Wandering with my eyes and heart open, searching for pieces to add to my own personal big picture.

Tag: media

Media B.S. and Scientific…ahh, who am I kidding?!

Two quotes about media b.s. and scientific challenges from the essay “The Role of the Heretic” in the chapter “Other Aberrations” in The Roving Mind by Isaac Asimov.

“Supply the public with something amusing, that sounds scholarly, and that supports something it wants to believe, and surely you need nothing more.”

Sounds familiar. This is what we get from today’s “news,” social media, and politicians. When you ask anyone where they are getting their data, or what study or finding they are paraphrasing, you are accused of either not having an “open mind” or being “anti-science.”

“I hope scientific orthodoxies never remain unchallenged. Science is in far greater danger from an absence of challenge than from the coming of any number of even absurd challenges. Science, unchallenged, can become arthritic and senile, whereas the most absurd challenge may help to stir the blood and tone the muscles of the body of science.”

Unchallenged scientific orthodoxies are the same as religions. They both only wish to keep their power and control the masses so that things continue the way they want them to.

And…that’s all I’ve got today. Not very inspiring, I know.

The trouble this morning is that I promised myself I’d write SOMETHING every day and then post SOMETHING, even if it’s not worth posting. Do you think that’s too much? I’m talking about an hours’ worth of work each day. I really don’t think that is too much to ask of myself. But here we are…struggling to keep up.

And what about tomorrow? One day a week I leave the house at 7am to drive down the hill and visit friends. I don’t have time to write before I go. No big deal, right? I mean, it’s only one day and I have a legitimate reason. But I’ll have another this weekend when we leave on our mini vacation for our anniversary. That’s two days, maybe three.

My initial solution was to write two posts today and schedule one to come out tomorrow morning, but then I woke up angry and tired from a bad dream and just couldn’t get into writing anything at all. I decided what I really needed to get my brain off the dream and into work mode was some breakfast and coffee. Then I started texting a friend about that stupid dream. My mother-in-law called and asked me to pick something up at the store for her later. Then I thought, “Screw this. I’ll read some more and then write while my son needs the livingroom silent for his class.”

I showered, started the laundry, chatted with a friend, ate more tasty things (still thinking about a tasty lunch), sat down to my computer, and decided I needed to clean up some photo files first…

Yeah. You see where this is going.

But here I am now. FINALLY. At the laptop. Sitting in my bed instead of my office because it’s not comfy at all. My husband is working at his desk on the other side of the room. Luckily, he’s not on the phone right now.

My head hurts. I need more coffee. How long is that kid going to be in class?! The laundry will be done soon. It’s hot again today. I’m starting to think summer won’t end this year. First Covid bullshit and now infinite summer.

All of this angst is because I had a bad dream, a few of them in a row actually. I woke up tired and cranky. What I need is a nap and there is no room to hide in today.

But that’s ok because I DID write SOMETHING, and I am going to post it. For posterity, of course. And I believe I’m hilarious, especially when I’m being pissy. Win!

Go back to my first post, “The Roving Mind: New Read” to read more about this book.

A Little Reverse Oreo For You – Light Dark Light


I originally wrote this back in August but set it aside. I may have been in a bad mood when I wrote it and was feeling too good the next day to post it, or maybe I lost it in the shuffle of my ideas pile, but today I opened it and read it again, wondering if I should clean it up and share it. I think I will. It’s still true but with one little shining star.

Over the last few weeks, as the coronavirus crisis feelings began to swell, I’ve noticed that most of my friends on Facebook are posting positive things. They’re sharing ideas about what to do to help, photos of their kids playing, and the positive stories about their neighborhoods and times we’ve gotten through a crisis in the past. It’s been more positive than negative, but there are a few “Debbie Downers” that feel compelled to share the shitty things they’ve witnessed. I’m ignoring them as best I can.

The tv news is a different story. I don’t usually watch tv news, but I’ve come across it more often lately and it’s just…I don’t even know how to describe it. I wish they’d repeatedly show something helpful, instead of the long lines at the store or the empty shelves. It’s more helpful to hear what we do know about the virus and the reasons behind the steps we’re being asked to take to slow it down. Instead, we have to search the internet for that information while we watch people break down in tears because they can’t find a parking space at Costco (which, by the way, I do almost every time I go there).

