September is almost over. Two hundred and five days have passed since I started isolating during this pandemic. As someone who loves traveling, it has been challenging to stay in place. Six months later, I have begun to feel comfortable with the idea of not going anywhere.
It has allowed me to read and explore new topics — from climate change to the science of materials to the future of food. The time saved from not being in motion allowed me to connect with some smart brains rethinking our future and what we need to do to live with all the swamping changes.
Maybe that is why I am a little less interested in the political drama around TikTok — which feels like a reality TV show at times. The wall to wall coverage of such issues is distracting us from the real problems we face as a society. While the media has always been attracting attention, it has now become the hunger games of eyeballs. The manufactured outraged and narrative-driven coverage is nothing more than taking toying with attention for the sake of profits.
The New York Times (which is as hypocritical as every other media entity) recently wrote about Jeff Zucker, head of CNN, who has cynically used Donald Trump to boost his network ratings. You read the story, and you come to a conclusion — for the media establishment, it is all one big reality show. Every bit of news and non-news is atomized to the point that it takes more time to comprehend a story than it takes to churn it out.
The pandemic and pandemic politics have only revealed that we live in an information environment that is often dehumanizing and devoid of values. Anger, fear, and divisiveness have become the common themes in the words and images that flow into the stream of our lives. The best thing to do is to restrict your news consumption to a handful of publications. I have written about this in the past, and you can read it here. And get off the social platforms — they don’t deserve the importance we accord them.
September 21, 2020. San Francisco