Lately it seems I’ve been doing a lot of reading. Unfortunately, what I’ve been reading has not necessarily been what I think I should be reading. What I should be reading – like, really, really should be reading – are all those lovely research articles and books that actually relate directly to my thesis-not-quite-yet-in-progress. (I swear I’ll finish my Master’s on time… really.) No, instead, what I have been reading is news.
Yep, news. And lots of it. Whether it’s the oft-updated drop-down of “Latest BBC Headlines” that comes standard as a Live Bookmark in Firefox or the seemingly exhaustive (and sometimes, exhausting) list of stories I see in my frequent trips to Google News, I have been reading the news like there’s no tomorrow. (Of course, to hear some journalists tell it, there might not be. Global collapse, anyone?)
Okay, so maybe I’m not reading every single story I see. I mean, let’s face it, do I really care that so-and-so is now playing for such-and-such team or that Actor X has broken up with Actress Y and is now dating Model Z? Sorry, just doesn’t matter to me. I can’t help but wonder, though, if in my desire to stay informed about everything else in the world, I might be going a bit overboard. Overdosing on reality. Filling myself up with stories that – in the long run – are not really all that relevant.
Granted, that might be the case for most people and for most of the news they take in. A lot of the stories we read, watch, or hear about are ones we probably didn’t need to know, anyway. And even more importantly, given the state of the world and how “negative” much of the news is, is it even healthy to take it all in if it doesn’t personally affect us?
But how do we know that it won’t affect us unless we know about it? And even if it doesn’t, even if a story’s about something taking place thousands and thousands of miles away on a different continent across an ocean in some farflung part of the world, isn’t it good to know about it, anyway? See how other people live, struggle, and (hopefully) survive? I ask myself these questions, but I’m not always sure of the answers.
In the quest to stay informed about the goings-on on this big little planet of ours, how much information is too much?