How can we fix the news? I have no idea, but we do have control over what we each personally share on our social media pages. Share love, share light, share helps, not fear. Here’s what I wrote back in August, after a mass shooting.

“Whenever anything ugly happens, the vultures come to feed on the remains.” That’s what I wrote in my journal today. I can’t stand to watch. The “news” media is there, being pushed back by the victims and the rescuers, to “report” on what’s happening. Why? They have no idea other than what they see. The only difference between them and anyone else there is that they have a camera and a huge audience. They receive and repeat rumors and speculation to millions of people that otherwise would not be affected by the event. Why? To get ratings and sell commercials. The whole thing makes me sick.

And then when someone tells them to leave, they get huffy: freedom of the press, I’m here for the people, the people need to know what’s going on. I call bullshit. You are there to feed off the carnage, to sensationalize a tragic event for ratings. What you are “reporting” isn’t helping anyone.

I keep hearing people say we need to “stop hate” and “end violence” but, in my opinion, that’s treating the symptom, not the disease. Most people react to despair with violence, against themselves and others. If you want things to get better, stop sharing and promoting despair.

Every day I watch my friends post their own version of despair and share with others. The environment is being destroyed. Global climate change is beyond help. Disease is spreading uncontrollably. Government is creating tyrants and taking over your life. The world is fucked beyond anyone’s control. And it’s the white people, the immigrants, the Muslims, the poor, the rich, the democrats, the republicans, etc. that are doing it to us! It’s that person or group’s fault. If we just got rid of them…

With every new tragic event across the world, the tv news sweeps in to spread the word. We blame it on the “media” but really it’s us. We watch. We share. We join in the chaos and add our own, 24/7, right there in the palm of our hands. It’s all too much. No wonder people are losing their minds. Some drown themselves in drugs and alcohol. Some in hedonism. Some in outward violence, taking as many people with them as they can.

Yes. Crappy things are happening. They always have and always will. But generally, when a crop fails, a man gets angry and shoots his neighbor, or parent succumbs to depression and hurts a child, it doesn’t have an effect on the whole world. But when you highlight it with a few emotionally charged pictures and words and then share it…you make it affect the whole world. You make everyone feel it, not just those in the immediate area.

That’s where I was back in August. It was a pretty dark day. Lucky for you, I don’t typically stay there. I’m too squirrel-like in my attention to sit and brood in darkness. There are far too many pretty and fun things in my immediate surroundings for my mind to dwell on.

I changed my own social media feed that day. I do post pictures of my cat, the pretty bird I saw, the movie I went to see, and the book I read. I try to spin the negative as much as possible. There has been a rant or two, which I promptly took down when I realized that my emotions took control of my thumbs. Telling you how angry I am at the grocery store clerk that squished my bread doesn’t solve anything.

I leave the politics to the politicians and the medical advice to the doctors and nurses. But I am a human (so far as I know) practitioner of peace and that’s what I offer the world right now: a little joy, a little peace, and a lot of love (from afar…you know “social distancing”).

Maybe We Could Take Off The “People Suck” Glasses for a Moment

Ok, I’ll jump on the coronavirus bandwagon! I wasn’t going to, but a few things came together over the past week and I thought, wow…I should say something about this, and it’s not “wash your hands.” It’s about hoarding…and it’s not what you’re probably thinking.

I try to avoid going shopping in the afternoon as a rule. There are just so many people there and I get like a crabby old lady shaking my cane at all the slackers. I shouldn’t act like that. I shouldn’t react to other humans as if they are just NPC’s in my game, but…sometimes…really? That makes me feel bad about myself, so I keep my supplies shopping down to once a month and in the morning if possible. It’s just better for all of us.

Last week was especially trying. I’d begun to hear through social media memes about toilet paper hoarding and empty shelves where the hand-sanitizers used to sit, but I assumed it was a fluke of one store or a few in larger cities that the media had gotten ahold of and spun into “news.”

