November 23, 2019 § 6 Comments
About two years ago I stopped reading the news.
Before that I was a news junkie, I mean a trash junkie. I would have to read the news first thing when I got up and then check it during the day.
One day I read an old article in the Guardian that explained how awful news is and how bad it is for you to read it. The takeaway was that not reading the news will make you happier.
I read this in the early days of the current presidency, which in and of itself was an unending source of unhappiness. Sure enough, when I stopped paying attention, I felt better.
Since I had never consumed teevee news, I became instantly insulated from the news effect, which is what I call the highs and crying jags that come from being emotionally manipulated. I found out that whatever happened to the stock market was going to happen. That the globe would continue to heat. That bad actors would continue their badness, and no matter how much I read about it or didn’t read about it, all those things would continue.
Most importantly, simply listening to people talk was enough to get the basics of what was “going on.” And what was “going on” is what’s always “going on.”
I started focusing on real events in my life and on people I actually know and hang out with, both of them. For me, news became “What had I and my family/friends done?” rather than “What high crimes and misdemeanors did the president commit today?”
This extended most importantly to cycling news. I used to actually pay attention to the results of a UCI 3.1 race in Belgium. I wanted to know who the next stage winner of Tour of Qinghai Lake was going to be. Vanderpoel’s latest cyclocross win? Had to know.
But that was all news, so I stopped reading it.
Actually, what I stopped read were advertisements. Online content now is designed so that you can’t get more than two or three paragraphs, sometimes lines, without having to read or consciously skip over an ad. It’s the ultimate brain cage. I compare it to the books I read, where you go page after page after page, hundreds of them, AND NEVER SEE AN AD.
See? Old technology isn’t all bad.
Despite all this, like a wino and his bottle, the background hum of impeachment has gotten so loud that I decided to read an article yesterday, if article is what you call modern Internet newsvertising. This was in the New York Times.
All I can say is that my generation and the ones preceding have left everything in tatters. There is no law, no order, no logic, no decency on the national stage. It’s not the president’s fault. He’s simply the most extreme exponent of a national creed that doesn’t want to study, think, discuss, compromise, and love strangers.
But the good news? I promised good news, so here it is: If you quit driving in order to become a full-time bike commuter in LA, you don’t have to give up your uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, even if you no longer own a car.
Details to come!