Rubbernecking with the Locals



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 happens.

Our irritation at how everyone is going slow turns into curiosity ourselves as we slow down and want to know what happened.

It’s called 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 terrible 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 not something that will add to meaning in my life.

I hope to fully believe that one day.

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