Every few months I experience a severe aversion to news media. The symptoms present as anxiety, temporary depression, frustration and anger. The solution is to once again (as Timothy O’Leary said) tune out. I know I’m not the only one who gets sick and tired of all the bad news we are confronted with every day from various sources. The evening news on TV is a predictable, formulaic lineup of updates on never-ending wars, robberies, stabbings or gun violence, consumer rip-off scams, car accidents and the resulting traffic chaos, political mismanagement, or trials related to any or all of these events. I know it’s the media’s job to report these tragedies but I don’t have to be part of the cycle by listening, watching or reading about it. It sucks the life out of me.
Notwithstanding this position, however, reading the daily newspaper is one of my greatest pleasures. I can spread it out on the kitchen table with my pot of tea and spend an hour reading the funnies, my horoscope, Dear Abby, lifestyle columns, business news and whatever light, interesting bits of information my eyeballs land on. The thing is, newspapers are conducive to skipping over the nasty bits. Television doesn’t allow that option. I realize I should be informed about the dark side of life but a steady diet of gloom is stressful and soul-destroying.
Canadian news sources are only marginally better than those in the United States because:
- We’re not involved in the American election and therefore have more than one issue to report on.
- Canadians understand that an entire world exists beyond the borders of the United States so we get a more comprehensive, balanced perspective.
- We know and understand that guns are dangerous and stupid. Therefore, there are fewer gun deaths to report on Canadian news.
My inner voice is telling me it’s time to take a news sabbatical. The less I know about ISIS bombings, mismanagement by Wynne’s Ontario Government and Ontario Power Generating Company, the expense account abuses by Federal senators, boring celebrity non-news items, the horrible possibility of Donald Trump winning the American election, and other issues beyond my control, the better I’ll sleep at night. I’ll take my chances on not knowing about the latest cancer-causing foods, how to increase my sex drive or the negative impact on our health caused the latest lifestyle activity. So, for the time being, I plan to concentrate on my monthly magazines, library books and whatever offerings pop up on my Yahoo home page. I feel lighter, healthier, safer and happier already. And I feel a baking spree coming on.