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Hey Buddy, Can You Spare Some Good News? (Part 1)

April 6, 2009

The news has gotten so bad lately that I can barely stand to hear it any more. Yet I am strangely compelled to keep listening, sometimes even against my will, just to stay attuned to what is (supposedly) going on in the world. I must keep up with the things I am supposed to know.

Here is a random sampling of some of the headlines from the past week or so that were on the CNN and Fox news internet sites:

  • 1 killed, 25 hurt when bus rolls on interstate
  • Bomb kills 23 in Pakistan, dozens injured
  • Pittsburgh police officer gunned down
  • Man fatally stabs sister, Decapitates 5-year old on her birthday

I know, right? Some of the headlines are so gruesome that I feel physically accosted when I read them. I lock my doors at night, wondering what kind of world we live in. What has our nation come to? And yeah, this is in addition to the nightmarish swirl of the media frenzy covering ongoing crises like the global financial meltdown, Al Qaida’s terror binge against Western Civilization, and the insidious hint that we are all going to lose our houses and our jobs in the Very Near Future.

Once the news outlets have filled their time slots with economic calamity, horrific crimes, freak accidents and natural disasters, the little free space that is left over is devoted to alarming its readers with ominous warnings: our food is poisoned; the icecaps are melting; caffeine will kill you (no, wait! It’s good for you!). We are experiencing death by one thousand sound bites.

So it’s no wonder that we are all convinced that our world is falling apart at the seams. I saw a commentator on TV the other night saying “I have a good job, and a relatively stable lifestyle, but after I read the newspaper I just about want to kill myself.” It’s all bad news, all the time.

Don’t’ get me wrong – these reported events are indeed tragic for the few that are touched by them, and we certainly should pay attention to national issues that impact our country, our economy, and our relation to the world. I applaud those who generate activism to create positive change in society. But it seems that, in the fight for viewership, somehow the news media has found a way to capitalize on its own brand of terrorism – targeting our sense of well-being and stability by exposing us to the worst that life has to offer. They scour the lands of our country, sifting through the goings-on of all 300 million people to find the most horrific unthinkable crimes being committed, then package it up and present to its loyal audience. All to generate traffic, to drive eyeballs to their franchises. And we are horrified, terrified, held hostage by a constant sense of dread and anxiety.

What bothers me is how we are suckered into believing that what we see on TV or the internet as “news” is an intelligent reference point for defining reality. Well, here’s a news flash for you: IT”S NOT.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. April 6, 2009 6:44 pm

    wouldn’t it be cool if you could have a personal nes editor for the main stream news?

    and…a personal news searcher, that could search out some interesting news for you that is not from the main stream?

    he, she or they could just load it onto a dvd for you.

  2. April 6, 2009 7:05 pm

    I have trained myself not to look at the Yahoo headlines when I sign in… it does feel like assault… knowing all the bad things all the time.

    That’s one nice thing about reading good blogs. We hear of creativity, see beauty in art, touch moments of grace and gratitude. Amidst the dark noise, this refreshes.

  3. April 6, 2009 9:29 pm

    i agree with l.l., good blogs do refresh.

    hey, i have some good news in…sorry, i cant put in on dvd for you.
    we finally got sun here…three days in a row!
    the little black bugs are going crazy hatching out and the orchard mason bees are working very hard…buzzzzin big time. got one till in on the cover crop on the garden, i love my tillerman this time of year. my husband is in new zealand messing around with grapes. my eldest daughter is two months away from graduating four years of college. i am working on some art for the next set of pinot noir labels. our outdoor cat, kat, is shedding, big time. i am meeting a girlfriend for lunch tomorrow at the local coffee place, with my homeschooler too. i have noticed that the president wears red ties a lot.

    i will have to go and visit with my neighbor to get some more news for ya.

    but, you will owe me a penny for the news serching service.

  4. April 7, 2009 6:38 am

    Sadly, I fall into the ‘ignorance is bliss’ category. We canceled our tv services and stream only hulu through our PS3. We choose to watch what we want when and no bombardment of tragedy. I say ‘sadly’ because I know it’s denial but I try to view it more as ‘filtering’. I’m afraid of becoming hardened. On the flip side, if there is a murderer loose in my little town or I shouldn’t eat the local tomatoes, I’m a goner.

  5. shrinkingthecamel permalink*
    April 7, 2009 8:29 am

    Crystal – I’m sure you’ll somehow be fine. That’s what neighbors are for. And speaking of neighbors, hey neighbors LL and Nancy!

    Nance- Thanks for catching me up on all the good news in your world! I loved reading it.

    My good news is that I am in NYC for a couple of days at a strategy conference – where I am finding stimulating conversations, and enjoying the big Apple. I love the city. The highlight for me will be taking a cab to City Bakery on 18th and Fifth tomorrow morning for their exceptional chocolate.

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