The news often ruins my digestion. Not because it is bad news mind you. I’ve made peace with the fact that the world isn’t peaceful long ago.
No, the news ruins my digestion because it’s artificial. To be more precise, it ruins my digestion, because recently it has become crassly artificial. It’s a bacchanal of Tupperware and plastic confetti.
The news is artificial by nature so artificiality in and of itself isn’t the source of my dependence on Pepto Bismol. Yes, the news is artificial, But that does not mean it has to revel in it. Unwholesomeness of this sort will ruin anyone’s digestion.
So how is the news artificial exactly?
It’s artificial because it is by its very nature a representation. Most representations today are far from representative of the truth. The ones that hit really close to home still miss the exact mark because they are facsimiles. See: Xerox loses fidelity with each copy, the whisper game, etc.
This inescapable fact of the nature of news means that you have some serious digesting to do.
It means my friends that you are going to have to READ the news and not just hear or see the news.
While both audio and video recordings have their merits, and can be revisited as often as one likes, there is still much to be said for the static black and white of print.
First its immersiveness, and its cognitive effects promote deeper learning; that is less encumbered by the visual tricks of a news mink’s legs, or the tonal ploys of a beseeching moral crusader.
While lots of devilry is possible through turns of phrase, white lies, and outright chicanery these things are less pernicious in print. They are less pernicious because they are easier to spot and there is less of a blend between the real and virtual world.
The virtual world of a corporate news room, or talk radio broadcast is really good at getting in your head, because it is your heads native environment rendered electrically. When someone says something convincingly, or a sexy charming sort claims to be objective, you may know better but these messages will permeate deeper. They will permeate deeper without being properly digested.
The reason that I favor and profess the merits of print is because it gives you a broader space for assessment. The rapid fire bombardment of multi-sensory information that happens with audio and visual news services doesn’t give you adequate time to digest. Which means that there is a greater likelihood that you will come away having assimilated more views without assessment than you may have realized.
Print just stays there staring you in the face. It is because of this stasis that you can get a better feeling for the fact that ‘things can be found out.’ Things can be traced back.
Reading you see promotes further reading. Therefore it promotes research. Because when something you either fancy ,or despise is sitting there, staring at you in all its static glory: you want to know why it’s correct or detestably false.
And you know that you can do it, because you know that very likely there is somewhere supporting statements, that are also black and white. Thus you participate in a culture of deeper searching and thinking.
When I listen to news banter, or hear of the latest from this or that event, my impulse is more often to chat with friends or blast out an opinion column. However when I read I think deeper and reach for more sources.
I think the case for reading is actually stronger today with the advent of the internet. Because with the internet you can dig through much more things almost instantaneously.
The world, especially today is incredibly complex, and monumentally nuanced. We must visit and revisit issues ad infinitum because there is always something new to be gleaned in the old. Such is honesty, such is philosophy, such is science. We now have more tools than ever to do this well on a grand scale. Therefore we have a duty.
Yes, because of all that I’ve mentioned and the nature of technology: I have to say that reading news is a duty. That thinking about news is a duty. That rereading news is a duty. That perhaps even columnisting, blogging, book writing of your own is a duty.
It is a duty just like making sure that your gut is healthy is a duty.
Eat your fiber lest you get the runs and die.