seriously, i am celebrating over a year of not following the traditional news cycle, and it feels like i am unhooking my mind off all kinds of toxic crack.
i was just chatting with a friend about some top secret DC strategy listserv, and my whole being went ew, while laughing…the matrix holds itself up with a news cycle that tells us what is important, what is drama, what is controversy, and what is acceptable. and almost all of it is counter to my belief system of people powered change in a real where ‘change is god’ (octavia butler who I am proposing a session on at the amc).
i started small, by not indulging in negative and reactionary news bits – stuff where the whole story is a back and forth between privileged people jockeying for dominance over each other on a theoretical level. i was too often amazed at how angry and up in arms folks would get over situations they truly knew nothing about, debating based on tiny morsels of subjective information presented like shadows on a wall in plato’s allegory of the cave. I thought I might feel like an ostrich burying my head in the sand…
instead, it almost immediately became clear to me how repetitive and uninteresting the news cycle is. the process – news drops, everyone obsesses, takes sides, gets vehement, and then another piece of news drops…it can destroy minds. good minds, totally distracted from the actual world happening in front of them, building nothing.
i now ignore whole cycles of news that have nothing to do with my life or my community. when i hear a piece of news that is tragedy, i let myself feel it, light a candle and mourn, rather than obsessing over morbid details. i am trying to learn all i can about detroit, because that news is relevant to me, and because i am committed to doing the work needed not just to change the message, but to change the whole story, the whole reality.
i am not ungrateful to those who do watch those cycles and point to the larger patterns, the way the influences are happening. but i do know through my work with allied media that the way to really shift people’s understanding of an issue in the face of reductionist media is to deepen and expand your relationship with them. i send people i love in-depth pieces, rather than debating with strangers in the comment boards of fox stories.
i don’t feel like an ostrich! i feel like a phoenix 🙂
in related news – buy erykah badu’s new album and listen to it on repeat till you get it.