Course Correcting From My Slip Back Into Being A News Junkie.
This is a post I originally wrote in 2015. As I read through it, I was a bit taken aback at just how much stuff I was pissed off about then, is eerily similar to the stuff I’m pissed off about now. Of course, the world is much crazier now than it was then…but still.
Last night, I wrote a little rant on Facebook. This rant was the direct result of having slipped back into watching the network & cable news, particularly the uber-violent CNN news for a couple of weeks after 6 months of abstinence.
I started again, in much the way a reformed smoker will sometimes light up a cigarette just to see if the addiction is still real.
People shouldn’t do this but they do. Not because they are stupid or weak, but because they are curious and sometimes looking for validation that their decision to quit whatever they were addicted to was a good one, and is working.
My Friday Night Rant
(Remember I live in Canada, but grew up in a border town and spent a lot of my youth in the Buffalo New York area, so much so that I identify strongly with Americans and even, I am told, have a bit of a ‘Buffalo accent’)
I'm really getting tired of political ads. I'm tired of all the political crap that fills up my mailbox and inbox.
I'm tired of ads telling me that Justin Trudeau just isn't ready. I'm tired of watching Tory ads that try and position Stephen Harper (now Andrew Scheer) as someone who gives a shit about this country.
I'm tired of all the pundits. I'm tired of Donald Trump and his hypocrisy and Hilary Clinton and her smugness. I'm tired of Jeb Bush and his whole family. And I'm tired of how CNN analyzes everything to death.
I'm tired of fundamentalist and jihadist groups who are nothing but clusterfucks of the criminally insane. I'm tired of Vladimir Putin and all his macho posturing and his anachronistic dreams of re-constituting the Russian empire.
I'm tired of genocide in Africa and nobody doing anything about it.
I'm tired of American economic imperialism which is nothing more that arms industry capitalism.
I'm tired of bible thumpers who have no respect for the gay and lesbian community.
I'm tired of the Republican party, who for the past eight years have worn their hatred of a black president on their sleeves at the expense of their own country's well being.
I'm tired of worrying about climate change while governments debate whether it's real or not.
There are, on the other hand, only a few things that not tired of. Bernie Sanders. The new Blue Jays. My family. And the work I am doing.
Sorry, I guess you can tell I started watching the news again. I'll stop. I promise. I'm done. I'll be OK tomorrow.
End Of Rant … Beginning of Editorial
Day One with no bullshit news. I have sports news. I have weather news. I have all the news about stuff that you guys are doing. And if I really want some information about an issue, I’ll go to the BBC or somewhere else that's fairly objective.
The point is, I know, like everybody knows, how fucked up the world is.
I've been around for quite a while and in retrospect, it seems like the world has always been pretty fucked up.
Is it more fucked up than it was when I was a kid? Probably not.
But our perception of how fucked up things were was totally different back then because we had no 24 hour news cycle beating this stuff into our heads, examining the hell out of it, plastering our TV screens with images that show just how fucked up it is in certain places, which to the casual viewer, or brain dead idiot, can seem like maybe it's fucked up everywhere.
But here I am, sitting at my dining room table tapping away, eating my bran muffin and drinking my iced coffee, like I do pretty much every Saturday morning, in a (nearly) complete state of un-fucked-upness.
There are no bombs going off, helicopters flying overhead, trucks full of armed soldiers rolling down my street or sinister looking dudes knocking on my door.
Oh sure, all this stuff I'm writing here is probably being fed into some NSA computer somewhere and being analyzed for buzzwords that could put me on some sort of watch list.
They can watch all they want. All I'm guilty of these days is overuse of the word fuck. And maybe not even that.
Anyway, my little rant last night made me realize how easy it can be to slide back into the news addiction and slowly but surely start becoming depressed about the world.
The world is still, for the most part, a pretty beautiful place.
What's not so beautiful, downright ugly in fact, are a lot of the people in power who have somehow got it in their heads that having everybody living in a state of conflict and fear is better for business than living in harmony with one another.
This of course is totally untrue.
Big thinkers everywhere tell us repeatedly that if the world would just get its act together, there would be enough work, and food and shelter for everyone to have a good and peaceful life. We have the means. We have the ideas. We have the ingenuity. We have the technology.
What we don’t have is the political will to make this happen.
This obsession with conflict as a profitable business model is at the root of all the stuff that makes the world such a fucked up place.
All you have to do to see that it’s a total fabrication is look at the quarterly profit statements from the major arms and military systems companies. Then look at the US debt that finances that insane profitability. $20 trillion dollars and counting.
In what universe does this make any sense at all?
The news has simply become a key PR to for these corporations, and the news companies and networks who provide all this excellent PR are doing so gladly because they are as greedy as their benefactors.
The net result is a constant stream of news stories and analysis designed to hit people right where they live, at home, on their TV screens, slowly and steadily injecting fear into the collective psyche.
Cutting off the head of this particular snake, sadly, is not possible, because ’The 80/20 Rule Of Just About Everything’ points out that 80% of these people will never catch on. Even if you go to their house and slap them around a bit.
All that is possible is for each person to come to the conclusion that being free from media and corporate manipulation is preferable to living in fear.
I’m doing my bit, by abstaining from hard core news.
And I’ll tell you, over the past six months, except for this little lapse, I have been quite aware of what’s going on in the world.
But it hasn’t depressed me at all, because the way I am getting this information is intelligent, thoughtful and most importantly objective.
Kinda the way news used to be before the devil came back to earth and called himself Wolf Blitzer.
Jim Murray is an experienced advertising and marketing professional and former professional photographer. He has run his own business (Onwords & Upwords), since 1989 after a 20 year career in Toronto as a senior creative person in major Canadian & international advertising agencies. He is specialized in creating communications for businesses working to make a positive difference in the world.
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