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2020-06-21

You don't need news

My hot 'n' spicy take on "news" today

News—the never ending feed of information pertaining to “current events”, politics, trivia, and other equally useless junk. News today is literally just this: “<big name person> did/said <dumb thing>!”, “<group> protests against <bad thing>!”, and so on. Okay, shit’s going on in this world. Another day, another thing to be $FEELING about.

Now here’s a question for you: do you remember what news you consumed yesterday? The day before? Last week? Heck no! Maybe some major headlines, but really, what did you gain from learning that information? Must’ve been interesting to read at that time. Hence, news, by virtue of its “newness”, is given importance—and get this, it isn’t even important enough for you to bother remembering it for a few days.

News is entertainment. Quick gratification that lasts a day, at max.

actionable news

So what is useful news, then? I think I’ll go out on a limb here, and say “anything that is actionable”. By that I mean anything that you can physically affect / information that you can actually put to use. Again, there are probably edge-cases and this isn’t a rule that fits all, but it’s a decent principle to follow.

As an example, to readers living outside of the US, news regarding police brutality & the Black Lives Matter movement are unactionable. I’m not saying those problems don’t exist or don’t matter, but what are you really doing to help the cause? Sending thoughts and prayers? Posting angrily on Instagram? Tweeting about it? Stop, and think for yourself if these things actually make any difference. Your time might be better invested in doing something else.

other problems

There are other, more concerning problems with modern news—it is no longer purely objective. The sad state of news / reporting today is it’s inherently biased. I mean political bias, of course. All news is either left-leaning or right-leaning, and narratives are developed to fit their political stance. This is essentially propaganda. Today’s news is propaganda. If anything, this should be reason enough to avoid it.

but I compare multiple sources!

Okay, so you read the same thing written by CNN, BBC, The New York Times, etc.? Do you realize how much time you wasted doing this? Ultimately to what end—to forget about it by the next day, and do it all over again. What a dull, braindead process.

won’t I be ignorant then?

If you think keeping up with current events makes you intellectually superior somehow…boy are you wrong. Do something that actually stimulates your gray matter. But, here’s the thing, if the “news” is big enough, you’re bound to come across it anyway! You might hear your friend discuss it, or see it on Twitter, so on and so forth. How you process it thereafter is what matters.

Give it a thought. Imagine if all that social media, news, and general internet noise didn’t clog your head. I think it’ll be much nicer. You might not, and that’s okay. Mail your thoughts or @ me on the fedi—I’d like to hear them.

Questions or comments? Send an email to ~icyphox/x@lists.sr.ht—my public inbox.


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