In the past, most of my news came from listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” on the way to and from work, plus watching “The Daily Show” on weeknights. This was backed up by reading various wackos on Twitter as well as a fairly heavy addiction to that fine Saturday radio comedy-news program, “Wait, Wait: Don’t Tell Me.” A pretty steady diet of news I’d think you’d agree.* I was dialed-in, Baby!
However, since moving out to San Francisco a few months ago, my news biorhythms have been all messed up. I take a bus to and from the office each day. And the bus doesn’t have a car radio constantly tuned to the local Public Radio station. (If it did have a radio it would probably be set on some Asian language station, given that Asian dudes outnumber the gringos on that bus on any given day.)
Further, my bedroom in the shared apartment I inhabit has a fairly small and crappy TV with limited station choices, so now much of my video viewing is done on an iPad through Amazon Prime and Netflix and stuff. I can still get “The Daily Show” on the TV, but as I’ve been obsessively grinding through British series like “Primeval” and “Sherlock”, I often forget that “The Daily Show” is on. So I’ve been effectively news-free for weeks.
You know, I haven’t missed it all that much. Everything’s so awful. The climate’s going to hell; Congress remains grossly incompetent; Texas is trying to return women to servitude; we’re STILL in goddamned Afghanistan; we’re STILL spying on our own citizens; and the Zimmerman trial happened.
That awful Zimmerman trial.
It’s much nicer in “Primeval,” where the only threat is that humanity could be overrun and eaten by huge killer dinosaurs at any moment. What a great place.
The problem is, you can’t live in there forever. Eventually you run out of episodes, and the dinosaurs go away. Sooner or later the real world intrudes on your comfortable little cocoon of blissful dino-slime-filled ignorance, and you’re forced to deal with real things again.
Recently, I’ve reluctantly begun to plug myself back into the system. I’ve started tuning my cell phone into the local public radio station during my bus rides. And if I miss “The Daily Show,” I watch it the next day online. It’s a bit harder, but I’m Becoming Informed again.
Do I need to do this? It’s not like my knowing how terrible things are getting actually makes much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. I write Facebook and Twitter entries and I keep this blog, when I can remember it. But other than that, what good does it do anybody for me to follow the unending nonsense and stupidity that seems to be life in America today?
I seriously don’t know if it does.
But here’s how I see it. There are a lot of people worse off than I am. They’re more affected by the racial disparity in the country; they suffer more directly when Congress gets stupid or Texas goes mad or we decide to be the world’s policemen. They’re the ones getting shot by gun-toting idiots in Florida. Not me.
If nothing else, I guess I think I owe it to these folks to at least know about their problems. Maybe it’ll ease my karmic burden in the next life. I have a feeling it’s gonna be a doozy.
So vacation’s over. I’m back in the world. But I’d still rather be with the dinosaurs. They’re a lot easier to deal with than the monsters we got here.
*Or liberal propaganda, as some calls it.