My brother Rob stopped watching the news. When he first told me, I thought he was a crazy man. How can you be a thinking, caring, informed voter, without watching the news. I first heard this from him at least a year ago, and he continues to not read or watch the news. When we get together, if we talk about the news, he genuinely has no idea what we are talking about.
I contrast that to my Father in Law who always has the news on. My wife and I watch it every morning and I pay attention throughout my day. We know what is going on. The thing about it is, we are not happier. We are not better, we are in many ways much worse off.
Since 1991, when crime peaked in Canada, the crime rate has been on a continual decline. That is only true if you do not pay attention to the news. We have a 24 hour news cycle and to fill that time, they report all the crime in minute detail. They drone on about it. If you watched the news daily, as i do, you would speculate that crime is getting much worse, but it isn’t. It just isn’t. So am I better off watching the news with a cynical eye and knowing that they are over reporting everything? Nope, studies show that optimism is good for you. You live longer, you eat netter, you are nicer to be around. I posit that I am not more optimistic when I watch the news, I think, in general I am more cynical, and maybe even more depressed when i watch the news. That can’t be good, and maybe it is time to be like Rob and just…quit.
I thought he was on the dark aside of the force, and I was on the good side, but I am now not so sure. I think perhaps my knowing every tragic thing that happens in my city, my province, my country, my continent and around the world, is not such a good idea. I think that is maybe how the dark side wins, it convinces us that it isn’t in fact the dark side at all. Hmmm, I wonder what else that might apply to. I will have to muse on that another time, for now…
I’m coming Rob. You and i will be blissfully ignorant together.