A cloud of reminiscence fills the room, and my imagination swims back into a past that has not yet been forgotten …
It was a cloudy day, and I was perched in front of my grandparent’s television; from memory, I was watching cartoons. My grandpa then realised that it had passed 6pm: Time for the news.
The next images were of a reasonably attractive woman with a brown bob, telling us about a helicopter that had been drowned by a giant gold fish’s claw. The fish, much like Godzilla was in the habit of doing, grabbed the helicopter with its giant fin, which was, apparently, able to clutch at heavy flying objects, and smashed it into the cold exterior that was the surface of the ocean.
I then asked my grandpa, “papou, why do we have to watch the news, it’s so boring?” He turned to me, sipped from his cup of Greek coffee, and said, “because, it’s the news.”
This confused me. That doesn’t answer my question.
“But why do we need to watch the news?” He was irritated, because, I think, he knew that I was bright academically, and so he figured I should just know why the news is important.
“Because we have to know what is happening in the world.”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because … because. Well, what if something happened to your parents? You would find out by watching the news.”
At this point, I realised that he didn’t really have an answer for me; he was a very smart man, and I could sense that he’d say anything to shut me up to allow him the pleasure of indulging in this brunette’s perky boobs. And for good reason, news anchors, from my non-research, are usually ex-models. Touche, papou, touche.
As I grew with age, in accordance with the laws of time, I never changed my view. At no stage did I decide that watching the news would be a good idea, and at no stage could anyone convince me to the contrary.
I’m now 24 years old. I have finished a law degree. And I even took a few politics subjects during the process.
I still have no fucking idea why people watch ‘the news.’
And this is why …
If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea – Henry David Thoreau
What is news, really? It’s a bunch of stories, clipped and hedged from all over the world, fed to us through some form of medium, encouraging us to sit passively and absorb all of its usually malevolent contents.
Oh, but I hear you say, If you aren’t informed with what is happening around the globe, you’re ignorant to life’s issues.
And to that I say, hobblegosh!
What good is it to know about all the atrocities transpiring around the globe? How will I, or anyone else benefit, from knowing what terrible, terrible things – as sold through a news lens – humans, Mother Nature, and giant goldfish’s are capable of committing? If I’m not going to get off my ass and do something about it, what good is it to simply know something for the sake of knowing it?
Especially when you’re already acquainted with the basic precept of the story in some way or another? What good can come from “knowing” that this “bad” stuff still happens?
Yes, yes I am well aware that “bad” things happen. I’m aware that they’re happening everywhere as we speak. Why must I subject myself to this knowledge, skewed knowledge, I might add, on a daily basis, at 6pm, while I drool over leftovers?
And you wanna know what else? What, Rob? Well, this is why I don’t watch television or pay attention to the media, generally.
It’s a roller coaster of a ride that I want no part of …
What does the food industry tell us? You want to eat our superficial, extremely processed food with absolutely no nutritional benefit. Why? Because it will bring you joy. But then, on the other end of the scale, what is the media telling us right now about the food industry and the results of it? There are obesity epidemics becoming widespread all over the world. For the love of hash browns, stop eating bad food (as though food is inherently bad)! How do we solve this? Here’s a fat blasting pill that will do nothing other than increase your heart rate, possibly suppress your appetite and may even cause you a heart attack. Have your cake, and eat it at the same time. Just make sure you eat a lemon afterwards. Detox is key, after all. And drink. Drink. Let the drink be the key salvation to your weekday blues. And let us convince you that drinking Bacardi is the cool thing to do. Oh, and yeah, drugs are bad, Mmmkay!
By keeping informed about the news, by passively being yelled at by various media figures, and by convincing ourselves that these things are “important” we paralyse ourselves into states of stagnation, where our days consist of pointing the finger at the “bad” guy, shouting slurs at inanimate objects, and riding around on our high horses because people are so shit. I never beat up a 70 year old in a dark alley, I’m a saint. People are dying in Palestine because of racial conflict? Oh, well, at least now I know!
And this, my friends, is why I wear odd socks.
What? Why? That doesn’t make sense!
Well, simply put, ‘cause shit’s weird. The news is weird. Humans are weird. I’m out.
Humans-are-curious-creatures. And unfortunately, cats, and the news, often kill our curiosity.