When I was a kid, every evening we sat down to watch Walter Cronkite deliver the news. For a child, this was pretty boring. But I was always fascinated by Mr. Cronkite. He seemed like such a kindly man. Even when the news was terrible he gave the impression of being a member of the family who had a reassurance in his demeanor that everything would be alright, behind the words he spoke. He had something that is desperately lacking these days. He had grace, and he was able to maintain it even in the worst of times.
Back in those days even though nearly every American watched the news religiously, it was still a personal choice. You could watch the evening news or read the paper...and that was it. Those were the only two ways to have the news delivered to you. If you chose to take the day off from knowing the evils of the world...you could enjoy a blissful day.
I stopped watching the news about 20 years ago. We lived in Connecticut and many of the stations we got were from New York City. They had a way of over sensationalizing everything. My cut off was one day when I watched an anchor woman tell a story about a horrific incident that had happened. She was smiling. I mean like beauty pagent smile type of smiling. I felt sick to my stomach. I know that reporters are supposed to detach themselves from what they are reporting...but really...smiling over a crime so horrific I that I won't even tell you what it was on my blog? I couldn't watch anymore. Knowing things too horrible to imagine on a daily basis, and knowing that you can't do anything to stop them just wreaks havoc on your psyche after a while...especially when they are told with a smile. As a bear maker I have to be a little bit on the happy side or the bears look depressed.
I have been avoiding the fact that I am sick all week. Sometimes I think if I ignore it, it will just go away and I will feel fine. Today I had to own up it. I had a sore throat and an earache that progressed pretty far. As a result of finally admitting to myself I am sick, I was in a differnt kind of avoidance mode. I have one last little Halloween piece I want to do, and I did get it cut out. But I didn't feel like sewing.
Part of my avoidance of work today was to read the news online. Like I said, I don't watch the news unless something specific happens that I really want to know more about. I never read the paper. Ever. R tells me what he thinks I need to know. It's not that I want to go through life with rose colored glasses on or that I don't care what's going on in the world. The problem is when you have the type of memory I do and remember huge amounts of what you see in print, you don't read the paper because it sticks with you forever. Again..happy bears...
In our computerized times it's hard to avoid the news though. It's on the splash page of our server every time we log in. It's almost impossible to turn it off too. It's on our smart phones. It's everywhere. Part of the fallout of all this constant bombardment of news is that sometimes the media seems to run out and things are reported that aren't really what I would consider news worthy.
While going through the 20 pages of news on my server, there was the usual stuff of course. But most of it was just blather...among other things, there was something about a child who has a rare medical condition that causes her to eat glass, something about a movie star who is suing Amazon for revealing her actual age, and some nonsense about a family with 19 kids who have banned TV and pets from their home...um ok. Then I came across another headline that read that the First Lady wore pink twice in one day. I didn't bother to read any of those articles because I don't consider that news. My reaction was so what? I wore two pair of grey sweats back to back...stop the presses! Ok so maybe I don't have the same mass appeal that the First Lady does, but still...who cares? Is this really news? It isn't even a human interest story in my book. So she wore pink twice in one day...maybe she was in the mood for pink, or maybe it was because it's National Breast Cancer month. I don't know...and I don't need to know.
Do we benefit from all this pointless information that is passed off as news? I don't think we do. I think it's just cerebral litter laying on the side of the information super highway. My new rule of thumb is this...if Walter Cronkite wouldn't have reported it...I am not going to bother to read it.