I don't want to be part of the drama of Boston, or West, or whatever's next. I am compassionate, I'll go give blood (which terrifies me) if needed, but leave me out of the news drama that will be driving all channels for the weeks to come. It's just my preference. I need to shield my own sensitive mind and emotional state from sensory overload. And mostly, for me, this involves news channels. (tv, web, radio) And today I choose to shut them down.
I remember the overload and overwhelm I felt watching the 911 video. Over and over again. I spiraled into the worst depression of my life. For many reasons. But I made a decision coming out of that experience to limit my TV news to almost zero. And to consciously regulate my exposure to mass media coverage of tragic events.
I care. I want to ACT in response to such brutal hate and fear. But I am better served, personally, to focus my critical attention on my life's priorities and the priorities of my children. And even, to a lesser extent, each of you.
So , when I asked to leave rather than listen to the developing events on NPR, it wasn't because I was afraid of what was happening, or that I was insensitive to the situation… I left quickly because the drama of that scene was streaming directly into my sensory system and I could not control or moderate it. AND I didn't really want my son embroiled in the middle of the manhunt and madness that ensued.
Instead we walked around the neighborhood and enjoyed a Friday night together. Talking about stuff. Playing games together. Being father and son.
I just wanted to share this moment of clarity, that was highlighted by the Boston drama that will swarm around all of us over the coming weeks. I don't slow down at car wrecks or try and get a better view of the victims. I go about my life, consciously, helpfully, and willfully trying to improve the lives of others and those around me.
So I'll stick with pictures of cats for a while. I don't need to see the bombers, the bomber's family, the bomber's teachers, hairdressers, coaches, therapists. I don't need to see the carnage that signals danger in our society. And the media feeding frenzy that is gearing up for a ratings-high week of NEWS, is more about selling Red Bull, new cars, and Vodka than it is about the truth. I'll seek the truth, with a little t. My own truth.
When your loved ones are addicted to the drama unfolding in the media, gently ask them to turn it down or turn it off. I will. I can't un-see this stuff. But I can slow down the bombardment of the images and sounds on myself and my immediate family.
The media circus surrounding the Boston Marathon Bombers does not serve you. It serves you up, to advertisers.
Help and love the ones around you.
A few additional thoughts:
- HUMOR: Final Tweets of the Boston Bombing Suspect (see, even I am guilty of creating "news" about it)
- The Information Overload of Social Media
I thought this article hit the media consumption problem, in my opinion, pretty head on.
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