Why do we humans have such a predilection with following “the news?”
I know why I do it: I was a newscaster in a top 15-market by age 21. News Director of an AM/FM combo in the same top 15-market (Seattle) by age 23. And I stayed in the news game for a fair period of time: 13-years, almost to the day.
In the process, I had met one president (Gerald Ford), learned to play poker on a corporate Lear jet from the then-head of the Senate Armed Services committee, met every politician and porn star of the 1970-1983 that I cared to, and (most fortunately for me) many of the finest writers of the era. Bach, Gann, Michener, L’Amour…the list goes on seemingly forever.
Every day was a rush. Not always in the adrenaline way, although being pinned down by gunfire, dropping by a mass murder scene, or sitting in the first couple of rows at a headliner tour – that was cool and all.
But in the end, what did all that time “chasing down the news” mean.
You might have guessed by that new favorite song I hinted at in the column Monday, I’m still self-aware enough to ask “Once in a While” what am I doing?
I actually made a list of things that UrbanSurvival has been about – and it is a changing list from what we are doing around here today.
Back in the day when this site was started up, the content was almost 100% financial with a heaping order of Long Wave Economics. That’s not a huge audience-builder, though, so we evolved into the study of future events – something that continues largely thanks to the good graces of Grady who keeps evolving the code for our www.nostracodueus.com site.
Yet curiously, some of the best insights into the future around here come from every-day dreams. But isn’t it a bit of a stretch to make life decisions based on something as flimsy was dreams?
If I had to put it all in a single bucket today, I figure UrbanSurvival should be mostly about making sense of the news.
A long time ago, I remember talking to a reporter who worked for one of the All News operations in the early days. Ron was his name. Damn fine reporter who later died prematurely of one of those diseases we all hope we never get.
He was telling me one day about what a major consulting firm had been talking with the news and assignment editors about. Basically it came down to health, heart, and pocketbook – the second time I heard it was from another reporter I’d hired – a fellow by the name of Frank who is also a widely published science fiction writer in addition to being a highly skilled communicator.
Health, heart, and pocketbook may not seem to take in all of it; and obviously it does not. It’s close, though.
There are some base human instincts that come into play while watching the news. Elaine, being a typical (well-read) human watches the news on, oh, CBSgo for example and I can almost see her weighing each story that comes by.
It’s almost like she’s looking for some way to fit the information into her life in a meaningful way.
I went through the headlines on Google Monday afternoon to summarize the news – as it pertains to Elaine. Here’s what I came up with:
Michael Bloomberg is not running president. E likes Trump, and she knows Bloomberg has no chance, so this is a fine example of what I like to toss on the bonfire of useless news.
Drudge went even further with “Bloomberg Bails on ‘16 Bid.” Read my lips: Most people who make a billion, or so, aren’t stupid. GMAFB.
Sanders says Clinton is mischaracterizing his stance on the auto bailout. Check me on this: I only know two people who will be voting for Bernie, only one who will vote for Clinton and everyone else is about 60-40 Trump over Cruz. So how is this “useful data?”
Hacker ‘Guccifer’, who uncovered Clinton emails, extradited to USA… This might verge on interesting, if you were his insurance agent and sold him a high dollar whole life policy.
Did Nancy Reagans War on Drugs Backfire? No, we enjoyed them very much. Seriously? Sure, it’s worth knowing that Nancy Reagan passed. It’s not worth it to go into a media whores dress up like paid mourners deal about it. Screw that. Great woman, gone, end of story except for the Wiki entry. Since the media are scrambling to all search out the definitive last word, how about I help ‘em? Dead. Sort of sums it up, don’t it?
Payton Manning announcement retirement from the NFL. Another useless bit of news unless you are his accountant, or he’s a beer-drinking buddy. But do you really want to live in a country where people speak nonsensical statistical gibberish about sports? No?
Amazon plans to open a physical bookstore in San Diego. Not news for us and it’s too far to drive.
North Korea threatens nuke strike on U.S. and South Korea. The old man did it and nothing happened. Kid’s going to do it, too, unless someone takes him out back. Is it worth worrying about? Only if you are an F-117 driver or Pentagon war gamer. The rest of us can go back to our meditation.
The Libyan War may spill over into Tunisia. There goes another neighborhood, expansion of the global caliphate and all. But ultimately the whole Middle East and North Africa is a sidewalk fair for arms dealers.. Our only involvement is paying for it and there we don’t have any choice.
Naked dancing woman on top of big rig ties up 290 traffic in Houston, This is only useful at the time it happened so hitting the wires doesn’t do anything useful except for amusement value.
Like “Oh, see, people are crazy in Houston, too…” which we’ve long known. This is like another thumb on the scale is all.
Young woman who survived Boston Marathon bombing killed in Dubai car crash. So sorry. I didn’t know her, you didn’t know her. This is a fine example of the media making up great stories out of useless data points flowing into our eyes. What was she doing in Dubai? THAT is the only thing that would make the story interesting, but the WaPo didn’t come to that. Just that it was a personal trip. To freaking DUBAI??? Awe, come on, tell me something useful…
Is the world any better of a place for stories like this about Kim Kardashian? I don’t think that’s too difficult to answer, is it?
So if there a point to this morning’s short lil rant?
I’ll leave it to you:
1) None. I think it’s important that I overdose on useless information and I really need to know because when a Pacific storm sweeps ashore and brings rain to Arizona, and a cooling trend to West Text, and then lights up thunderstorms in the ArkLaTex, then moves into Mississippi where it throws up 250 mobile homes and kills three…why that’s something I need to know about at least 4 days in advance so I can plan my commute on I-95 in Broward County/Miami…
2) Yeah, I get it. 90% of the so-called news is really useless shit that we can’t do anything about so why fill up your mind with stuff that you can’t translate to advantage? I turn off Caitlin and Kardashian stories already. But I’m down with the reminder.
There…now, while I wait for my blood pressure to come back to normal, I will do some directed meditations with Zeus the Cat. Go price that new theremin on Amazon. .
Here, kitty, kitty. Seen my meds?
Write when you break-even or break out of the news addiction…