Hard Pressed

Hard Pressed

After an hour and a half of perusing the news, I am both confused and depressed and have found absolutely nothing I want to write about. In the past, friends have looked at the news, found froth and looked for substance. I found depressing substance and went in search of froth, veering off from the German airbus crash to a survey of Mitzi Gaynor’s life. What is wrong with me that I can no longer stand to face the truth of the world even from a distance? I will soon be reduced to watching old romance movies, no doubt, but I can’t help but know from talking to friends and acquaintances that I’m not the only person seeking escape and perhaps nature is taking a hand as well. Perhaps there is a reason why Alzheimer’s has become an epidemic.

May I excuse myself for limiting my world view as much as possible to enable me to still have faith in this world? If I look out my window, I see beauty; and this afternoon, I’ll celebrate the marriage of a friend/employee by taking her family of 8 for dinner at our favorite Argentinian restaurant. Perhaps part of the world as we wish it to be can be preserved by the simple living out of our own lives. For me, this seems only possible if I cut myself off as much as possible from the larger world as they choose to present it in the media.

Mark Aldrich once wrote about schadenfreude, that strange but I fear too true tendency of human nature to take pleasure from the pain of others. How else can we explain our fascination with every detail of a major disaster? On one hand, we need to be informed, but if we look realistically at our own responses to the gory details, we will admit there is a certain thrill of horror mixed with relief that this happened to someone else and not to us.

In pandering to that side of ourselves, we fall in line with the the role that slasher movies, competitive and vicious reality television and internet games play in bringing our violent sides out at an ever-increasing and alarming rate. We are desensitized to the point that the reality of rape, pillage, war, tsunami, airline crashes, murder and the victimization of entire societies becomes little more than another thrill. We are so accustomed to horror in our entertainment that real horror becomes a type of entertainment as well.

This is why I disconnected my TV dish years ago and why the daily news no longer serves as my home page. My home page (ironic that a typo caused this to read “hope page” until I caught it and changed it) is now my blog and my email—things that I can control to the point where the first thing that greets my eyes every morning is not the news. Am I an ostrich, burying my head in the sand, or simply someone taking control of her own life? In the long run, I guess it just boils down to semantics, but the nice thing about a life and a blog is that if we are lucky, we have control over it, and so long as both of these facts remain true, I’m going to exercise my right, leave the news trapped in a part of the World Wide Net where I have chosen to entwine it and get my news filtered down to what inevitably seeps through to the part of the net I frequent. Controlled. Put in perspective behind the details of my own life and the life of my friends—where it would naturally be without the glut of information devices that instead of informing us about the world seem to have become our world.

Note from Judy:  Since today is the first day of  the Maestros del Artes Feria, I need to be on the road early, so I’m publishing a rewrite of an earlier piece.  I’ll write more when I get home tonight!


This entry was posted in Uncategorized on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

17 thoughts on “Hard Pressed

  1. fictionalkevin

    I’ve read recently – and don’t have time right now to source, sorry – that our voyeuristic fascination with bad news goes back to our evolutionary history. To survive and procreate we had to be aware of the dangers surrounding us. Hearing of tragedy befalling others gave us a heads up of the peril.

    Like sweaty palms before a job interview, this may not serve us well in today’s world.

    I, like you, have dumped daily news consumption. I find others in my life tend to keep me informed of things I need to know while I am freed from the daily emote over the misfortune of others.

    Thank you for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Relax

    I limit my *news* intake as well, for it’s not new-s, it’s olds, and I know it’s out there. Seeing it won’t make my prayer for the less fortunate and evil’s victims any more ardent. What the eye takes in becomes our morning (or worse). We are indeed desensitized to much violence, which especially seems systematically done when considered it is the premier anti-love game plan from hell. A very thoughtful, thought-provoking and wise post, Judy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lifelessons Post author

      I love that statement that it’s not the news, it’s the olds…There has always been violence, pestilence, natural disaster–but our specific knowledge of it was pretty much limited to our own environs. Now we carry the weight of the world on our shoulders.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Leland Olson Hoel

    Thank you Judy for your views on the news. Modern technology and what is labeled entertainment have desensitized us, and dehumanized us, there is now a blur between what’s good and what’s bad. The news now travels around the world at light speed. It is no wonder the constantly changing bad news hits us right between the eyes and ears. We are expected to thrive on it, not turn it off. There was a time when Native Americans sent smoke signals, that news traveled fast, but it was a lot better received. Maybe we should seek a happy medium.


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  5. Marilyn Armstrong

    There is nothing wrong with you, but there is a great deal wrong with the world. We don’t watch the news, not since Garry stopped being on it. Garry reads newspapers, but pretty much sticks to the weather, sports, and entertainment … not in that order. They actually did some kind of study at Hahvid some years ago and discovered that watching the noise raises your blood pressure and causes insomnia. Their suggestion? Don’t follow the news. Works for us. I will probably start to follow a bit of politics when we get closer to the election, but until then, I get as much as I can stand watching the Daily Show and Colbert.


  6. Manja Mexi Movie

    “Am I an ostrich, burying my head in the sand, or simply someone taking control of her own life?” This is what I something think about, seeing that I stopped watching the news a long time ago. The things that still reach me, via FB or blogs, are telling enough of the situation at hand. I tend to devote every minute of my day to something beautiful or worthwhile in other ways and immediately pull the plug on anything that tries to evoke negative feelings. I think we are lucky, the ones on here.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. rogershipp

    I, too, seek a news sabbatical on many a day/week/month. This is difficult for me to do in the moment because I am also a bit of a political junkie? My two personalities and needs do not choose to mesh well sometimes?

    Liked by 1 person


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