Turning Off the “News”

Yes, It’s Really Okay to Reduce Our Exposure to the Global Info Onslaught

Douglas Rushkoff

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Photo by Jan Canty on Unsplash

Thanks to recent flooding in my part of the country, I’ve been too busy digging myself and my neighbors out of the mud to watch the news or scroll through Twitter. Not surprisingly, I am better for it.

Somehow, even without the benefit of either Glenn Greenwald’s tweets or Rachel Maddow’s rants, I’m still aware of what’s going on in the world. I get the newspaper on my doorstep, and email headlines in my inbox. I know about climate change, the California governor recall election, and the new citizen-informant system in Texas for people to turn in neighbors who try to get abortions after five weeks. But, having “dropped out” just after Joe Rogan recovered from Covid, I don’t know who is winning the argument over whether it was the expensive monoclonal antibodies that saved him, or the much maligned ivermectin. I don’t know whether Obama, Trump, or Biden is currently being blamed for misreading the Taliban the worst. I don’t even know who was canceled last week, if Bitcoin is up, or if Newsmax ever figured out that the guy they’ve been putting on their air as Paul Wolfowitz is really one of the YesMen.

Instead, I’ve been part of an ad hoc crew of locals and volunteer firefighters bailing out each other’s basements, shoveling mud from living rooms, carrying busted hot water heaters to the curb, and making meals for those without kitchens. We are an ideologically and economically (if not racially) diverse community of the vaxed and unvaxed, masked and unmasked, who may differ on whether this is a once-in-a-lifetime extreme weather event or the new normal.

But our common commitment to mutual aid, sharing resources, and comforting the truly devastated far outweighs those differences — which were themselves largely manufactured by political and corporate interests who do not have our best interests at heart, anyway. Sure, we can spend our time watching incendiary YouTubes or reading whichever Substack writer stokes our rage the best, or we can get to the real work of making our communities as resilient as possible.

Is it important to know what’s going on in the world? Sure it is. All citizens are activists to a certain extent. Our votes matter, and so does our direct…

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Douglas Rushkoff

Author of Survival of the Richest, Team Human, Program or Be Programmed, and host of the Team Human podcast http://teamhuman.fm