Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Thursday, September 21, 2006

Something has been bothering me

I've had something on my mind for a while now, and it's just getting to me. Recently I had a conversation with someone who told me that he didn't read newspapers or watch the news because it was 'too depressing' and he really didn't want to hear it. I'm sorry, but this is just blind foolishness, and I just do not get it.

What it seems like, at least to me, is that people with that attitude are so self-absorbed that they can't see outside their own little sphere because if it doesn't involved them, well, then maybe it's just not worth their effort. For me, an avowed news junkie, I can't understand how anyone can turn their back and close their eyes to the rest of the world. There is so much good going on in the world, for sure, and although the media tends to overemphasize the negative, pretending that there isn't a world beyond your own little life is ugly and selfish.

How are children supposed to learn compassion if they can't see the way the rest of the world suffers? Recently there was a program on PBS about 7 children from different countries and their schooling. There were children from the poorest nations that struggled so desperately to get a second grade education. Then there are our kids, who get a free education and mostly don't appreciate how lucky they are. If they could see with their own eyes how much the third world struggles just to find food and shelter, then maybe they could grow up with a sense of obligation to the world and not just to consumerism.

How can a person vote if they don't read newspapers or watch the news on TV? Are they choosing on looks? On clothing? What criteria does an adult have if they refuse to learn anything about a candidate? And more importantly, doesn't it scare you a little that someone who is ignorant of the candidate's platform is voting in the first place? Do you think this is how Bush got into power?

Can you tell me why a person is proud of their ignorance? This guy said that he doesn't like to be informed. It doesn't matter to him. He says has enough stress in his own life (and believe me, his life is pretty picture perfect) and he doesn't need any more. Puhleese! There is such a thing as being a responsible global citizen. And there's such thing as being a self-absorbed neophyte. Me, I'm into being and raising global citizens. I want my children to understand different cultures and ethnicities. I want my children to get that we live in a global society, whether we like it or not, and as global citizens we must attempt to understand even what we don't agree with.

Finally, I wonder how a person that professes that ignorance is bliss can live without knowing what is going on in their own community. It's bad enough ignoring the entire world, but when you don't read a newspaper or watch the local news, how do you know what your neighbors are doing? How do you understand things like where your tax dollars are going and why? How do you live in a community and not know who the heros are, who are the people that save lives, who your neighbors are that need help? How can you live like this? I'm sorry, but I think this is a reprehensible attitude. There is just no excuse for ignorance. None.
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Blogger Linus said...

I agree with you 100%! I have many friends who take the "the news is too depressing" route and I find it such a cop out. If you want things to get better, you have to know what's going on so that you can contribute to a solution.

And while I'm at it, you know what my latest pet peeve is? People in their early twenties who openly admit that they "don't read" - and I mean don't read anything at all - like they're proud of it! Are you kidding me? What is the world coming to?

Blogmad hit!

21/9/06 4:02 PM  
Blogger jen said...

sister...you are so right on. i see it all the time in my community and in my work. great post.

21/9/06 5:58 PM  
Blogger Julie Pippert said...

Oh I disagree with you. See, I don't think newspapers and TV are per se good sources of news. I actually refuse to watch TV news. I keep myself reasonably informed through a variety of sources, so I don't claim any ignorance, but I admit, it's more on a general, global level than a day-to-day specifics level. This might come from age and having seen one too many newscasts that are always basically the same thing. And from having seen how news is twisted to fit a bill.

I do have a lot of daily stress. And I do avoid unecessary alarmist news...which is basically what most TV, and a lot of newspaper (so sad to see print go this direction) does and is.

I don't know your friend or the conversation you had, but I wouldn't extrapolate a life of ignorance as you describe based on eschewing TV and newspaper news.

I know what happens in my community, who helps, who is a hero, by being personally involved.

I could throw out a similar argument as you saying...how can people who only watch TV news and read newspapers have any idea about what is really going on?

I also definitely wouldn't decide such a person is self-absorbed.

It's usually more gray than that. But like I said, don't know your friend. Still, you did seem to take it and generalize.

So I felt compelled to present a second side.

BTW, North Shore gal here!

Oh and how Bush got elected? An even bigger puzzler is Romney.

21/9/06 7:27 PM  
Blogger Sadaf Trimarchi said...

Choosing not to be informed about current events is a sad state of affairs, but I don't think that's quite the same as choosing not to rely on mainstream newspapers or the evening news.

I'm a NY times junkie, and even I roll my eyes sometimes at the slant the paper seems to take on certain issues. And this paper isn't the only one. I continue to read it because it's a habit, and I happen to like the Dining In/Out section on Wednesdays, and the Book Review on the weekend.

My point is only that knowledge of what is happening in the world can be gleaned from a variety of other sources. Forming an opinion of one's own is often harder if all you are able to do it quote the latest soundbite from whatever newpaper you choose to subscribe to.

I hope I can raise global citizens too. I think that's a worthy goal. It's sad that this individual you describe chooses to ignore what's happening in the world, especially since it seems like isolating ourselves is impossible these days.

21/9/06 7:59 PM  

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