Many people cannot believe it when I tell them that I do not watch television. I do not have cable, Direct TV, a satellite, or even an antennae. I make a point to stay off the media grid, but I’m not living completely in the dark ages.
What I do have is a TV monitor, a DVD\VHS player (okay, so the VHS part is heading toward the dark ages), a collection of movies, and a Netflix account. Once or twice a week you might find me watching something for an hour or two, but that is the extent of my video entertainment life.
As for the other fingers of the media, such as the newspaper, radio and internet, I limit their infiltration into my world as well. I glance at the front page of the newspaper at work no more than once a week. I rarely listen to radio. Even my computer, which I use all day long, spends very little time on news sites.
Its not that I want to remain blissfully ignorant, its just that there are only so many hours in the day. I have other, more important things I want to focus on. Not only that, but I don’t want to be so immersed in all the bad news that it disheartens me and makes me doubt not only my own future but the future of mankind as a whole.
I must admit, though, that I feel bad about not staying more informed. I feel like I am burying my head in the sand and pretending that the only world out there is my own little world. Since it isn’t, I feel that I have been not only an irresponsible citizen but an irresponsible human being.
Most people would agree. In fact, last month I met a fellow who brought up the heat wave in India that was claiming thousands of lives. I admitted that I knew nothing of it, and when he learned that I live off the media grid he was astounded.
“How could you not watch TV?” he asked in shock. “How could you not want to know what’s going on with global warming? I doubt we’ll even live through the next 20 years!” I wanted to tell him that that is the very reason I don’t want to know. I also wanted to tell him that I don’t buy into the whole man-made global warming rhetoric being fraudulently imposed on us as fact. But since he already appeared outraged, I decided it best to keep my mouth shut.
Still, I know that it is time for me to stop being a news-ostrich. An informed citizenry is essential to a democracy, and it is time I get back to doing my part. So, today, I changed my ways. I perused some online news sites, read an article about Greece’s financial crisis, and familiarized myself with the 2016 Presidential Candidates.
I was glad I did and I feel better already. That doesn’t mean I am going to let the mainstream media brainwash me, but I am going to make more of an effort to stay on top of local, national and world events. I might be quirky for living off the media grid, but I certainly don’t want to be ignorant!