Whose idea was it to wake up to the news on NPR every morning? Probably my husband’s, since we both know I couldn’t program a simple clock radio to save my life.
Anyway, it used to be a good idea. We’d lie in bed and get semi-informed and doze off again to dream about bad news like melting icecaps and good news like — hallelujah! — we’re finally getting healthcare like every other enlightened, civilized nation in the world. Listen some, fall asleep, wake yourself snoring, listen some more, then finally ease yourself out of bed feeling smart and ready to take on the day. Just enough good news to keep you hopeful, just enough bad news to get you revved up about injustice and inequity and wholesale tragedy.
A good idea. For a while. But I have to face it: Its time has passed.
What’s happened? The news has gone from a precarious balance of good and bad to almost — correct me if I’m wrong — almost nothing but bad.
Economic measures down. Heart-rending stories of people out of work, houses foreclosed, families struggling — followed by the really great news that Wall Street is passing out bonuses as freely and indiscriminately as some people convey herpes.
Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq linger on, killing goes on, Mexico slides more deeply into violence, and —
Well, you get the point. Aside from momentary rays of light — like Tom DeLay’s recent conviction only two miles from our house, so I should probably get some credit — it’s grim these days. When I heard a commentator compare Obama to Jimmy Carter this morning, it was just too much. I rolled into fetal position and contemplated going into a coma.
This start to the day is just not working for me. So what are the options?
Ultimatums are always good. Refuse to get up till you’ve heard some good news. Fine, if you don’t mind staying in bed for weeks at a time.
Instead of stupid old public radio, listen to self-affirmations about how good you are, how wonderful, how fine. Never could take that shit seriously; would probably put me in a worse mood than the news, since it reminds me that, invariably, the worst people have the highest self-esteem. See Palin, Sarah, for details.
Learn to snore more loudly to drown out the news. Actually, both my husband and I are working on this quite successfully. It doesn’t seem to help that much.
Becoming more hard of hearing. This is also a work in progress.
Argue with the newscasters. Scream things like, “What’s your fucking proof for that?” Remember, this is NPR. By the time you scream, they’re already offering you proof. Too much proof. Will they never stop?
Listen to another radio station. We’re liberals. There is no other radio station.
Realize it isn’t the news that’s the problem. It’s your attitude toward the news. No, it’s the news.
Boycott the news. Become ill-informed and ignorant and far happier. You’re suggesting we become Republicans?
So, why don’t you stop whining and do something about it? What do you know? Finally, a decent point. Come to think of it, that’s probably how and why we manage to get up every day. After all, I’m just discouraged; I’m not dead yet.
(Copyright 2010 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Here’s one of my favorite posts about running with a tough early-voting crowd