Rubbernecking with the Locals

Rubbernecking Local News

We’ve all been there.

Bumper to bumper traffic. Lights ahead. An ambulance speeds by in the shoulder lane.

We inch by for a few minutes, and finally make it to the accident. Then something inevitable happenns:

OMG what happened!?!?! I need to brake and see what happened! Are they going to be OK? Do I know them? Is there…BLOOD?

Rubbernecking.

This is exactly what is happening in the local news. I’d like to give you a test to take right now:

  1. Go to your local news site.
  2. Count how many articles that fulfill this criteria:
    1. You will remember them a month from now
    2. You didn’t hear about them from another source
    3. They will affect your life in some way

I just did this as of this writing, on September 5. I counted zero articles. I think that you might come up with a similar amount.

What’s going on here?

We like knowing that no matter how bad things are for us, or how crappy our day is, there are at least a few people on the news that have it worse.

What value does this serve us? Logically speaking, absolutely none. This is a worthless activity. It isn’t even entertaining like sports. It has no significance in the lifes and livelihood of all but a very small number of people.

So I’m trying to wean myself off of my local news addiction. I’m not replacing it with anything. I’m just stopping. I’ve had varying degrees of success over the past few months, because I love reading the local news.

It’s worthless.

I hope to fully believe that one day.

 

 

Sports News: Soap Operas for People Who Make Fun of Soap Operas

sports talk radio

In the past I used to listen to The Ticket every day on the way to and from work. I would follow the local teams through ups and downs. When the Dallas Cowboys won their only playoff game in the last almost twenty years, I was turning on The Ticket to hear their analysis. When the Mavericks won their World Championship a few years ago, I celebrated with my friends on the Ticket.

Then I realized something:

Sports News is even more worthless than “Real” News.

Yes, you are hearing me correctly. I just finished outlining everything wasteful and dumb about CNN and Fox News, but I’m saying sports news is even worse than that. The difference: at least in “real” news we are talking about people’s lives and well being. In sports we are talking about a game using the same medium and tone that we talk about people’s lives and well being.

A couple of observations really hit this home for me:

Sports news loves the soap opera story. It’s funny to think that way, too, since so many sports fans are uber-masculine and would never admit to enjoying soap operas as entertainment. A few examples (as you read these in the tone of an airhead woman in her early twenties talking about a soap opera):

OMG did you hear about Ron WashingtonHe RESIGNED today as manager of the Rangers for personal reasons. Jon Daniels says it ISN’T about drugs. But who knows? I wonder how the players are feeling?

OMG did you hear about the number of penalties being called in NFL preseason? I wonder if, like, the NFL will call those during the REGULAR SEASON!?!?! This might like change the whole game.

OMG, did you hear that Wes Welker is SUSPENDED for FOUR GAMES for taking drugs? I wonder what drugs they are???? O….M…..G…..!?!?!?!

What is all of this about?

Just like the news, this is about sucking people into intrigue over things that don’t matter so they’ll be sitting there when the advertising comes on. It’s about selling you stuff you normally wouldn’t buy.

Does the nature of Ron Washington’s resignation matter? No.

Is there any effect that you can have on the number of NFL penalties by reading the article? No. No effect. You. Are. Wasting. Your. Time.

Does it matter what Wes Welker did or did not do? To him and his family, it means he makes a few hundred thousand less from multiple millions. To us, it means nothing.

It means nothing.

Let that sink in, sports fans.

This is entertainment. It’s not your life. It’s not your family. It’s not your livelihood.

It’s a business run by people who make a lot of money tricking you into thinking it matters.

With that in perspective, by all means go to a game or watch it on TV and enjoy. But leave it at that, and find better things to do with your time. Over time, even that will begin to fade away.

The Economist Keeps it Real

news

Over the past year I’ve grown to see the absolute insanity of following the news on normal news sites like CNN or Fox News. You might be thinking that I have no clue what is going on in the world. I do value being an educated person who knows about world events.

I have a secret weapon that helps me get this insight into the world without driving myself crazy day to day. [Read more...]

Escaping with the News

escaping the news

I was having a great time at a party at my house recently, when a friend of mine who is quite conservative started talking to me about the Benghazi incident of September 2012. He went on and on about how outrageous it is.

I respond, “I just don’t see how any of this is important or relevant to my life.”

With an outraged tone, he responds with eyes wide open in outrage, “You don’t think Benghazi is important???” [Read more...]

Escaping

Escaping

I get home from work and am daydreaming about a feature I need to add to my software as my son tells me about Minecraft.

I finally have a few moments of free time and spend them reading about movie stars and wars on the internet.

At work I have something really important to work on but I read the latest tech news instead, and I get involved in a long conversation with a colleague about office politics.

What is going on here? [Read more...]

Finding a Philosophy of Life

Philosophy

We realize that the default cultural script does not deliver on its promises. We need a new one. We need a philosophy of life. We need a framework of values and prescriptions that we can use as a starting point for living out our lives in such a way that they will be a beautiful work of art.

Before we get into the specifics of evaluating a particular philosophy of life, I’ll define my requirements for it: [Read more...]

Life is Art

Life as Art

Earlier this year, I was pretty excited about some drastic changes we had made in our lifestyle. Whenever I’m excited about something, I must tell someone and my friend at a dinner party at my house was no exception. I excitedly pointed out all the ways that simplicity has led us to a life of greater contentment and tranquility.

I could sense my friend becoming increasingly uncomfortable.

“Well, not everyone can live that way.” [Read more...]

Getting There with Metro Arlington Express (MAX)

Metro Arlington Xpress

Last week my family spent the week at my childhood home in Arlington with my mom. We had a great week of organization, projects, and best of all: my favorite food from my childhood.

My mom lives in Central Arlington, southwest of UTA. I work near the TRE Centreport station, so I decided to try something a bit different:

I didn’t take my car for the entire week. [Read more...]