Posted by: Kate | August 8, 2008

Why I Don’t Read the News

I was up this morning at 7:00, not a horrible thing seeing as how I had to start working at 8:00.  Except that I’m working from home, on-call, this week and next while Willem is away.  My sister is here to corral the kids when I’m at the hospital, but in the downtime, I’m home.

And – I’m already prepared for the dirty looks from parents of young children; it’s OK, I can handle it – my kids stay in bed, quietly, until after 8:00. They’re often awake well before then, but they’re in their beds, reading or playing quietly, “until the clock starts with an 8.”  Jacob was not always a good sleeper, but after mastering the language he has been an excellent rule-follower, so the past two years or so have been examples of peace and tranquility on weekend mornings.  Willem and I have always traded off the weekend days – I get up with the kids on Saturdays, he on Sundays – but even that is less and less necessary now that they can get their own cereal and turn on the TV by themselves.

Anyway, this morning was an exception.  I was up at 7:00, because L had a court hearing to attend – a big one, of the sort that she changed her license plates before going so that her ex can’t trace her registration – and she wanted X to stay home with us instead of being shuttled around to daycare and grandparents and such.  The grandparents are in town for the hearing; they had to be subpoenaed, forced, to testify on behalf of their daughter.  Not that they wanted to testify on behalf of the son-in-law; what they wanted was to stay home and have a quiet, low-key weekend.

I’ve never met them, and I don’t much like them.

So L was up and out very early, much earlier than necessary, but she didn’t want X to pick up on her anxiety any more than necessary.  And X, who often sleeps until 7:30 or later, had been up since 5:30 this morning, because she picked up on some of L’s anxiety anyway.  She and I sat around, blinking owlishly at each other and both wishing we knew how to operate the coffee makers (kidding!  She totally knows how to do it, she’s just too short to reach the counter).  Finally, one of us started sucking her thumb and twirling her hair while wandering aimlessly around the house, and soon crawled back into bed and fell asleep.  The other fell asleep on the couch.  I’ll let you sort out the details.

Before I fell back asleep, though, I spent half an hour or so wandering around online and reading the news.  This is an activity that never fails to misalign all of my brain cells.  I spend the next several hours thinking about unpleasant topics, and more to the point, there’s nothing I can do about any of it.  I try to maintain a certain minimal level of awareness of social and political events so as not to look like a total idiot in adult conversation.  But I don’t enjoy political debates and I get upset at the number of people who are unnecessarily hurt and unprotected in the world.  I also love, in an unhealthy sort of way, to learn about crimes and killers and victims and such, but I have a near-photographic memory, so I get confused and irritated by the conflicting and inaccurate natures of the earliest accounts of crimes.

Thus, as a general rule, I avoid the news.  I watch documentaries, and I read magazines, and I listen to news radio to soak up the headlines, and I follow up on that which sparks my interest.  When I remember to.  Which is rare.

This morning, though, I was tired and fuzzy-headed, and ended up clicking on far too many links.  So I learned about bank closures, and worried about the big pile of financial unknowns that stands between me and my dream house.  Then I read about the unimaginable stupidity of PETA, to whose website I will not link (that’s a link to the Canadian Press), because I don’t give a damn about your eating or dressing habits and I appreciate their passion for a casue, but when you try and compare the actions of a psychotic man on a bus to the meat industry, you have taken your passion into the realm of idiocy.  I’m having steak tonight, just in honor of that ad’s sheer ridiculousness.  And then I read about this little girl in Florida, and I shut the computer.  Enough.


  1. I’m with you. I’m really having to avoid reading more and more these days — if it’s not cruel or violent, it’s something that reaffirms my belief that the world has lost its collective $hit.

    And speaking of THAT? So sorry that L’s parents are so put out. Damn.

  2. OMG, I clicked on the link to read the story about the Florida girl. I can’t believe there are people that wold let that happen. Disgusting.

  3. You definitely don’t need the news when you have enough drama going on in your own home right now! Well, drama might not be the right word.

    I can’t even click on the Florida link. I really don’t want to know.

  4. I just got done reading that Dooce had the link over there and OMG. Horrible. Which is also why I rarely read the news, unless it’s the smutty celebrity sort.

  5. I haven’t been able to bring myself to read about the girl in Florida. I know I’ll end up crying.

  6. I don’t like to read the news either. But I can’t seem to skip past the ones about kids. That story left me feeling sick.

  7. Mmm. I made a decision about 6 weeks ago to stop watching the news and following politics. So far, it has gone really well. I’m the sort of person who usually like to be more informed than your average person, so I figure I could use a break. I may never go back! I’m not even clicking your link. How do you like me now?
    I wish with the greatest sincerity that your friends court date goes well for her.

  8. i feel so incredibly sad for Dani.
    i think you have a talent for finding scary news.
    also, i have my fingers crossed and loads of hope for L.

  9. I hope L’s court date goes well, and I hope certain other people burn in Hell.

  10. I know where you’re coming from but I still have to catch the news on TV. I don’t read newspapers though. I am constantly distraught by man’s inhumanity to man whether it’s Danielle’s awful experience or the machete weilding morons in Zimbabwe . . .and now, with the Olympics dominating our sports crazed nation, we’ll hear little of what’s going on in the world anyway! I’m constantly irritated by the juxtoposition of a serious news story followed by something idiotic like Tom Cruise’s latest escapades or how many celebrity babies have been born. Blah!

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