Everyone's so politically high-minded these days that not a day passes in which I do not hear of this group or that one "boycotting" something. Most of the times, it's something stupid - both the boycott and the reason(s) for it - and it makes me angry. The news, in general, has gotten so that it physically affects me - I have, at times, been shaking with rage or doubled-over with stomach cramps from unease and dread. Really!
Now, since 2006, I have run several blogs, many of which depend on my reading the news for stories of interest to discuss, so this extreme reaction was definitely something new. I can't pinpoint the exact date on which it started but I attribute the beginnings to the last Presidential election which was about as divisive as any I can recall in my lifetime. I certainly got worked-up over news items before this but it was rare enough that it didn't disrupt my daily life or overthrow my mental processes.
Finally, I snapped. And turned off the news.
For the last couple of months, I have been "boycotting" the news - not just mainstream outlets but all sources. Well not entirely, as my homepage has news headlines from several sources, but I only skimmed those and refrained from clicking-through on all but a handful of occasions. I also clicked-through on news items posted by those I have Friended or Follow on Facebook (Twitter is also on this "boycott" list for obvious reasons). It was only the other day that I returned to actually reading the news. I even watched Newsy a few times the past week and tune-in to Next News at 10pm for the Mike Salvi Show.
Shit, I watched the President lie to America's face on Jay fucking Leno yesterday without screaming at my TV! I talked to it rationally, but I did not scream at it.
But even though I have managed to keep my food down these last few days, I saw a story just this morning that immediately started my head spinning and my mouth foaming. And I decided right then and there to resume my self-imposed, solo "boycott" of the news and its outlets.
Although there are days on which I feel hopelessly out of touch, I know that part of that can be attributed to missing the daily routine of scanning news sites and aggregators for items of interest. I will continue to sift through the detritus occasionally just to set my mind at ease and see what's what but, aside from that, I'm done - over it.
But I'm telling you: I feel much happier without it. I'm no longer irrationally afraid, justifiably angry at things I cannot change, or screaming at the idiots in the idiot box. I no longer rewrite the perfect comeback tweet to that day's troll as I drift into a broken slumber. It's kind of nice.
© C Harris Lynn, 2013