Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, July 21, 2016

I take a certain amount of pride

in gleaning news from all sorts of sources, whether barely more than headlines or in-depth exposé, and from different viewpoints, too, as that's really important. I like to know what's going on in the world, and sometimes I share it here, and sometimes I don't.

But as I read and listen lately, I feel a great sadness (and quite a bit of fear, too) washing over me. I used to believe that the world was pretty much as it used to be, only now there is a more immediate media presence these days so we know more of the horrors going on. It's not that there weren't dictators, child molesters, axe murderers, or any of that like years ago, it's that we get word about it 24/7 with things like live feeds on Facebook or Snapchat videos. And that is true to some extent. But the Nazi persecution of the Jews, for example, probably would have still happened even with social media and 24-hour news, because let's face it, there are plenty of haters and trolls online. Maybe exposure would have shocked the world into doing something, but in my experience, the world just goes on like it always does, and people die. Horrible things have happened throughout history; technology just makes it easier to chronicle (and sometimes, aids in the commission of heinous acts as well). If only we could put it to a better purpose, to prevent tragedies. And yes, some folks are trying. But it's the negative things in life, the shocking, the horrible, that gets attention, and I'm as guilty about that as anyone. Lately, though, it seems like the news each day is more horrible than the last. Oh, here and there you may find feel-good stories to satisfy a need to believe in the good of humanity, but most of it is negative. And while I do believe that the vast majority of humans are good people, I don't have faith in my fellow humans' ability to think critically or do something for the sake of right, as opposed to because there is something in it for them. People say they want truth--but they go out of their way to tell supposed 'white' lies to keep the wheels of society spinning, and sometimes they actually convince themselves that something is the opposite of how it is (or follow a leader who does, as if they were sheep). I listen to otherwise decent people who are making decisions that will affect it all as if they were voting for the most popular contestant on one of those reality shows. It makes me so sad to think that there are people who fear the authorities, either for good reasons (they might be shot) or ludicrous ones (t'he government's going to take all our guns away and make us vaccinate our children'). Even the lines between the sound and ridiculous reasons are blurring. I find myself reading the news with a desperation to find something good in the world each day. I'm not as optimistic as I once was. And talking to others only makes me feel worse. I don't have all the answers. I know that. But many people I know either regurgitate what they've seen on TV or decide they'll vote for candidate X without looking at platforms or real qualifications. It all comes down to 'I don't like Y, so I guess I have to vote for X'. I feel like our democracy is failing. It was never perfect, of course, but now?

Anyway, I could comment on half a dozen news stories tonight, ones that worried me, or outraged me, or left me incredulous, but instead I thought I'd just write about my feelings about what's going on in the world in general. Now, can I take a flashlight, get into my blanket fort, and colour like a kid? Because if being adult means being in a big scary world of hatred and vitriol, I'm not sure what the benefit of being all grown up is. Good night.

PS Brief synopsis of my day: busy at work, paid lots of bills (but not all, unfortunately), went to the allergist and discovered they have sublingual immunotherapy (yes, it's a thing), got my shots, went on the biggest grocery run I've gone on in months, had dinner with a friend, eating what we made yesterday--tabbouleh, eggplant paté, and salmon chowder. It was great. Then I helped wash up and came on home, checking the news and Facebook and just really not feeling great about the world right now. Perhaps tomorrow will be brighter, or at least I'll tell myself that. Things were simpler when I was in Lisa Land with the unicorns and dragonets.

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