A Lament for a Monday

A Lament for a Monday January 11, 2016

I see another person who I didn’t really know anything about, David Bowie, has gone from life to death. This has become the usual way that I learn about popular culture. I go along quietly doing my own thing, someone famous dies, I feel bad that I didn’t know anything about them, I read obsessively for several weeks and by then no one wants to talk about it any more. It’s how I heard of Amy Winehouse and some very famous designer of clothes whose name escapes me.

The single difference being, you’ll be happy to know, that I have heard of David Bowie, I just don’t know whence cometh his fame. Nevertheless, may God grant perpetual light to shine upon him.

The whole Business of keeping up with the news, of knowing what’s going on at any particular moment, and then trying to discover if what is being reported actually happened, or did stuff happen that isn’t being reported, is causing me, and I think the culture in general, to fray around the edges. The way of news being gathered and disseminated, of me picking through big heaping piles of quoth news stories, where all the different kinds of news are mushed together, where entertainment awards are reported with big fancy pictures right at the top of the screen, but then stuff about the refugee crisis and all the ganging up against women, if it’s there at all, is jumbled in very small print along one side, is highly discouraging to me, the consumer of news.

Ought I to be a consumer of this particular product? Should an informed citizenry be able to think of themselves as news consumers? With all the chatter about Marie Condo and minimalism, what about those spaces over which one has no control, like Facebook, Twitter, the Huffington Post. I can clean my closet all day long but then I still have to face the cluttery intellectual chaos of click bait, sensationalism and moral vacuity.

It’s not that I think any of this should be regulated or controlled by some more powerful hand. Not at all. It’s that I wish, in a free market system, someone would come up with a civilized way for me to be well informed, a way that doesn’t exhaust and anger me.

And it’s no good telling me to just get off Facebook. It is the nature of humanity to want to know what is going on, to hear and discover what’s new, to gossip in a gentle way about the dregs of the earth. I can’t just always, although it seems more like ever, read a book and exercise my informed intelligence towards pure thought. I can’t be entirely removed from the fray.

The solution isn’t me getting off the internet, or someone else filtering it for me. What I’m really wanting, I think, is for everyone else to just be, what’s the word I’m looking for, better. And that’s clearly not going to happen. So, I guess I will stop complaining and just go read the bible as I am expected to do.

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