Years ago I stopped paying attention to the news. As a kid I gave up the nightly news. All the way back then it struck me as a terrible use of time. An irrelevant indulgence into the misery of the world, other than those who enjoy misery and drama, I never understood why anyone would watch.
Then a few years ago I gave up all the business websites and other news. Some of it was interesting, but most of it a redundant waste of time, a collection of pithy opinions and counter-opinions and sound-bites. Some people think it informed to know all this junk; people who are truly informed don’t waste time on other peoples ideas, instead they are creators of ideas.
These days I’ve become far more militant about avoiding all mainstream news. Not just because it’s miserable. Or because it’s a waste of time. But because I am extremely focused on the information I consume. Like the way I eat, I only want to consume information that is good for me. And that means avoiding most of the junk that fills the airwaves.
So, reading Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein, this idea deeply resonated with me –
“Remind me,” Jubal said to her, “to write a popular article on the compulsive reading of news. The theme will be that most neuroses and some psychoses can be traced to the unnecessary and unhealthy habit of daily wallowing in the troubles and sins of five billion strangers. The title is ‘Gossip Unlimited’ – no, make that ‘Gossip Gone Wild.’ “