summer nights are gone." In this crucible of the macro being shitty, there's no reason for you, the micro, the individual, to partake in the shittiness. Step away from the RSS (do you guys still have this?) and the Twitter feed detailing all the grim news that's fit to print.
Do something enjoyable with the last days of summer. Play with your dog; go to a Shakespeare festival; go to the beach (actually, maybe not); go on a romantic date with your spouse; ask that guy and girl out—anything that will be fun and pleasurable and won't remind you of precarious mortality and the failure of systems.
And then, just in time for the no-doubt depressing Midterm elections, you can come back from your delightful interlude to read the cavalcade of woe that is the news again. Trust me, it's not going to go anywhere. Or change into something positive.
So a big Fuck You to reading the news (for now).