My wife drew this to my attention, from a couple of days back: “All the news I intend to quit.”
It’s by another former editor who is having trouble letting go of the notion that it is his duty to keep up with the news:
I only make New Year’s resolutions when I sense something is amiss in my life: too much drinking, weight gain, not enough exercise. This year is no different, but the resolution is, to me, shocking. For 2022, I resolve to consume less news.
Having spent more than 40 years reporting, writing and editing the news, I am surprised to conclude that overconsumption of news, at least in the forms I’ve been gorging on it since 2016, is neither good for my emotional well-being nor essential to the health of the republic…
And he cites some of the same kinds of idiotic coverage that I do when explaining why he must abandon his life’s mission in order to stay sane:
Whether I know within minutes every detail of the cloakroom maneuvers aimed at reviving Build Back Better is not going to affect its fate. I don’t need to hear everything Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) said today. Also, spare me the gibberish uttered by former president Donald Trump on his tin-can-and-string-memo-to-journalist-to-Twitter telegraph. If the news is big enough, it will find me….
Absolutely, brother. Good luck with your retreat. I continue to try to stagger forward along the same lines. Call me irresponsible. I’m just trying to keep my head from exploding…
Less news, more Didion.
And more le Carre, and Boorstin and Hilary Mantel. More Bishop Barron. More history, more culture, more ideas.
And less inserting our skulls into the daily narrow vise, to have the ability to think squeezed out of them…
Too many of us are doing daily mental gymnastics trying to maintain sanity in just following the news. I can’t imagine how challenging it must be to report it. Good luck!
Good for him or her, and good for you. My bride commented just a few days ago about how she had noticed I was not consuming as much news as I used to. I began to cut back about midway through the Trump presidency. I’ll do a quick scroll through my newsfeed, but unless I find something truly compelling, headlines are enough. I’m finding time for other hobbies–running my trains, building with Legos, upgrading my stamp collection. And I’m having much more fun.
Good for you for doing all that, and thanks for saying “Good for him or her” instead of “Good for them,” thereby confusing me and making me wonder to which group of people you were referring…
By the way, it’s a him… 🙂
And yet there is a danger to what was once called “internal immigration,” in other words, to turning inward and avoiding the political because one doesn’t feel able to do anything about it.
As Proverbs reminds us:
“If you do nothing in a difficult time,
your strength is limited.”
Edmund Burke put it more clearly:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
Basically, you’re saying, at least in part, what Bishop Barron was saying, about people being too preoccupied with the “ego-drama.”
And we must always guard against that…
No, not at all. What the bishop is talking about is self-centeredness, placing the focus on the “I” in life. What I was pointing to instead was the retreat by people of goodwill into the private, shunning the political because it’s too distasteful or somehow overwhelming, abandoning the political field to the pathological, the social Darwinists and the willfully ignorant, none of whom have the public good in mind. What’s more, this retreat includes the withdrawal behind a veil of superficial “civility.”
These are difficult, dramatic times not because people are treating each other disrespectfully. That’s the illusion of those who believe in some non-existent golden age of decency and decorum. Our times are dramatic because of the dysfunction that has gripped the right wing of the American political spectrum. To put the matter in blunt (to some, unsavory) political terms, here’s how former Republican Stuart Stevens described the stakes during a discussion this week on PBS’s NewsHour:
“The solution to this is pretty straightforward. You have to beat these Republicans. You have to have more days like January 5 last year, where you elect Democrats in Georgia, because the Democratic Party, which I spent 30 years pointing out flaws in, is the party that represents democracy in America now.
And we have to just accept that and put these other differences aside.”
Yes, I understood you. You were decrying the problem of people retreating into the sense of “idiocy” that RFK spoke of in relation to the original Greek. Which reminds me of something I was thinking about writing this morning. Perhaps I will take a moment and do so.
Anyway, what RFK was on about is one of many ways of falling into the ego-drama to which the bishop referred.
Is the news really more depressing now than in 1918 or 1941 or 1968 or 1975 or 2001 or 2003 or 2008 or 2017 or 2020? Things are actually looking up. The unemployment rate is low, GDP is growing rapidly. COVID deaths are less than half what they were a year ago. There are no longer American troops in Afghanistan. Child poverty has declined 25% in a year. Gas prices have dropped 14 cents/gallon over the last month. Supply chain issues are mostly resolved. Sure we have plenty of challenges. But I don’t understand how erstwhile news addicts are all of a sudden so crestfallen with the news.
“Is the news really more depressing now than in 1918 or 1941 or 1968 or 1975 or 2001 or 2003 or 2008 or 2017 or 2020?”
You need to divide that up.
