I started reading Hoaxed by Mike Cernovich yesterday, and it provided me with a great context for the last couple of years of fake news. All of it comes and goes so quickly it moves us as a society from one outrage to the next and doesn’t actually accomplish anything.
One of the interviews in there, which I think was with Ryan Holiday, said (paraphrasing): don’t confuse discussion on the news on social media for civic activism. The kind of riled up mentality online doesn’t add anything to civic discourse or doing anything constructive. And I found that to be something sobering.
We’re all online now, all regularly hitting the news stories of the day in one way or another, and it doesn’t seem to do much good for life. What good does even having information on “what might happen to Kavanaugh” do for us? It’s like an adrenaline jolt to get us to worry, keep us focused on things outside of our control, and at the end of the day doesn’t matter.
Even as an online journalist myself, I’ve found myself consuming a lot less news in the last several months, and I’ve been much happier for it. I don’t really want to fill my head with whatever narrative the press wants us to get outraged about today. I don’t want to be outraged at all. It’s not a fun state of being to be in after awhile — it’s very tiring and taxing, and that just slows me down in creating the books I love.
It seems to be the only solution I can offer: turn off the talking heads. I’ve seen it in stats myself a lot on the blog. If I have something happen to me in sci-fi or write about a friend where something terrible is going on and it’s due to politics, views shoot through the roof. If I write about “hey I read these zorro comics” people tune completely out and views go way down. It’s really odd how it happens even over the span of just one article, but it’s there.
Food for thought this morning.
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