I didn’t expect it here in the rural desert, but there I was heading down the aisle for some tissues and laundry soap, faced with a completely empty shelf where the disinfectant spray used to be stacked. I stopped and huffed. What in the world? I took a picture of it and texted it to my husband. “I can’t believe it.”


My ACTUAL Picture of the Stores Shelves

When I got home, I grumped about the situation. People over-reacting. Hoarding toilet paper of all things. You do know you CAN live without it, right? There was more to grump about. My other errands included picking up packages at the post office and a quick grocery store run that turned sour (probably because of my bad mood), but those are stories for another day.

Suffice it to say that I had a stressful trip into town. I washed my hands, put things away, washed my hands again, and then got myself a nice shot of Irish whiskey on ice. I needed it.

But that’s not the end of my story!

Over the next few days, I started seeing Facebook posts griping about “hoarders” in our time of crisis and suddenly, something dawned on me. I don’t think people are hoarding supplies at all.

Think about it. The store gets a delivery once a week to restock any items that people typically buy in one week. We don’t all buy the same items every week, so they don’t restock ALL of any one product each week, especially things like cleaning supplies.

Let’s take disinfectant spray as an example since that’s what I saw firsthand. Let’s say the shelf I saw held 1000 cans of spray. Not everyone uses one can every week. Not everyone even uses it at all. I don’t. Let’s say again, hypothetically because I didn’t, I heard on the news that it would be a good idea to spray things down with disinfectant during this epidemic, so on my next shopping trip, I pick a couple cans up.

Now, there are approximately 40,000 people in our area, so even if half of that many people all watch the news and decide to do the same thing in the same week, the store will run out this week. And probably next week too.

That’s not hoarding. It’s what happens when everyone changes their behavior suddenly. No one is being a terrible person. Everyone is just doing the next logical thing. We’re not monsters. We’re just taking precautions to protect our families like the news suggested we should.

I don’t believe people are generally horrible. My family will laugh at that statement, but I think they’d agree that although I do get a little snippy with people, in general, I believe people are capable and good.

I DO believe our social media behavior is shabby. We see something going on in the world, but we don’t think logically about it, or give people the benefit of the doubt. Then we react to people and events before even thinking things through. And now that we can broadcast those thoughts immediately to everyone we know, things just look uglier than they really are.

It’s gotten to the point where I, myself, have been afraid to do something because of how it might be reported on social media or how it may look to a passerby. That’s just not healthy. That’s something we need to change.

It seems like a vicious cycle. One person sees something and accuses, posts about it, others see it and jump on the wagon. We read it and begin to think, “What’s wrong with people?” And then we begin to think everyone is ugly. Then we see something through our “people suck” glasses and begin to see more of it everywhere and accuse them. The cycle repeats.

What if instead, we started assuming positive intent in everyone around us? What if, instead of jumping to accuse people of wrongdoing, we took a breath and thought it through? We could look at our own behavior and try to see a reason why a fellow human is doing something. It could just make the world a much friendlier place.

I’m glad I resisted the urge to post my photo and disapproval of my neighbors on social media and simply complained to my family instead. Maybe next time I’ll not be so easily frustrated, assume positive intent, and come home in a much better mood to my family.

Surprised by Media Bias

It’s amazing to me how many people will get upset about skewed and biased news media reports of an incident and then go on to believe the next one so easily. They spout the things they’ve learned about bias as if only that particular outlet does it. Their favorite one doesn’t. They’re honest.

The truth is every news outlet is biased one way or another. No one reports what happened. They all report what they see through there own lens. And that lens can be very warped for one reason or another. Every one of us will do the same. We don’t see anything from someone else’s point of view without a metric crap ton of effort that most of us just don’t have the time or energy for.

So what can you do? Remember that and not act on it, not react to reports. If you find yourself interested in the report, seek out other points of view from places opposite yours. Piece it together and you’ll get a better picture but remember that you’ll never get the whole picture regardless. Act in mercy and understanding regardless of what you find. You weren’t there. You don’t know those people.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén

%d bloggers like this: