|photo by Ben Reynal|
I know it's important to be an informed citizen. I know I should be well-versed about the economy, current political hot topics, and what the heck is going on in the Middle East.
I should know the names of the leaders of major European countries and our current U.S. Senate majority and minority leaders.
Unfortunately, I'm terrible at keeping up with current events.
Every few months, I'll resolve that today is the day I will start becoming a more enlightened citizen of the world, so I tune into the news and end up getting splashed in the face with headlines like this:
- 3-year-old found frozen to death in shirt, diaper
- Hear the chilling 'Slenderman' interrogation tapes
- Extreme road rage caught on camera
And inexplicably, this:
- Kim Jong Un debuts new hairdo
(Yes, these were all real headlines on the CNN.com homepage when I checked in on Friday night.)
Okay, so I was curious about the hairdo.
But really, how is any of this supposed to better me as a person?
I can't hold every individual case of murder, assault, abuse, and just plain creepiness in my head. There are 7 billion people in the world.
I start out intending to stay up to date, but the "news" just feeds me a steady diet of shock-and-outrage pieces about mothers who drowned their kids in a bathtub or police who discovered the remains of babies in a mentally ill woman's closet. And I don't want to know.
After a couple of days, the relentlessness of it gets to me (even if I don't click on the articles, just seeing the headlines is enough,) and I give up on the whole "becoming literate in current events" thing.
I know those things happen, but what good does knowing all about every one of them do me?
Right now, I can guarantee you that I don't want to see the shocking footage, listen to the chilling 911 tapes, or read all the gory details. If something horrible happened involving a baby, an old person, or an animal, please keep it to yourself.
Tell me about foreign policy. Tell me about politics. Just don't overwhelm me with sensational stories that just end up making me feel sick. That kind of "news" is the reason I don't read the news.