I’ve always been more than just a little bit of a news junkie, even long, LONG before the Internet and FaceBook and Twitter made a 24/7/365 fire hose of information available at our fingertips.
When I was a kid it was mostly about the space program (we were going to go to the moon!) and baseball.
The first time I remember getting truly immersed in the news in general was high school. Somewhere along the line we had a class or a program where we could get the New York Times delivered to school every day for some ridiculous price, like $1 per week, and it was part of what we were studying for some social studies class. As a result, I was reading it five days a week and also had a core group of friends and classmates who were also reading it. There was a lot going on in the early 1970’s – Vietnam, Watergate, the moon landings, Nixon in China…
Then I went to Annapolis and that training served me in good stead. As part of the program there to train midshipmen to be able to react and think under pressure there were daily requirements to have memorized by breakfast a whole slew of things from the morning newspaper. Lots of it was sports related (you had better know the score of the game for the favorite sports teams of your company’s upper classmen!) but you also had better be on top of the major news stories of the day.
Going through Plebe Summer will make you a news junkie at a subatomic level!
In the intervening years after Annapolis there was college and marriage and kids and all of that adult stuff to deal with so for a while the obsession with the daily news faded just a bit into the background. It never disappeared, but it migrated down the priority list to somewhere lower in life’s daily Top Ten.
Then came the Internet. And FaceBook. And Twitter.
Along with all of the current bullshit that is US and world politics, which simultaneously leave me wanting to never, EVER hear about it again while also keeping VERY close tabs on every detail I can because I want to know what existential danger is coming at us next.
There are those out there who ignore all of that. I’ve met people who barely know who the President is or what the fuss is about – and they don’t care.
Ignorance = bliss, or so I’ve been told.
Perhaps, and there are most certainly days when I’m a bit jealous of that worldview. But, to quote the punchline from an old Hudson & Landry comedy routine, “I couldn’t live like that!”
So when the alarm goes off at 07:00, the morning news comes on. Social media and emails get answered, and the headlines and a few key Twitter accounts get monitored periodically through the day. When I have an hour or so, it’s often dipping a toe into that firehose of information.
Is that healthy? Maybe – maybe not. But I can’t cut it off cold turkey and not look at all, any more than I could go driving while wearing a blindfold.
But if the news cycle could get just a bit less insane, if we could take the batshit crazy down a couple of notches, well, that would be great.
I’m thinking that about 90% of the population could get behind that request.