One of the things I've done in the past year is maintain a basic media blackout. I still stay informed about current news, but I no longer listen to NPR all day long. I no longer pay attention to "news" in the social media spaces. I read two newspapers, both well respected and both of the highest editorial standards. I do not read the whole paper.
A thing happened yesterday in Nashville that I'm sure many would claim is news. Our Mayor, the honorable Megan Barry, (a smart and talented woman who I'm proud to have in office) had an affair. I get it: She's a public official. This affair could distract her and others from the actual work of governance. It's news
- I guess.
Here's the thing: I saw it. I read it. I do not care.
Fresh outa fucks.
She didn't take advantage of an underling. She didn't pick up teenagers at the mall. She didn't hire a sex-worker to service her. She had an affair - stupid, unfortunate, distracting.
It turns out, our mayor - like a good portion of the other people on earth - is human.
I do not need to hear the details. I do not need to read about it, hear pundits spout off about it, watch morally-superior ass-hats opine about it. There's nothing I can do. It doesn't impact me. It's salacious. Nothing I hear in the news is going to inform me in a way that benefits me - or anyone else for that matter.
To read more or gawk in astonishment would be nothing short of an act of voyeurism. And that's the kind view. The less forgiving take would be to see continued reading and gawking in astonishment as simple schadenfreude. My fear is most of the people reading and commenting and gawking at this dumpster fire are gleeful about the suffering of others.
At the end of the day, the news that really needs to get to my eyes or ears does. I curate. I read stories from trusted publications. I read stories that impact me, either professionally or personally, in a direct way. I read stories that are well reported, well written, and meet the highest editorial standards.
I have slept better this past year. I have found more time to write. I have found more time to read. I have found more time to be present. I have found more time to take care of myself - and others.
Most of that found time comes directly from changing my media consumption habits. I no longer engage in drama-for-the-sake-of-drama conversations. I no longer get sucked into needless and meaningless "debate."
When people try to strike up a conversation about the salacious hot-take of the day, I now turn to them and politely say, "I'm fresh out of fucks. Saw it. Didn't read it. Don't care."