Unplugged From Reality

Swamp TV.

Hows that for a dark, depressing image?

This is what keeping up with news and current events does to my creative mind.  It makes it a barren wasteland where nothing grows.

I’ve had a long term policy of not watching the news and reading very little of it either.   This started a year or two after I graduated undergrad because after ODing on news coverage of the World Trade Center bombing, I simply couldn’t take it anymore.  The news, almost 100% of it reported on TV–IS BAD.  It depresses me, saps my creative energies, and adds to an already considerable propensity to worry.  And 99.9% of the time, I can do absolutely nothing about the state of world affairs.  So I decided that there was no good reason to keep up with things, and I unplugged myself.

I’ve been criticized for being ill-informed about the “issues”. 

My more politically inclined friends were driven to distraction by my refusal to get sucked in by all the debates and campaign crap surrounding the last Presidential election.  “But you can’t make an informed decision!”  Actually, yes, I did make an informed decision.  I was pretty well convinced our country was going to hell in a handbasket no matter which candidate got elected.  The one I liked didn’t win the primary.   I don’t say that to start any kind of political discussion here because I abhor politics.  All candidates make promises that they can’t or don’t keep once they reach office.  Honest politicians don’t get elected.  Fact of life, end of story.  It all comes back to that bad news thing.

Now I keep up with financial and tax news–the stuff that most directly does affect me.  I follow along with some of the news and current events in the writing world, given that that’s more relevant to me and certainly more interesting than a lot of the news out there.  And honestly, I can’t say that my life has been in any way diminished by having no clue what’s going on in most of the world.   I spend so much of my time in my head to begin with that staying unplugged from the bleak realities makes it far easier to escape into those fictional worlds.  And I think my work is the better for it.  I know I am psychologically more stable by limiting the negativity I’m exposed to.

Given the high rates of depression in our country and the very bleak months or years on the horizon, it might not be bad for others to follow my example.

2 thoughts on “Unplugged From Reality

  1. Sometimes I really think the “being formed about the issues” line is BS. The news is a form of twisted entertainment and people watch it like they watch train wrecks. The justification for watching such negative crap all the time is ‘being informed about the issues” but toward what end?

    Are you actually getting out there and doing something, or are you just passively watching the screen and saying: “Boy that’s a shame.” or “Man, that’s something else for me to worry about.”

    The television in general, not just the news, but commercials, is REALLY bad for my mental state. So, except for Tuesday when I go to my mom’s house and watch “The Biggest Loser,” I just skip it.

    Zoe Winters´s last blog post..Upping the Ante, Win a free book!

  2. I agree. I check every morning to make sure the world hasn’t blown up while I was asleep, but over all, I don’t watch more than maybe thirty minutes of it. It is depressing and I don’t dream or write much when I watch the news. I watched like a fanatic over the election, but now that all the hype has died down and the news is boring again, I don’t watch lol. It’s a good strategy, because like you said, there’s really not much I can do to change things.

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