How Up to Date Do I Want to Be?

I’ll admit it: there are some days that I just wish I didn’t know as much about what’s going on in the world. These days, it seems like there’s something new to be shocked and dismayed at every day on a global, national, and sometimes even local level. Don’t I have enough to worry about without troubling myself by finding out about new things to worry about?

It doesn’t help that some things are presented as being more noteworthy than perhaps they ought to be. Celebrity deaths, for example. I’m sad to see actors and musicians I like pass away, but most of the time, the people passing away are people whose careers are long since over, for all practical purposes. Maybe I take a minute to be sad they’re gone, but if I haven’t heard or watched anything they’ve put out recently, what real impact does that have on me? (That sentence sounds super cynical. I’m not trying to be. Just trying to talk about this openly.)

2016 got a reputation for how many celebrity deaths it had, and so that became a news story, which became something else to be upset about. In addition to terror attacks, an orange buffoon becoming our president, natural disasters, global warming, and more.

I get that the news prints the things people will read, and that often means printing the upsetting things. More than that, they’re motivated to make you want to care about it, which means the more you read, the more opportunity you have to be upset.

So the question becomes: why bother? Why check the news faithfully?

The benefits seems like they could be immediate. For one thing, less stress. Less to be worried about each day. Less time taken up reading about the news, talking about the news, and thinking about the news. Yay for that, right?

But I can’t help but think I would lose something by not knowing. That ignorance is a trait many people in power would prefer their populace had. More than that, I feel like the ability to ignore the news is a privilege, one I can afford because of my color, gender, socio-economic status, race, orientation, and family. I might be able to be fine by ignoring the rest of the world, but am I hurting other people by doing that? I think in the end I would be.

Perhaps the solution is to pick my battles more carefully. To choose to consciously ignore some news while staying up to date in other areas. To ask myself if something is important enough for me to dwell on or do more research.

What are your thoughts?

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