Sunday, February 22, 2015

Why I Can't Keep Up with Current Events

Why I Can't Keep Up with Current Events -- I'm not dumb, I'm just uninformed. And here's why.  {posted @ Unremarkable Files}
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.


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24 comments:

  1. Ahhhh! Are we brain twins here? I stopped with the news years ago and I haven't really looked back. Even without some.of the sensationalism, I can't take a poor repeat of a story over and over....or even the extended drama over something like politics. It all annoys, angers, fruatrates, saddens, or disturbs me.

    I'm a headline girl myself. I tend not to intentionally go to any news sites, though there are some alternative news avenues I might as attention to. wirhout reading through articles, i get a decent wnough understanding and awareness of what someone thinks i need to know or pay attention to. At this point, I pretty much rely solely on Hun for my news. He can and does go through news articles I just can't put all that stuff in my brain and still function well, personally. Whether that makes me a "bad" citizen or not, it's simply my choice and that's that. :)

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    1. I think I need to set a hard 5-minute limit on news sites so I just have time to browse the headlines and leave, but I never seem to learn.

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  2. I am so with you here! I find when I do actually read an article it really (like a recent-ish kiddnapping that happened a few hours away from me last year) I find myself getting fixated on it and having it take up way too much mental space when there really is nothing I can do about it anyway. For that reason I've just decided to not even try to keep up with the news.

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    1. I don't mind knowing generalities - for example, it's good to know that children get left in hot cars by accident too often, because then you can be extra-aware and maybe save a life one day. But reading every heart-rending detail of every child-left-in-the-car story is just too much for me. If I don't know the family personally, there's nothing I can do for them except pray from afar. And feel deeply disturbed.

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  3. I am with you. I started to read that same frozen toddler story and I couldn't do it. I have a toddler. I don't need the heartache. But I do feel sometimes though that being at least aware of these things helps me to hold my loved ones closer, and just continue to pray for those going through this craziness.

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    1. I didn't even click on the headline because I didn't want to lie awake all night thinking about how it would feel to lose your child, how that 3-year-old must have felt... dang it, now I'm getting all upset anyway!

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  4. I tuned out to the 'news' years ago, it's too depressing and half of it is media brainwashing anyway...

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  5. I don't keep up anymore either. It just all gets too heavy sometimes. And don't watch the late news, you will be scared to close your eyes at night!

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  6. I hear you! I have one website I check in with for news and I visit it twice week. I read the news stories in a snippet and pass over many without clicking. Too much sadness just makes me sick. My kids attend a pretty advanced school where they discuss world topics so I try to stay up to date so I can discuss it with them, but I try not to delve to very deep in things I can do nothing to change or just make me heartsick.

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  7. I always seem to read either to little or way to much. I recently found myself getting my news from Facebook. I have friends from all over the world and it's so interesting to read about what is going on in other countries before you actually here it on the news.
    #MondayMadness

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  8. I could have written this; I feel exactly the same. I sometimes worry that I am becoming out of touch, but I keep an eye on headlines and make sure I am aware of important political and world events. I cannot read all the horror that is out there, just can't have all that sadness in my head.

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  9. You know my feelings on this if you read my Caitlin Moran blog post! I'm with you. I just do not have the emotional capacity to take on the woes of the world and be shocked, disturbed and jaded by it all. I want to be happy and focus on local news that has a direct impact on us. X

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  10. I am so with you on this! I used to keep up on the news, before motherhood stole all my time! Now, even when I can find the time, I can't stomach all the sad stories that greet me whenever I attempt to catch up on the news sites. All it does is make me sad or angry and I just can't deal with it.

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    1. I never made the connection, but you're right. There's something about becoming a mom that made my tolerance for awful stories go way down in a hurry.

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  11. Oh, this is so me. I stopped reading the news a long time ago. Even then, a lot of horrific news makes it to my social media feeds, and then it tortures my mind forever, because I can never forget them.

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  12. It's a tricky one, like you I want to hold my own in the current affairs that really matter, but it's such hard work weeding out all the rubbish that I normally end up giving up before I'm any wiser. Not to mention all the sob stories. Since I had children I just can't stomach them. Keeping up with the news is emotionally exhausting. So much easier to stick with kids telly instead. #thetruthabout

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  13. I'm with you on this. As much as I want to be cultured and up to date on current affairs, the headlines make me cringe. I can't even watch or hear the news because of all the negativity and devastation it reports. You're right: it's tough to see through all the sensational stories and into the things that matter: like foreign policies or local politics. Let's hope there's a better alternative to being informed

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  14. I'm with you, and I worked in PR, so being up on the news was sort of my thing! But I just get so angry/sad/frightened when I read the news these days. Plus, I find myself a little jaded, like I can't trust what the media says a lot of the time because there's so much sensationalism out there. Clickbait headlines and over-the-top stories that make things out to be much more than they are.

    On the other hand, however, there are so many stories of things going on in the world that aren't getting nearly as much attention as they should. Important things. Things that I should be angry/sad/frightened about because no one else is. I find it hard to balance.

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    1. I think my favorite clickbait headline (never heard that phrase before, but it's perfect) was something like "Woman Hikes Everest in Heels" when really it was just a fashion blogger that hiked to the top in boots, put on her heels at the top, took a picture, and came back down.

      I'm sure the news is a hard field to work in because you go in for the love of sharing what's going on, but there are probably a lot of politics going on behind the scenes that dilute/change the message.

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  15. i'm on a mission to find the good in the news, or at least a helpful lesson in it? admittedly, hairdo-redos, and taylor swift make it easier . . . other news makes it harder.

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  16. The best thing about having a business page on Facebook is the stats pushes the inane headlines down the page so I don't have to see them. And I have hidden (and even unfriended) people that only share that type of stuff on all forms of social media.

    Saw this on Wonderful Wednesdays

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    1. I stopped reading the newspaper and watching the news a very long time ago. So many unnecessary stories and the rest are just for lack of a better word... depressing. Between friends, family, Facebook and Twitter I am updated on most topics anyways. If I really want to know about something I will google it but other than that I am with you.

      Got to your blog from SITSGirls website.

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  17. Even worse is the "real news" often contains the same sensationalism and dramatic flare as the stories you mention. I quit watching news early in my "career" as an Army Wife, when a certain POTUS flat out lied to the world in the State of the Union address saying the troops would be home by a certain date - when I had orders in my hand that proved otherwise, and my under a year old who was just getting to know his daddy on the other arm. I have listened to him speak less than five times since that day, each time, he has taken credit for someone else's work or blamed others for his failures in leadership (I'm sure it's a tough job, but it's also the job with the most responsibility/accountability and he's taken none when he should and all when he shouldn't). Well, this turned into a rant instead of a comment... I should quit while I'm ahead.

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    1. That's okay, rants welcome. It's the news's fault.

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