Class By Paul Fussell
Feminism 101: Women Hate Women

Disconnecting

I had just started my first year of law school when I walked into the cafeteria for breakfast.  "Did you hear the news," Brad asked me?  "Huh?" is all I could reply.  Our conversation continued:

"The World Trade Center had been bombed." 
"Oh, fuck.  Who do they think did it?"
"Bin Laden."
"Is that an eco-terrorist?"

I was college grad, in a professional school, and I had no idea who Bin Laden was.  I also had never seen an episode of Seinfeld, had hardly watched a movie in several years, and could not identify any of the numerous celebrities I encountered.  But, boy, did I read a lot.

I was tuned out.  In nearly five years, I may have watched 10 hours of television.  And I never really watched it.  Being in the room when it was on was as far as I went.  The only movie I watched was Pumping Iron; though I did watch that several times.  I rarely dated, viewing that as a waste of time, and instead had my needs met through occasional college-bar hopping.

Life was good.

People in college would always say, "How can you not know current affairs?"  My stock answer was pretty simple.  By reading the wisdom of the ages, I know more about current events than anyone who casually followed the news.  I might not know the superficial, but I had a deeper understanding of how the world worked. 

Then again, the world is simple.  People are apes.  Remember that and you'll never need to tune into the news to be reminded of what specific things the apes are doing.

And yet, it's years later and I'm informed.  I follow the news. 

Why?  Isn't following the news frivolous and pointless?

First of all, the news doesn't reflect what's really going on.  News is entertainment.  Every drooling fool watches some form of "the news."  So how can 8-minute sound bites be edifying?

Second, what is presented is usually inaccurate.  The media has never accurately reported issues I know a great deal about - whether it's something simple to understand like steroids (no, they won't make your nuts fall off) or something somewhat more complicated like a Supreme Court case.  It's all spin.

Third, even if I know what's going on, so what?  I'm not an activist, so if the media were educational, there would still be a reality disconnect.

Fourth, the Big News is the presidential election.  We have the following choice: A war monger who would rape our treasuries and ruin our economy by invading Iran.  Or a spendthrift who would rape our treasuries and ruin our economy through disastrous tax policies.  Why watch?

Besides, sometimes it's more fun closing your eyes when sledding down steep hills.  Since we're going to hit a tree with eyes open or closed, we may as well enjoy the ride down.

So lately I've been following little of what's reported in the news.  I don't read any newspapers, I only follow the links to the sensational items listed on Drudge (UFOs spotted in England!), and the TV is turned off.

I follow some legal stories, if only because that gives me some blogging material.  Some folks who I like actually like my blogging about legal affairs.  So I still look for good material.  Other than that, I'm becoming ignorant.

So ignorant that I've read three books already.  Even when working long hours, by not being an "informed citizen," I have lots of spare time to read.

You should trying becoming igorant.  By week's end you might find that you actually learned something.

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