Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sports, sex, crime, and narcissism.....

I am not interested in President Bush's red and white striped socks. I'm just not. I can't imagine too many others care about something like that, either.

Don't get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for President Bush I. It has nothing to do with his political affiliation or his policies while he held the office of POTUS. He seems like a decent human being who conducts himself with dignity. His wife rocks, too.

But why would the media think it newsworthy to include a close-up photo of his socks in a recent article about something totally unrelated? (What ISN'T unrelated to his socks?) Besides, it's a tad disrespectful, I think.

It reminds me that we have arrived at an era of way too much information. Our technology has drawn the edges of our world up over themselves, like a won ton wrapper, folding one corner over the other, until all that is left is a tiny triangle into which information is stuffed 24/7. I guess that leaves us with a great deal of "news" that isn't newsworthy at all; it merely takes up space on the page, whether that's a real page or a page in the electronic media. But that wonton is plenty fat all the time, you can bet on that.

With items about important stuff like red and white striped socks.

The contrast with our history is astounding when you think about it. King George III (no relation to George Bushes I or II that I know of) and those pesky rabble rousers in the American colonies managed to pull off an entire revolution in an era when it took weeks to get a message across the Atlantic. Patriots like Thomas Paine had enough to do spreading the word throughout the colonies without the use of the Internet or (gasp!) Facebook--or even a typewriter for heaven's sake--much less make mention of the King's droopy pantaloons. (I don't think they wore socks back in the day.)

From my perspective as an Active Master, so much of the news today is more aptly dubbed "drama." I don't care what George's (Bush, not the III) socks look like, or how Celebrity X is doing with fiancee #3 who just gave birth to their second child, or any other such nonsense. I'm smarter than that. I also know when I'm being manipulated by the media to fill up space in a newspaper or time during a newscast spouted by talking heads.

Maybe we should all delay reading or watching the "news" a matching amount of time that it took for a missive to sail the Atlantic in the 1770s. Then pull it out and see if it was really important after all.

Want to take bets?

Today’s journalism is obsessed with the kinds of things that tend to preoccupy thirteen-year-old boys: sports, sex, crime, and narcissism.


Nothing to Complain About: My 125-Day Journey to Become Complaint Free by Deborah Hansen is available NOW for $4.99 at

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