I’m more than two weeks into the experiment now, and starting to settle in and adapt to my new status in life. Though there was no manual that came with my new occupation, I think I have at least figured out my new job title now: Assistant Vice President in Charge of Uninformed News Consumption.
I still get up every morning and read the NYTs, or at least I get around to reading it before the end of the day, but it really doesn’t matter. Gone completely is the context of all the news that I used to have as an active consumer of information on the Internet and blogs. Now, it is just a very detailed story here, another very detailed story there, and a fluff piece in the middle, to cleanse the palate. It might as well be random for all I care, because none of it is as meaningful to me as it was a couple of weeks ago.
Enough whining though. I am probably more sick of my own whining than I am of reading only the NYTs everyday. There is an upside to my blog abstinence, I think. A silver lining, perhaps.
Not reading the blogs and Internet news for several hours a day has opened up gobs of time. Too much time really. Especially since I am at a bit of lull in my own work. I would normally have relished having these empty hours. I would have been reading everything, maybe writing a damningly witty satirical diary or two. But now I am stuck with myself. And just in the last few days, it has been oddly empowering. At least in theory.
My thoughts have turned from a desire to be as completely informed on every subject in the world, to a desire to try to take some modest and achievable action that is within my own reach. I’m toying with two ideas, and I am sure more will follow. One is the creation of a local social forum, like a chapter of the World Social Forum, as an attempt to bring people together to discuss positive change, in an effort to make a better world. (I am kind of apathetic about political change in the Republican/Democratic electoral context that now exists.) A second idea is to try to organize a group of socially conscious students at a local university to become like a portable unionizing force, i.e., a group of kids who deliberately target local franchises, one at a time, to infiltrate the workforce, and then unionize the shop. McDonalds, Wal-Mart. That kind of thing. I am sure I will have more action ideas. It is the luxury of time.
Of course, this all may be an illusion. I don’t plan on taking any action beyond the planning stages until I get done with the promotion of the novel in the fall. But, I do feel oddly empowered at this moment.
Which leads me to this paradox. Is it better to spend the majority of one’s time to try to understand the problem, or is it better to spend the majority of one’s time attacking the problems you perceive, even though your efforts might be uninformed? My entire life has been spent on the former. Maybe it is time for a little balance for me. And, the cessation of blogging has freed vast amounts of time to spend on something socially responsible. Maybe when I come back to blogdom I will be more balanced. Only read once a day, using the time I now spend perusing the laboriously boring NYTs.
Well, enough. A couple of quick notes from the ranks of the relatively uninformed – that is those of us who get our news only from the NYTs. The War News was on page A11 today, if memory serves. There was a note directing you to page 11 from the front page, though. What more could you ask? Six marines dead in normal infantry combat. And the article notes that this is so rare, because in infantry combat, our marines are usually so much better than those silly old insurgents. Shocking defeat, really. One thing that is driving me absolutely insane is American hubris (read Nationalism). Our soldiers are so much better. Rah, rah! Duh. Let’s change equipment and see how we would fare. We’ve got better guns and armor. But, they are still willing to die for a cause, and they have killed over 1,800 or us and wounded, what, over 15,000??? All so we can have some permanent bases in Iraq. Good luck with that. I have a feeling that when all is said and done, the dead and wounded will be counted among those who died in vain at the hands of our wonderful military-industrial complex.
More examples of hubris. You only have to look toward the middle of the paper. Bush says Intelligent Design deserves an equal voice with Evolution. The hubris: Creationists cannot stand to admit that they share a heritage with other primates. They so desperately want to believe humans are special, they are willing to forego all scientific evidence to the contrary.
The only logical conclusion from out here, in the great consumer frenzied masses is this: American Marines and Creationists are No. 1.