My Blog Week: May 8 to May 14
A Word on the Week
Happy Talk (part three)
In part one of this series, I mentioned the anxiety loop that draws people into the negativity of the newsfeed—
A disturbing story erupts, like the ideology behind the Buffalo shooting, and we want assurance others see the same implications we do. We worry about the voices out there that might defend or excuse this. And so we expose ourselves to the online fantasy world of false expertise and anecdotal “proofs”.
And our national mood grows worse.
It’s worth examining, this urgency to “keep up”. How we view ourselves as citizens, how we strive to be the right sort of people, are root causes of news junkie-dom. To be concerned is to be a participating member of society. To keep current comes naturally as a correlative of being concerned. Yet news is an event that happened. What anyone thinks will happen in consequence, or thinks we’ve failed to see in time, or ought to learn for next time, isn’t news.
Not that these discussions can’t be helpful—but where to draw the line amid speculation, between helpfulness and troublemaking, is muddied by passive-aggressive tactics, such as jokes that aren’t jokes, attempts to soften arguments by “seeing all sides”, drawing others as incompetent while posing as sympathizers, etc.
The rights dependent on Roe v. Wade are under threat. Protests against this threat are events, news in themselves. But a flood of opinion writing has followed the leaked Alito draft, and what needle has been moved by it? When opinion also provides uncommonly known and pertinent information, or provides a template for the type of argument that can defeat speciosity, it has social value. Abortion rights should be codified on the basis of human autonomy, and bodily sovereignty. If the ability to give birth can for a period of a person’s lifetime reduce that person’s status of equality with all other human beings, we are lacking a proper definition of bodily autonomy, that our society needs to think about and apply.
And if we think and discuss and speculate our way to a path of action, we see the good that non-news can do. The bad is the familiar vibe of unsafety the doom and gloom slinging of social media drills into its users. We have a notion we’re shirking a responsibility if we don’t “keep up”. A once-a-day (maybe twice, three times…) glance at the headlines, trusting we’ll be alerted if anything astronomical happens, is a tough discipline…
But finding positivity is achievable, and calls for not feeling bad about turning your back on the newsfeed, for using the search bar to seek out the nice places…and for believing that positivity is a virtue of strength. The idea that bad things are more “real” than good things is inane. Let’s overpower it.
Next time, a view of speech and the business of content.
On Tuesday, “The Resident”, Deb’s fiancé discontented with her contentment. Wednesday, “Nedforum”, and Anton putting a puzzle together in his mind. Thursday, The Totem-Maker, Nur-Elom’s challenge to the zhatabe answered. Friday, Yoharie, the girls’ aunt trying to show them perspective, on their drive to the memorial service.
Images on my posts sometimes have a link to related information (click first image), sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical, sometimes in answer to a direct reference. Since people can be leery about links, I include them here: what they are, what sites they point to.
My Blog Week: May 8 to May 14