Friday, August 21, 2009

Could "no news" be good news?

Since earliest childhood, I've prided myself on keeping up with current events. My mom always had a transistor radio on the kitchen table, and our stations were WHLI in Hempstead and WINS Newsradio. In grades one through four, everyone had to bring in a daily clipping from the paper. We all got Weekly Reader or Young Citizen. Not knowing or caring about what was happening on the local, state, national or international levels was unacceptable to me.

Still is.

Now that I have this 40-minute commute each way to and from work, I have the luxury of listening to NPR out of two stations in my town and the next big city to us. When one starts to fade behind the mountains, I punch a button and can still get "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered."

And of course, a huge chunk of my online activity consists of following CNN, the New York Times, Yahoo! News and two local papers, as well as the Huffington Post, and anything else that will look like "news" in the event of an audit by the I.T. spies at work.

Facebook, LiveJournal and Blogger also help to keep me in the loop when I'm at home.

So, from wakey-wakey to nighty-night, I know the latest in my town, your town, and Osama bin Laden's town.

All of this has served to convince me lately that we're all doomed!!!

Hormones, the economy and the recent abrupt change in my work situation have undoubtedly combined to put me in this exceedingly negative mood, but probably the constant bombardment of information on town-hall loonies, White House wimps, electoral madness in Honduras, Iran and Afghanistan, and even the breakdown of the official kilogram in the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (don't ask...) has done much to add to it.

So this evening, coming back from the grocery store amid more health-care blahblah, it occurred to me that a one-week moratorium on the news might be a healthy (albeit radical -- to me) remedy.

This begs two questions:

  1. Will it help?
  2. Can I do it?

I guess the first question will answer itself in a week, contingent upon a Yes answer to the second, but managing to resist the lure of news is something I've NEVER tried before. I remember on 9/11/01, my car radio didn't work, my TV was dead, internet was unreliable, and ever since, I carry the sense of having missed something. I really hate that feeling. That's why it was so frustrating to deal with The Scorpion Queen, who believed that surfing the web at work, for even one millisecond, was a mortal sin. How do you explain a neurosis without sounding, well, neurotic?

I'll check back in a week.


Anonymous said...

Nice to know another news junkie. My dad took his radio even to the washroom, but he died when I was six.

My parents didn't believe in toys and we didn't have a TV so I inherited the radio obsession.

I know how you feel about missing something if you go off news cold turkey. Every time I do it I miss something really important.

I'm curious to know what you decide and how it goes.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

On ocassion, when travelling, I will lose daily touch with the news and I feel completely discombobulated by it. I agree that it is our responsibility to stay informed. But a vacation now and then can't hurt.