Tilting at Windmills

Tilting at Windmills
Photo by Mathew Schwartz / Unsplash

I planned to write a blog post late yesterday evening, but somehow it didn’t happen. That seems to be the story of my life at the moment.

If nothing else, this week has succeeded in detaching me from the mass media. I’ve become increasingly aware that modern journalism isn’t so much about reporting a story – it’s about attracting attention to grift advertising revenue – and if that means repeating the same story everybody else is reporting in order to syphon off a few eyeballs, well so be it. Don’t even get me started with the legion of “nothing new to report” stories that regurgitate an entire story before adding one new sentence – teased in the byline – in the final paragraph.

It feels to me like “the news” has become some sort of strange placebo. I read a fascinating article on the VICE website a few days ago, that likened celebrity news to the stories of the greek gods – where we interpret their actions to make sense of our own – with everybody having a take on everything.

I guess at the heart of all of this is a dislike of being told what to think – who to believe – what to believe in, even. I have my own mind. I have eyeballs, ears, and a brain. I can watch, listen, and read. I can make my own mind up.

The thing that worries me most is that so many people seem to be so happy to be told what to think, like, do, trust, or believe. It’s not just the news – it’s everything that gets marketed at us – lifestyle, religion, culture, food, health, fitness – everybody seems to have a take on everything. Everybody has “alternative facts”.

I’ll stop ranting now.

Perhaps another coffee will distract me for long enough that I won’t write “oh, and ANOTHER thing”…