As Spider Jerusalem would say, “I feel a column coming on”, when, after having shot himself skyhigh with multiple drugs, he locks himself in the bathroom and starts hacking away on his keyboard.*
Maybe reading “Transmetropolitan” by Warren Ellis has had a queer influence on me. Let me tell you something about my news consumption in the last two years. Roughly last year around this time I was very absorbed in the news. For example Wikileaks was happening, many things seemed interesting and worth reading up on. There was an event I co-direted about media and democracy. I read a newspaper from politics to local flavor each day and my blog routine.
The only thing that I really thouroughly followed through news-wise this year was the presidential election, and mainly because I organized an event for a political organization that dealt with it. I even researched where Romney got money from, that was interesting.
But at the end of this year, I find myself sick with news. It’s not that nothing noteworthy is happening, but I feel like my “filter” is broken. The filter that you have to activate in order to sort all the bullshit out, having given up the notion of ever discovering The Truth. Call it evaluating perspectives, maybe. I am just too tired. I still get newspapers on the weekends, but hardly ever do more than skip through them superficially.
When I sit in the tube and see what people read, it makes me sick. “Hamburger Abendblatt“, “Bild”, “Morgenpost” (all rather less or more German tabloids) with headlines that exploit your deepest fears and lusts. Killer viruses and tits. There is a TV feed in the tube (pretty futuristic, right?) that gives blurbs of 2-3 garbled sentences of news; it is horrific.
Maybe trying to evade the epheremal news is impossible. It still affects you on a subconscious level. But right now I don’t have the energy to keep up a healthy, steady and reflected newsfeed. And for maintaining that, for digesting news, reading up on things, you need a fuckload of energy.
Now all this is not exactly news to you; you know this already if you have half brain. Why am I writing about it again, while so many people such as e.g. (my very distant relative) Böll have already covered it?
Because it makes me angry. I feel sorry for all the people who unreflectively swallow the lies laced into layers of triviality. I feel sorry for all those who are afraid of the terrible killer wasps that are going to obliterate your family or, as Martin Robins tells below in his righteous rant about The Daily Mail, his grandpa who kept his windows closed because of the rabid foxes. I also feel sorry for all the investigative journalists who try to produce serious news but whose audience is shrinking continually. And feeling sorry is not going to help anyone, so maybe anger is the way to go.
When Spider Jerusalem can’t cope with the city he writes the column “I hate it here” about anymore, he flees to a mountain and assumes the lifestyle of a hermit. (Before, he just finished a book about a presidential campaign that ‘broke’ him.) This is not an option now.
Fuck you, Daily Mail. Yes, I know his rhetoric is basic and rather tacky, but I get why he feels this way.
* Just for the records, I do not approve of his methods. But his general cynicism is dead-on.