If you ask, “Is the news really more depressing now than in 1918 or 1941 or 1968 or 1975 or 2001 or 2003 or 2008,” the answer is yes, definitely. (Especially if you’re talking 1918, the year that the War to End All Wars ended. And things were looking up at the end of 1941 as well, from a global perspective. The global horror that started in 1939 reached a point in which two very positive developments occurred: the United States and its manufacturing capacity were brought fully into the war, ensuring that the Allies would win, and that was made far easier by the fact that things were reaching a tipping point on the Eastern Front, and the Germans would be on the defensive and collapsing from about that time on.)
But if you say “2017 or 2020,” then no. The problems that make news so unbearable now were fully in place by then…
I’m too addicted to the daily cycle. It’s like the country is burning down all around.
Yes, I know it’s terrible for my health. I can barely sleep now – average less than 4 hours of sleep for months and months now.
I’m rarely in bed before 1am and I can’t sleep past 5am. My wife gets up at 5 anyway so it’s impossible to sleep any later.
I use to take some medication to help me sleep but it really doesn’t work anymore so I stopped.
Well, I’m sorry to hear that, Barry.
Since my stroke, I have the opposite problem. Can’t seem to stop sleeping. Has to do with the particular sort of stroke I had. I saw a neurologist about it just this week.
I keep meaning to write about it, if only to explain a huge reason why I don’t have as much time as I’d like to spend on the blog. I’m only fully conscious a certain number of hours, and I have family obligations and other things such as paying work filling that limited time up day after day…
Sorry about your sleep issue. As we age the problems inevitably mount. I’m using a CPAP machine to help with sleep apnea. I also just had a pacemaker inserted. Frankly I don’t really feel much different now than before. But my pulse is normal and my apnea issues are down sharply. The good news is that thanks to our socialized health we old folks receive along with a supplemental policy I have paid zero compared to $20,000+ for and uninsured person. I say Medicare for all is the way to go.
Democracy Dies in Sensory Overload
“If God is dead, then He is in heaven”
My father in law sleeps with a CPAP. Took him time to get use to it but he likes it now.
My dad has a pacemaker. No issues.
Yes, sleeping is a real problem for me now. Use to sleep so easily. Now it’s just a waste of effort. Saturday night it was nearly 1:30am before I fell asleep. Just laid in bed for a few hours with luck.
Too much on my mind. I am in my early 50s but I am starting to really believe I will not live that long because I do believe not getting enough sleep wears you body out,.
Yes, it does. I certainly hope you can figure this out.
I wish I could give you some of the sleep that comes so easily to me…
No such luck for me.
Last night, when it was in the low 20s, I actually went walking outside near my house about 1am. Couldn’t sleep so I figured the cold weather would be something different to experience than sitting around.
Then, I was wide awake and out of bed before 6am.
Meanwhile, I had a sort of alarming thing happen to me this afternoon.
My daily nap attack hit me about 3. I was expecting my daughter to come get me to help her with something at about 3:30 or 4. So I lay down to rest until I heard her call. My daughter came to get me, saw I was asleep, and left me alone.
I didn’t wake up until after 6.
This is not what happens. Normally, I sleep for an hour (or more or less), then wake up. I’m groggy at first, but I know I’ll get more alert minute by minute.
This did not happen. I sort of half-awoke several times, and figured I’d get up when I was fully alert, and then went back into deep sleep, repeatedly.
I’m worried because the doctor told me last week that most people with my kind of stroke don’t just have the hour-long “attacks” I normally have — they sleep pretty much all the time.
I do not need that to start happening…
That is interesting.
So how many hours of sleep do you get at night? when you wake up, do you feel rested or can you barely get up?
I sleep like a log for the most part, and then can barely get up.
There’s no easy answer. We’ll see what the sleep study finds…
Brad, you might need a sleep study. Sounds like your sleep is not good sleep. Sleep apnea is a common problem for folks our age. When I had mine it showed my breathing stopped 20+ times per hour. With the CPAP machine that has dropped to less than 1.
I’ve got one scheduled in a couple of weeks. We’ll see.
The obvious problem is that I had a bilateral stroke, hitting on both sides of my thalamus. (That sounds funny, doesn’t it? Reminds me Billy Crystal on that old SNL routine: “It hit me on both sides of my thalamus. I hate it when that happens…”)
You get hit on one side, you’re good. Get hit on both sides, the part of your brain that controls sleep is damaged. Period.
However, the neurologist/sleep specialist wants the sleep study to see if something else is contributing. THAT might be treatable…
Now she’s pinned up upon the barracks wall in her home town
All the soldiers taking turns with their attentions
And as they speculate what she’d look like beneath that thin nightgown
His family pride was rising up as he cast his eyes down:
NEW Quinnipiac poll: Biden’s approval rating: to 33%. 53% disapprove.
