Okay, it’s official: I’m starting the media blackout.
Maybe it’s because I’m pregnant, and hypersensitive (as discussed at length in this space) or maybe it’s that there is a LOT of bad news lately. But whatever the reason, I’ve figured out that when I avoid most of the newspaper and skip past the news, I feel calmer. Less hopeless, less anxious. For some reason I’ve always felt a kind of obligation to keep abreast of media events, like if I don’t know the latest about Darfur or casualties in Iraq that I’m a bad person, or somehow shallow. But I also know that I’m kind of sponge-like, in terms of what I take in from the media: I can be just fine, and then read some awful story and the next thing I know I have to peel myself off the ceiling. (Okay, it’s not THAT bad, but you get the idea.) My mother keeps telling me to turn the news off, stop reading the paper, just stop, stop, STOP, but it’s easier said than done. Last night I opened up Jodi Picoult’s latest book, Nineteen Minutes, which my friend Dana lent me, and even it was too much (all about a school shooting, which, so soon after reading We Need To Talk About Kevin, maybe I should have realized was a bad idea).
At the same time, though, I don’t want to live in a total vacuum. So maybe there’s a middle ground, like an allotted amount of news I’m allowed each day, and no more. Kind of like Weight Watchers, and the point system. (Bianca and I were just having this conversation last night, actually, about how we wished there were point systems for ALL problems, not just those having to do with pounds. Maybe this is the wave of the future?) So I’m allowed one visit to CNN.com, the front page of the paper and…maybe a glimpse of Charlie Gibson, but no more? I will try,and report back on the results. If ignorance (or near ignorance) is truly bliss, I’ll let you know.
Meanwhile, I have a new hero, and her name is Rachel Smith. Why, you ask? Because, much like Carrie Bradshaw in my VERY favorite Sex and the City episode, she proves that when the worst thing possible happens, the best you can do is pull yourself together, smile, and just keep going. This is a good lesson to re-learn again, especially in the midst of revising a book (when I sometimes feel like I’m getting knocked down daily) and so much bad news. Then again, I wouldn’t have KNOWN about this clip without the news, so maybe it all evens out. At any rate, you go, Rachel! I’ll give you serious points—the good kind—for this one.