I am in media overload. This is the result of two things: first, I just had knee surgery so my ability to get up and move about the galaxy is limited to short distances and brief tasks. This is so unlike me. Usually my hyperbolic DNA has me zooming around from planet to planet. Next, the past few days have been the most incredibly active news days given all the breaking news coming out of Washington especially, and the rest of the world generally.
Newswise, just look at all the events of the past week: the White House/Capitol Hill debate on healthcare; the FBI investigation of the Trump campaign and its possible ties to Russia; Intel Chairman Devin Nunes snubs his committee and has a unprecedented self-invited visit to the White House; the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch who displays no capacity to answer questions as mundane as “do you drink water?”; the terrorist assault outside the British Parliament in London; another missile attempt by that crazy kid in North Korea; the Keystone Pipeline go-ahead; proposed budget cuts that will push the delete key on Meals on Wheels. Wow, what a week.
So I have sat, lain, sprawled, fidgeted and assumed a variety of other positions in my bed and in the chair next to it while my eyes have been transfixed on the 18” flatscreen on the table across from me. With my trusty remote controller permanently embedded in my hand, I surf from news channel to news channel absorbing all the conversations, declarations and manifestations propelled onto the screen, one right after the other. My intellect is challenged continuously by news commentators, newsmakers, news anchors, guest experts and media exploiters. It’s a hell of an assortment of talkers, screamers and debaters. Oh, I forgot to mention all the news “cuts”—those “actualities” of persons on the street, eyewitness testimonials, retired generals’ sage advice and academicians’ pontifications. Everyone has something to say.
Yep, all that stuff suckered me in, absorbing my focus and soaking my brain cells with more data than they can possibly sort through and make any sense of. There is so much goop oozing out of the TV that I will even credit all this media mayhem with actually taking my mind off my aching leg for a few minutes here and there.
With the addition of so many cable news channels, one thing is certain: there is a vast variety and diversity of opinion available to anyone who chooses to tune in. Trouble is, it is often difficult to decide who is telling the truth, who is truly knowledgeable and who makes the best case. It was so much easier years ago when the news media remained objective and you had to wait for specially segregated and labeled sections of “commentary” before opinion was injected into the mix. Nowadays, it’s a free-for-all and the viewer is left pondering how to differentiate from what is objective vs subjective. It is, at times, a puzzlement.
Eventually, it occurred to me that if I didn’t ease up a bit, in addition to my knee replacement, I will need a head replacement. So I decided to leave the TV off. Well, maybe not for the entire day, but for chunks of time. I have to pace myself if I am to keep up with the rest of the world. Oh, that reminds me…I neglected to mention one other vitally important item in this past week’s chain of events. My local supermarket, Publix, had Ben & Jerry’s on sale—buy one/get one. Now I ask you, is it no surprise that I have finally come to terms as to what is really important and what isn’t?