I’m drinking a Red-Eye, mid-day, on a Sunday. A cold rain set in this morning, melting a heavy layer of snow that’s covered the ground for the last two days; the kind of snow that drapes the trees and ground in an exquisite silence. CNN is on the television, the newscasters talking endlessly about Donald Trump’s latest Tweets, his latest truths and lies, followed by a myriad of responses from experts and pundits about the true nature of the Tweet. They will talk, and talk, and talk about it for days.
They are disturbing my peace.
I’ve started tuning out the news once I hear the words, Trump, Tweets, rallies, marches, etc. It has become background noise. A loud, disturbing noise in the background of life. I’ve always been a newshound and a political junkie, but I’m suffering from mental nausea over the current state of both politics and the news media.
The President sets fire to the country with a Tweet or a word, and the media, like hungry crows, peck over the morsel all day… every day… over and over again. Then there are the marches and protest, more morsels for the media to peck over, hash and re-hash, until it feels meaningless, until it has been over-talked, over-hashed, over-pecked like over-cooked, over-seasoned scrambled eggs that no longer holds any appeal to anyone with taste buds.
In a rare bit of “other news,” that is, non-political news, this morning, I heard that the several large newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, were in threat of collapse. Broadcast media is stating that the decline of print media is due to the rise of social media, internet newspapers and the 24-hour news cycle on television. Of course, this has been happening for a decade, but just when we needed the print media the most — in an age of cheap and shallow information, neigh cheap and shallow knowledge — the newspapers truly fail. I guess we’ll be left with the selective over-sharing by corporate and party-owned media outlets, a Tweeting President and fake-news from any number of illicit sources bombarding social media news feeds.
Without free, substantive news, the US is not truly a functioning democracy. It is a floundering, failing empire, in the throws of her last breath… and when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.
What of real, in-depth thought; what of in-depth thinkers, writers, doers? What of an in-depth life, full of meaning and substance, a life directed by intentions and careful and informed evaluation. Is art imitating life or is life imitating art? It’s an age-old question. Perhaps, a question better left open, to be re-posed again and again, for it begs the mind to think about the substance of our lives and the information that informs our direction.
As for me, I will drink my Red-Eye, I will write a few lines and go on with my life. I will sift out “real” news and be thankful for an education that allows me to have the skills to find facts and substance.
But, the rain has nearly melted the snow and the sound-buffer it creates. Winter is here, and it’s cold and ugly.. not a wondrous blanket of quiet, but a cold, constant drizzle.
Red Eye: Beer, V-8 Juice, Tabasco Pepper, salt and pepper!