Foreign Policy: 35/54
The Associated Press
BREAKING: Prices paid by U.S. consumers jumped 7% in December from a year earlier, the highest inflation rate since 1982. It’s the latest evidence that rising costs for food, gas, rent and other necessities are heightening the pressures on U.S. households.
Democrats may as well kiss the midterms away now. Joe came out of his bunker yesterday to rant about election reform in Atlanta but Stacey Abrams skipped it because she knows he’s just playing politics now. The irony of “election reform” is that Democrats won the Presidency, the House, and tied the Senate when there were so many alleged barriers to voting. Now when they lose in 2022 because they have an empty old suit at the top, they’ll blame some random state legislature that requires someone to put in an ounce of effort to vote.
Boy, Sinema and Manchin must be really sweating that political pressure Biden’s bringing to bear against them, huh?
You sure seem to place a lot of importance on approval ratings now.
I didn’t sense that level of importance from you when Trump was in office.
CraZY WILd….. lol
Why would I care about Trump? There were enough people on this blog waiting on the end of the world every day for four years. Still waiting on that Mueller report.. and the perp walk for Trump that was going to happen right when he left office.. and his kids getting arrested.. and the coup… and Putin taking over…
I just presented the numbers. Pretty much validates my expectations going back two years. Too bad Democrats couldn’t get around the rigged DNC to get an actual useful candidate elected. You got what you wanted. A placeholder president with no leadership skills, no energy, and no ability to speak unscripted. Year one has been a disaster. No chance he runs again. Then they’ll have to inform Kamala she’s not getting the job either.
My post was in reply to Bryan.
I would have preferred other Democratic candidates but the ones I liked didn’t run.
Biden was clearly the only choice between he and Trump. I mean that didn’t require any consideration.
“I would have preferred other Democratic candidates.” Which ones, exactly?
Because I didn’t see a single qualified potential candidate on the national scene as good as Joe. So I’m always curious when I hear someone say that.
And while I jump to ask that of those who vote for Democrats, it’s an even more urgent question to ask of the Republicans and others who never shut up from their griping, bitching and moaning about Joe.
My question is, Who do you think would be doing a better job? Name the person. Offer your alternative. Be straight and transparent with us.
In the real world, you need to have a plan when you gripe about the current situation. So what is it? What would make you happier?
Bernie would have been better — more energetic, more committed to the actual progressive platform than Lip Service Joe. Joe is a consummate politician — but lacks any actual policy ideas.
I continue to LOVE Tulsi. She doesn’t play the partisan game — that’s why so many Democrats hate her — she hasn’t made a hypocritical statement in all the time I’ve followed her.
Andrew Yang would have been different at least. Energetic, a problem solver, upbeat instead of morose like Joe…no real ties to the party machine.
I thought Mayor Pete would be good but I’m backtracking on that based on his apparent desire to be a parent more than a leader. That’s fine for now but it would have been a mess had he tried to adopt during his term.
All I want is: smart, honest, energetic, and a leader. Joe’s smart days are long past; he’s already proven that he lied again and again on the campaign trail; his energy level imay be fine for a near 80 year old but it’s not what this country needs in 2022… and he has yet to demonstrate anything that looks like leadership. It’s been all scripted, tightly monitored, photo ops.
Inflation is a worldwide problem, regardless of the political party in charge.
” Inflation around the world has jumped as the pandemic disrupted supply chains, labor markets and the availability of goods. In Europe especially, soaring energy prices have contributed significantly to the record-high inflation rates.”
Maybe if the government didn’t just give away trillions of dollars that didn’t exist, things would be different. They gave thousands of dollars to people who were still working and then paid others not to bother. Pumping money into the economy will always result in inflation. The short term funny money has a long term painful cost. Biden’s going to be calling up Jimmy Carter to find out what it feels like to be tossed out due to inflation.
Nobody cares about the debt or deficit, per Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s chief of staff.
(He was saying it admitting that republicans didn’t care, it was just just all talk)
The only honest thing he ever said.
You know Trump isn’t President any more, right? Just because you miss him, won’t make him come back.
What do I care about politicians in either party who ignore the deficit? I have been pro-balanced budget for decades…
Btw, this hypocrite goodie is worth noting
GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn went after one of Biden’s Black judicial nominees for having “a rap sheet” of citations, which was actually just three speeding tickets from 10+ years ago.
One was for going 5 miles over the speed limit.
(Blackburn didn’t mention she was pulled over just last year for speeding, flashed her senate credentials, and was let go without a citation)
I have to admit, I’ve never been stopped for going ONLY 5mph over. Wow.
(This story reminded me of an incident last year where a particular GOP state rep almost ran me and my family off the road on I-26 traveling from Greenville to Columbia in his car with a state tag at very high rate of speed estimated at 90-100mph. I told my wife at the time if he had caused us to wreck, and i was able afterwards, there would have been a serious fight on the side of the road and she’d have to bail me out)