Newspaper Headlines, Radio Sound Bytes
and a Holy Discontent
Hmmm, should I tune in more to the news of the day or should I work even harder at tuning out?
Confession time: I donâ€™t subscribe to a daily newspaper and havenâ€™t for many years. I rarely buy a newspaper and when I do I find myself inclined to bypass the first few pages where the main news stories of the day jump out at me.
I donâ€™t watch the 6:00 or 11:00 evening news on television. Nor do I pay much attention to the news headlines that tantalize me on Sympatico when I log out after cleaning up my days e-mail messages.
I do stay peripherally in touch with whatâ€™s making headlines via news bytes on the radio on my drive to work in the morning and on the way home in the late afternoon. But Iâ€™m seldom inclined to go looking for more details.
In short, I consciously tune out the steady stream of shocking, disconcerting and tantalizing headlines. It is a coping mechanism Iâ€™ve developed for keeping my sanity. From time to time I feel a bit guilty about tuning out the news. My conscience takes me to task for it.
Perhaps I should want to know more about Luka Rocco Magnotta and the grisly crime of which he is accused. Or the fact that he was previously sought by animal rights groups for allegedly posting videos of himself torturing kittens.
When I google â€œLuka Rocco Magnottaâ€, I get 77 million hits and discover that there is already a Wikipedia article about him. Am I the only one not starved for details about him?
I heard about the shootings at the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. I felt bad for the victims and said a prayer for them. But should I want to know more about the apparent gang connections? There has been a non-stop string of follow-up stories in the media which seems to imply that I should. But I havenâ€™t read a single one of them.
What about the economic crisis in Europe that just wonâ€™t go away? It has been two years and still there seems to be no end in sight. Now Spain has joined Greece, Ireland and Portugal asking for a bailout â€“ to the tune of $125 billion.
A nagging voice in the back of my brain insists that I should want to better understand the complex economic principles behind this ongoing crisis. But truthfully, I donâ€™t. I seriously doubt if even the major players in the game really have a grasp on the nature of the beast. Does that make me a hopeless sceptic?
I am aware that student protests have been going on in Montreal since February over tuition hikes of 75% over five years. I sympathize with them and salute their persistence. But the radio sound bytes are keeping me as much in the know as I care to be.
The media, it seems, is trying to fire up in me a holy discontent about each of these stories. They want me to tune in and hold my breath as I read the latest details. But if I allow them to do so, I am quite sure I wouldnâ€™t be able to sleep at night.
I confess that I do apply the ostrich metaphor. I bury my head in the sand when they ramp up the headlines. I tune out when they turn up the volume.
Itâ€™s not that I never feel a holy discontent. Itâ€™s just that I have to pick my spots. Otherwise, I might be the next headline when my sanity unravels â€“ and then youâ€™ll be reading about me for months on end.
~ Michael Robert Dyet is the author of â€œUntil the Deep Water Stills â€“ An Internet-enhanced Novelâ€ â€“ double winner in the Reader Views Literary Awards 2009. Visit Michaelâ€™s website at www.mdyetmetaphor.comor the novel online companion at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog.
~ Follow Michaelâ€™s Metaphors of Life Journal aka Things That Make Me Go Hmmm regularly at this site. Categories: Shifting Winds, Sudden Light, Deep Dive, Songs of Nature, Random Acts of Metaphor. Originating at www.mdyetmetaphor.com/blog2.
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