I have been trialling something entirely new this week. No, I haven’t given up being an idiot, that’s still there. Being smelly? No, no that’s not it either. I am instead testing the absence of something altogether (Ed – Body Odour? Am I not helping?) My day usually involves waking up, lying idle for a few mins trying to get my brain to focus on the day ahead, and then leaning over to the phone to check the news – and bang, an hour goes by and I haven’t moved. So for the last 6 days, now a week, I’ve resolved not to check the news. Hardly revolutionary, but it’s a small step.
Read All About It!
No Guardian, no BBC, no Washington Post, no NY Times, no Al-Jazeera, no The Age . . . although the latter should be flattered to be mentioned in the same company, it’s my fault for occasionally blustering onto it for local Aussie news really. I used to check these websites several times a day generally – when making tea, walking to work, waking up, going to bed, cleaning teeth – really whenever there is some titillating fancy that garners a moments interest. Trump is 95% of it seemingly, with headlines screaming “Impeachment!!!” always worth a look despite the inevitable disappointment. Sport reports and latest football rumours get an airing, and some obvious click-bait misleading headlines such as “Why I don’t believe in marriage equality” and “The Day I cut my own head off was the best day of the year” i.e. bile so quintessentially dull that I can’t bring myself to digest more than the opening paragraph.
But one week has passed and no news has happened in my household. I have instead spent my hour every morning on topping up my Spanish vocabulary (check out Duo Lingo if you’re keen, it’s excellent) and then reading a book I’m trudging through i.e. time well spent learning things of value, which is essentially the argument – what is the value of news? I mean, there is so much of it, there is news everywhere about everything in the world. There is news being reported all the time, in a thousand languages across the globe and constantly being spruiked to the masses vying for your attention through news desks, newspapers, billboards, advertisements, magazines, radio, podcasts, websites, apps, games, film and music. It's not so much breaking news, it's already broken.
The News of The World
Not just a catchy Queen song. My friends, if I had any, would tell me it’s important to keep up with current affairs, to keep abreast of impact worthy announcements that will affect your everyday life . . .and yet, most of it doesn’t, and people thrust their news on me any chance they get, so why bother checking? It’s like emails – if someone is going to phone you about an email anyway, and in this day and age doesn’t seriously expect you to read the many, many emails you actually get, what’s the point of reading the email? Most of the news, about 99% of it, has no effect on you whatsoever, other than having a talking point to discuss whilst having a cup of tea at the office. Perhaps if it’s really startling you may drop your biscuit in the tea, which is of course quite the news and worth discussing, but other than that your day carries on as normal. If the world is going to end, I imagine there’s not much I can do about it anyway.
This is a trial of course (the non-reading news bit, not the world ending bit), but I have long held the belief that news doesn’t really give you anything, and you’re better off looking for things that you’re genuinely curious about such as how to remove surface rust from vehicles - lemon and a hard scrub, apparently – or how to make the perfect cup of tea, something of unquantifiable value, or even learning the best way to edit out friends you no longer talk to in an otherwise impeccable photo. I don’t know why you’d want to do that of course, perhaps they talked of the news too much.