“News”, the Great Distractor

Hipster Racist has one of the most amusing blog names around, writes a lot of 50 Shades of Gray-esque porn and believes 9/11 was an inside job. Or says he does. He also presents a series of posts full of facts about how the USG, CIA and a cast of thousands experimented with drugs, hypnosis and other mind control techniques for decades. This part of the presentation is so well-documented elsewhere, so old-news and so, well, mainstreamed, that we don’t think about it too much these days. I mean, all that LSD dosing is just historical, now. Our government, under the control of good liberals like Barack Obama (and George Bush and Bill Clinton) would never continue to experiment with mind control, in these enlightened days. That went out with the Cold War.

I’m sure.

The thing about the internet is that beside its utilitarian goodness it’s also the ideal platform for any number of elaborate shaggy dog stories. Or trolls inside of trolls. Just as “to cross again is not to cross,” the web facilitates the presentation of reality in such a way as to make said reality seem fantastic and unbelievable; but by adding an additional layer, the reality can be presented as only seeming fantastic and unbelievable because “They” have tried to suppress it. This is like catnip to a certain subset of high-IQ people, who are, or believe they are, the only ones who “get the joke.”

I am one such myself, so I would know.

Wag the Dog I:

If you follow The Daily Outrage, and if you look for trends based on what is in the media, you miss actual macro trends and instead are following a narrative, one that is constructed for you. Some of the events may be “real” but many are “staged.” When you watch TV, whether or not it’s “news” or “fiction” – that is what you are doing. Watching a video. You rarely know much about the context except what you are told.

We humans have an intense, indeed, hard-wired-in-the-brain need for “news.” For our ancestors, news was an utterly vital survival tool. Reports of approaching armies, animal migrations, fire and flood, bandits in the next valley and weather forecasts were the stuff that actuated the girding up of ones loins, fleeing, or preventative action of some kind. However, our ancestors living in, say, 1785 Boston, would not have been very interested in a sheriff being killed in England, in floods in Bangladesh or in famine in Western China. In fact, they would not have ever heard about such things at all, or would have done so only weeks, months or years later.

Now, of course, it’s different. For most of my life I’ve been a serious “consumer” of news; sheesh, I was reading the newspaper alongside my dad when I was five years old. During my employment in politics, the first thing I did everyday was scan Drudge, the local papers, a long list of websites, email notices, Google news alerts, etc., etc. It was supposed to be part of my job, and I loved it. What I didn’t realize was that this sort of thing tells the older parts of the brain that there is an emergency, now, DANGER, fire-flood-crime-kidnapped children-robbers-terrorists-mass shooters are nearby. And it’s not reality, not the whole of reality, it’s an abstract and sifting of all the bad-dangerous things in the world, plus the machinations of your political opponents (BOO!) and the triumphs of your political allies (YAY!).

Most assuredly, it is not what’s really important.

The other day, in one of my increasingly infrequent Tweets, I wrote that ” ‘Neoreaction’ ” is simply the analysis of the Good, the True and the Beautiful given Man’s current material and social condition.” The Good, the True and the Beautiful are, thankfully, not amenable to coverage from an MSNBC satellite truck parked outside the convenience store where the latest psych-drugged young male (with “alleged Tea Party connections”) is holding Grandma hostage. The Transcendentals are not dependent on Obama’s trading five terr scumbags who ought to have been shot for one Army deserter who ought to be shot, or the latest “budget deal,” or most anything you will find on the “news.” Scientific and philosophical discoveries and innovations, art, human accomplishment; yes these sneak in once in awhile, curiosities of a moment before we get back to a judge striking down another hateful “ant-gay marriage” law or constitutional provision that some poor deluded voters thought they were passing.

I’ve been trying to get off the “news,” but it’s a lot harder than quitting smoking tobacco or pot. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate about NRx is that it isn’t “reacting” to the news of the minute. It’s about a much larger subject.

Many of us spend a lot of time reading and watching and digesting and commenting on news instead of thinking and learning. I include myself.

Do what you can to do something else; read Aristotle, or Robert Heinlein, or just walk in the woods. There is more wisdom there than on any glowing screen.

When the hour of our death approaches not a single one of us is going to say, “I sure wish I’d spent more hours of my life consuming ” ‘news’ “; put that in your pipe, and smoke it.

3 thoughts on ““News”, the Great Distractor

  1. Pingback: “News”, the Great Distractor | Reaction Times

  2. Pingback: Signaler-In-Chief: Our HBO-Watching, Millennial-Pandering Hipster President | pundit from another planet

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