You got it Sbhikes! We are constantly being told that The World is a very scary place, never mind the fact that when I venture out into it, it all feels fairly benign and even downright friendly.
I say embrace the provincial peasant within!
I like this concept up to a point. Personally, I want to stay informed about politics to some degree because I want to vote and have my say in the outcome of things. I also do care when people are dying unnecessarily and want to do what I can to help, if I can. This doesn't mean "share this picture on Facebook if you have a soul!!!!" I mean volunteering, donating, whatever. My efforts may still remain local, but I think they can have a broader effect.
I think consuming less media is a good idea, generally. I'm in Amsterdam now and I was following the Boston marathon explosion and the MIT shooting/Watertown news via Twitter literally from nearly the moment they started. I woke up, checked Facebook, saw that a friend had linked to a Twitter post with a smoky photo of the finish line tagged "wtf the just happened." It was a weird experience for me. A weird week, really, having gone to school in Waltham, MA and being originally from San Antonio, TX (and having been through West many a time).
I would never avoid national and international news entirely though... Unless I knew I were always going to stay in the same place, or if I actually wanted to.
If anything, local news is generally far worse in my opinion.
But some people are talking about just getting news from word-of-mouth, OK. Raw Twitter data may actually be something you'd like then. But for uninterpreted news it'd have to be real-time, i.e. you'd have to be glued to your screen.
Now that I'm rambling, I was at a lecture today by Daniel Everett of Bentley University, who studied the Piraha of the Amazon. (There is a debate about whether natural language is recursive ... Piraha is the only known language with no recursion). Piraha also has, for instance, only the present tense, and one can only speak about things of which one has direct experience, or knows someone with direct experience. Everett hypothesizes that this is mostly because of their in-the-moment culture. The documentary about his work on their language is thus called "The Grammar of Happiness."
I used to feel that way about politics, but then reality (and cynicism) set in. Two groups are lying to you and manipulating you into hating "the other side" in order to keep their jobs. They constantly drag up "controversial" topics and pretend that they matter to keep you angry, afraid, and distracted. I have no real desire to hate half of the population. "If I don't vote, THEY will win and life will be over." Most people tend to lean one way or the other, but the reality is that both sides are equally selfish and corrupt, just in different ways. The good news is that they are also mostly irrelevant and don't really DO much, despite all their stupid arguments. Spending hours listening to this week's meaningless argument about nothing is not going to improve my life at all, more like the exact opposite. I don't care what Rush Limbaugh said this time, I'm going to go eat some lamb and climb a mountain.
Originally Posted by namelesswonder
I understand the desire to stay informed, it is what we are all told we should do in order to be a "good citizen", I'm just not really sure that it is all that necessary.
Especially in this last presidential election, I saw more of what you are talking about than ever before (probably because I was looking/paying more attention). Personally, I hope to extend my influence by focusing more on local and state issues. It seems like this country is too large to manage, sometimes, but I am still very invested in this concept of being a "good citizen".
Originally Posted by Markbt
sjmc, twitter and police scanners that were hosted online is how I kept informed of the marathon bombings (I work in Waltham, live nearby). I am also more interested in how people respond, not as much in the actual content. If I can't directly change the horrible things that happen, I can at least promote better ways of discussing it and sharing that information. "Raw data" is a little overwhelming to me as a news source, but it's definitely interesting to see how people react. It's like a more unfiltered version of what ends up on the mainstream news.
I kind of compromise between irrelevant/stressful info overload and the ostrich approach. I just get the BBC headlines on my home page. That way I can scroll down the list and only click on the interesting ones and/or the ones that haven't already been hammered into the ground.
I try not to get news at all anymore. It's never good.
I rarely watch news locally or nationally. The main reason because I want to believe that most people are good, the news makes me sad that they always report the evil of mankind. They put the "good" stories on as an after thought. It generally involved a child or animal to bring out the warm and fuzzy feelings.
Hubby and I call this the low information diet. Don't watch the news or read a newspaper. You can get the headlines from the front page of the paper when you are in the grocery store. Or, just hit the Google News button and look at the highlights. That way, you stay informed, can read something that actually interests you and you don't have to suffer through the "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality of the local or national news.
Originally Posted by phigment
I have a much more positive view of humankind when I don't listen/watch the news.
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