August 2, 2011 § 3 Comments

The tiresome and arguably useless debate over the debt ceiling, which seems to have ended in a most-predictable and discouraging way, has bolstered my belief that the vast majority of what we call “news” is, in fact, a charade. This is not to say there is not important stuff happening on a daily basis in this nation and others. But so much of what dominates the national headlines and our collective attention feels to me like little more than an embellished, fictionalized account of real life.

Part of this, I think, is unique to my situation: I do not watch television. The only newspapers I read with any frequency are the ones from my town and the neighboring town. Lately, I’ve all but stopped listening to NPR (with the occasional exception). My online habits have shifted too, which is to say, I spend very little time surfing the internets for news of the day.

And there’s this: The vast majority of my waking hours play out against the landscape of our farm. The things that really matter to me, the “news” that fits my reality, pertains to the critters under our care, the gardens and their overwhelming bounty of nourishment, the blueberry plants currently bowing under the weight of thousands of little purple orbs. Increasingly, the world beyond my land and community feels like someone else’s world and therefore, any energy expended attempting to understand or debate its workings feels like energy that could be better applied here, in my home, on my farm, in my neighborhood.

I’m not saying whether this is a good or bad thing. It could be reasonably argued that because my actions impact the world beyond Cabot, VT, (I am, after all, a consumer in the global marketplace and an exploiter of finite resources), comes a certain responsibility to maintain a more global awareness. Think globally, and all that. And there’s no doubt that my income remains dependent on the broader economy, no matter how much I might wish it to not be so. So in a sense, issues like the debt ceiling, with all its attendant posturing, pontificating, and pandering, has a direct impact on my life.

Still, I believe one can hold an awareness of the impact their choices have, while turning a blind eye and ear to the events over which they have little-to-no control. Because the truth is, the consideration of the former is hardly encouraged by most mainstream media outlets, while ceaseless coverage of the latter, with its soap operaesque story lines, is its bread and butter.

The older I get, the more I am aware that my attention and energy are finite things. And the more certain I am of where I should apply them.

§ 3 Responses to Newsworthless

  • Suzanne says:

    I do agree to an extent. I do need to know what is going on in the world – generally but do I need to know about most of the news on tv? No. And I very often say “thats enough I dont need to hear this” . It is definitely a good idea to filter the nonsense that is reported.

  • Victoria says:

    I have similar thoughts – I just have been unable to express them so eloquently. Thank you for sharing.

  • Vonnie says:

    Ben, what you’re talking about here happened to me after 9/11–I couldn’t bear all the fear and anger and distrust. So, I decided to go on a news fast, which was only supposed to last a very short while, long enough for me to get my head out of the fear and into the game again. But, honestly, it never stopped after that. I pick and choose what I read, I watch no televised news at all because I feel it’s muchly propaganda meant to keep us fearful and subserviant to that fear. I can still hold my own in the conversations surrounding me about these matters if I choose, but notice that often my point of view is not regurgitated from the nightly news, but one I’ve thought about and put into place myself. Thinking man, not what the government is after, I fear. Great post, thanks for that. ~Vonnie

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