When we were on vacation traveling the Oregon Trail, my wife and I found that we didn't seem to have much access to the news -- and we weren't particularly interested anyway. Somehow, the facts from 175 years ago seemed more relevant than the gossip and chatter that passes as news these days.
At home, we get the weekend editions of the New York Times. I occasionally read the local paper and The Wall Street Journal. We subscribe to a couple of magazines. Then I find that the TV is invariably on, for at least a little while almost every day, and we're not even aware that we're listening to Fox News dig up some dirt on the Democrats, or someone on MSNBC getting apoplectic over an outrage they think they've heard from the Republicans.
Then there's the internet. Yahoo and aol.com both remind me of the old supermarket tabloids. And most other so-called news sites -- from vox to huffington to whatever -- are dishing out nothing but opinions, one more outlandish than the other. And of course we all know about opinions . . . everyone (ahem) has one.
But just to make sure I didn't miss anything important, when I got home I spent a few minutes catching up on the last few weeks. There was . . .
A celebrity wedding in England. A New York attorney ranting in a coffee shop. Some teachers on strike. More back and forth between Mueller and Trump. Roseanne making a racist joke. Elon Musk tweeting something about Tesla. A chef/TV star committing suicide. Bill Clinton and James Paterson collaborating on a political thriller.
And, as long-advertised, Trump actually met with Kim Jung Un . . . although did anything come of it?
Did I miss anything else? And (though I feel bad for Anthony Bourdain) does any of it really matter?
How about you . . . have you found yourself getting sucked into the news more and more in the last couple of years, and then thinking perhaps you've wasted a lot of time and emotional energy on things that don't really matter? Do you think the news has improved your life, or made you more knowledgeable? Or have you tuned out, or consciously gone on a news diet because you've decided too much modern-day news is simply not good for you?
I'm of two minds. I've certainly enjoyed my news hiatus. But then I wonder, was I shirking my responsibility as a citizen and voter? Is sticking your head in the sand the best way to approach the modern political scene, no matter how nasty it has become?