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Entries in current events (1)

Sunday
May252014

Why Do I Still Read a Newspaper?!

There are special family rituals that arise organically. We assign little meaning to them, but when they are overlooked we feel their absence. One ritual that’s made a subtle appearance in our lives on Sunday mornings is the reading of a newspaper. 

 “Who reads the newspaper anymore?” someone asked me on Facebook a few weeks ago. I do! It’s not because I’m trying to be hipster by claiming throwbacks to the past as badges of cultural honor, either. It’s that the newspaper offers me a more palatable experience of the news. 

Online and televised media beat stories to death. They offer SO.MANY.DETAILS. I can no longer make my way to a concise perspective of events. I’m confused, overwhelmed and mostly irritated. I find myself susceptible to and unquestioning of the opinions of media icons I respect. Problem with that, of course, is that Rachel Maddow and Jon Stewart support platforms or agendas that they’re bent on promoting and those agendas might not align with my values every single time. 

Produced with clickability in mind first, online news sources focus less on the dissemination of information and more on “shareworthiness.” In the end, between the online venue and television, I feel like I’m drowning in the deep end of a community swimming pool of apathy and intellectual complacency. The newspaper allows me to digest the information slowly, and it exists as the antithesis of sound bites and the palliative to flashy reporting. 

Every Sunday morning, we, while reading our respective sections of the paper, look up and offer each other  what I like to call one of our “what the eff” moments. That’s when you read the paper and you look up and say, “What the eff!”  Unless your children aren’t in the room, then you use the real word because it has way more impact. The what the eff moments consists of two crucial parts:

 

Part 1. Exclamation: You exclaim what the eff 

Part 2. Explanation: You explain what’s wrong with the world.  

 

You will never experience the full impact of a "what the eff" moment if you can't do both of these things. In fact, allow me to offer a very dramatic opinion to you: We have lost something fundamental as a society because we are no longer engaging in the part two of a “what the eff” moment. Part two is now prepared, prepackaged and offered to us like the goop inside a jar of baby food. Just like the baby eating food, we are covered in hot mess of slobber and confusion.

See, with televised media, you have the opportunity to exclaim “what eff,” but you will have your head filled with opinions by a barrage of experts who will show up within minutes of the reveal. They will tell you what you should be outraged about. They will explain why this is important to pay attention to but not that. They will tell you what is unimportant and irrelevant. You don’t get to decide.

You have lost your chance at part two and you have lost something essentially human: your free will to choose and explain how you feel about something on your own terms and in your own words. At the end of it all, you may drown in a pool of apathy. Perhaps you'll click over to the E! Channel and watch the Kardashians.

This will make you feel powerful because nobody tells you how to feel about Kim and Khloe’s latest disagreement. You are trusted with this task. You’ll form an opinion of your own. It will live as an opinion that’s about something relatively stupid, but it will be an opinion you made all by yourself and that you can explain thoroughly. 

Deep down, your opinion of Kim and Khloe lets you feel smart even if it's about something dumb. This makes you feel far more intelligent than the spoon feeding of opinions about relevant current events.

We’re all subconsciously programmed to think for ourselves. The producers of televised news media and online news media have forgotten this, but the producers of reality television have not. So. That’s why reading the paper is so cool.

This Sunday morning, we fell into the usual routine of digesting the week’s news. On page two, I came across this full page ad paid for by "Tennesseans for Preservation of Personal Privacy, Inc."  

It was *my* what the eff moment. 

 

 

Me: WHAT.THE.EFF.

You: ... ?