Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Pause That Refreshes

Well, that was interesting.

I really did take a month off and let me tell you, it was fabulous. I read. I wrote. I read some more, and I wrote some more. I rested. I walked, and I ran. And I cooked. I took a trip to New York City, and basically enjoyed life for a month.

And I unplugged from our political discourse, as much as it is possible in this day and age to do such a thing. I kept abreast of the basic news but politics no longer consumed my life. I was a much happier camper as a result.

I’ve said this before, like a thousand gazillion times, and my hiatus hasn’t changed my mind: 99.9% of the bullshit that happens in our discourse is totally unimportant. The latest Sarah Palin Face-Tweet, the newest intolerant Glenn Beck rant, the thing that has Ed Schultz’s boxers in a twist or put the Great Orange Satan in a tizzy does not, in the grand scheme of things, matter one iota. It’s noise and diversion. It’s manipulation, and unhooking from the madness is a wonderful thing.

We’ve been here before. Nothing is new, and yet everything is different. Our traditional news media has failed us, following rabbit trails like the "TSA outrage” story that wasn’t. Can I tell you people how disappointed I was not to get groped by the TSA when I flew to New York over Thanksgiving? The body-scanner machines at the Nashville airport weren’t even in use when we traveled. There were no lines, no scenes, no outraged travelers waving copies of the Constitution.

Ah well, it’s not the first time the media has failed us. William Randolph Hearst is the antecedent to Rupert Murdoch, after all. “Remember The Maine” foreshadowed Saddam’s WMDs. How interesting that Chandra Levy’s real killer was convicted in the same month we had another phony media-created story. Gary Condit’s career was ruined by the same yellow journalism hungry for blood which has always reared its ugly head. And yet, justice for Chandra was served, the media be damned.

Time marches on. The media pathetically clings to its outdated “cyber-Monday” narrative, useless as a reflection of modern buying habits but very useful for online retailers. With my inbox flooded with dozens of cyber-Monday discount offers, I asked that eternal question: is the news media in service to commerce, or is it the other way around? I still haven’t a clue. Regardless, it’s money which drives our narrative, not politics. It’s not that the media it too liberal or too conservative, it’s that it’s too profit-oriented. Same as it ever was.

It’s all so much nonsense. Every president since George Washington has been accused of doing outrageous things, undermining the Republic, threatening our way of life. And yet we’re still here.

It’s true that every utterance is amplified to the hundred-millionth degree by the megaphone that is the modern media. But we have a choice. You can choose not to listen to talk radio, watch cable news, surf the blogs or believe the bullshit e-mail someone forwarded to you.

I’m so old I remember when Eisenhower was considered to be a tight-assed right-winger, yet liberals today quote his 1961 warnings about the military-industrial complex as if they were the words of Noam Chomsky. We can get riled up at the thought of BP-apologizer Rep. Joe Barton chairing the House Energy & Commerce committee but that won’t stop the juggernaut that is green energy investment. Fox News bobbleheads can spread the seeds of doubt about climate change all they want, News Corp. still has a corporate carbon-neutral initiative that would make the American Petroleum Institute’s head explode. So really, none of this shit matters. What will happen is gonna happen.

I’m not entirely back yet. I started on a project in November which I want to finish. I'm enjoying life outside of blogging. I may check back with y’all later, though.

Happy Holidays.

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