faux noose


When George W. Bush stole the election in the November of 2000, Tessa and I were so disgusted that we enacted a media blackout at our apartment that lasted ten full months. We watched no CNN, no Peter Jennings, surfed no news on the Web, not even the local news.

It was hard at first, but unsuckling from that teat became enjoyable, as we felt free from the pounding migraine of our country’s machine. We knew our issues, we knew our faith, and if something big was going to happen, we’d find out eventually.

me, Tessa’s mom Sandy and Tessa atop Mt. Greylock on 9/4/01

Boy, did we fucking ever. The next time Tessa turned on CNN, it was the morning of September 11, 2001 and people were streaming up our block covered in soot. That began a hypersensitivity to the news that stayed acute for three years. In fact, in the months following the WTC attacks, I’d casually turn on the TV just to make sure we weren’t back to a 24-hour news situation (i.e., something else had been blown up).

My fixation on the news gradually drew me into a maelstrom of abject anxiety and depression, and, when that abated, the elections took over. It wasn’t just national networks, it was DailyKos, Atrios, the Air America blogs and tons of other internet goodies that served to tantalize the possibility of change.

Now that has been dashed, utterly. I hate to be a pissed-off sour-grape sore loser, but I have no interest in going back to DailyKos and watching my fellow liberals eat their young. All of those breathless reports from each state showing a Kerry surge, the possibilities of a Democrat-controlled Senate, even the rousing spirits of Springsteen in Wisconsin and Eminem’s video “Mosh” – it all seems grotesque and childish now.

And so T and I have begun another media blackout. No CNN on TV, only the casual glancing of headlines on Salon and Slate, and certainly no looking at the cover of the NY Post while getting on the subway. We’ll still listen to “All Things Considered” (I have become very good at turning off the radio when Bush speaks and turning it back on just after he finishes) and the BBC World Service on the satellite, but the giant udders hanging from the fat belly of American Corporate News

0 thoughts on “faux noose

  1. Dave Mason

    Last year I worked on the Clark campaign. Being in Arkansas is enough to drive anyone away from the media but I did come away from that job with a complete distrust of the American television media.
    Long story short, I withdrew from the teat of American television news and have never looked back.
    I did, however, gain a healthy respect for certain American newspaper reporting and BBC World service. I am still enjoying their services even through the fog of post-election depression.

  2. Piglet

    I dunno…Kos is a nice outlet for all the pent-up snark.
    Yesterday, someone had a picture of Bush giving Rice a peck on the cheek, and people were captioning it. My caption was, “‘I want you to pretend I’m America.’ ‘Sorry, Condi, I can’t fuck that hard.'”
    I have the feeling I’m going to be a pretty obnoxious blogger for a while. The only emotion I allow myself to display on a political forum is naked, unforgiving, vengeance-seeking rage. Because any public acknowledgement of the other emotions I’ve had this month might cause some freeper troll to feel smug satisfaction. I just want to kill.
    HOW MANY BULLETS, CHINO? Enough for you? And you? How many can I kill, and still have one left for me? I CAN KILL TOO NOW, BECAUSE I HATE NOW!
    I predict the next Romeo and Juliet ripoff is going to be about teens from a red and a blue state. Oh well, at least it will be better than that horrible Muttagues and Catulets thing they did on Wishbone.

  3. helenjane

    The worst for me is the local news, I haven’t watched it in years, but once and awhile it’ll sneak on.
    That’s when scary headlines like “Mexican Food Makes You Fat” and “HIDDEN (foreign) FOOD TRAPS” and “Murdered by gunpoints” make me so very sad for the people who get their information this way…

  4. Chris

    That’s fine, Ian. We don’t have laws that force people to trouble themselves with messy and troublesome social and political issues or flawed and biased institutions. You may simply leave these issues to others whenever things are not to your liking. Of course, while you are away millions will be working and actively engaged in dealing with whatever difficult challenges confront our society. By default, we will keep making the decisions about how things are run. Just like we have been for last 228 years. That’s democracy.

  5. Beverly Sykes

    I’m with you. I was captive in an airport last night, with CNN blasting from all televisions hanging from ceilings all over the airport. I heard just enough to strengthen my resolve to give up on news entirely. It doesn’t do any good to become an informed citizen, so why bother? I can do without the depression.

  6. apl

    Though I like your media black-out concept and think it would be universally beneficial, I’d like to draw your attention to a documentary made by Canadian journalist and filmmaker Peter Raymont called “The World Stopped Watching”. It’s a follow-up to his 1987 documentary “The World Is Watching” which was an investigation into the role of media in the U.S. backed war in Nicaragua against the Sandinistas.
    Fifteen years later, Raymont returns to Nicaragua, along with some of the American journalists who were featured in the original, to see what happened to the forgotten country, and its people, that was once such a focus of U.S. media.
    I believe it raises many interesting ideas about the reality of the mediated world in which we live – is being in the glare of US media, as slanted as it can be, better than not being there at all?
    While I don’t watch much TV and try to limit my own intake of the “news” – I still feel responsible as a young Canadian to be aware of what is going on in mainstream media – and to attempt to understand what we are being fed.
    Here is a link to a fairly comprehensive description of the project:

  7. Bud

    I’m with my bloggin’ homie Diana:
    “On ‘getting behind’ Bushit
    Bush [wants] the 55 million people who voted againts him to “get behind” his next administration. *I* am not going to “get behind” anything for him. I’m going to work like hell to slow down, embarrass and defeat everything he wants to do. I don’t care if he wants to go to the bathroom, I’m going to work to make him pee in his pants instead.”
    Your daily blogging shows that your apathetic frontin’ is exactly that.
    You’re right that we shouldn’t *obsess* over the news the way so many of us did after 9/11. What good did/does it do to spend half your day soaking in what the Corporate Empire, Media Division wants you to believe is happening? I skim the BBC, read your blog and a couple others, check out Yahoo’s most popular (in case there are any new pictures of big-assed mannequins), read my local news and call it a day. That takes about 20 minutes. And I’ll listen to NPR if I have to drive somewhere.
    Oh–and the weather. Most days I get all the news I need from the weather report.
    But it’s still vital to keep up with our insane world, ‘now more than ever’ as “they” always say.
    How else are we going to make Bush pee in his pants?

  8. Allen

    “When the next American Disaster happens – hopefully far away from New York City…”
    Am I the only one who thinks this statement is a mite creepy?
    Maybe it’s just me.

  9. otherWA

    My teen age snowboardin alternative, (but very entertaining), son, gets his news from the Daily Show and reading the newspaper online. (weather mostly). He states neither party has given him any reason to trust or get behind their ideals. As he put it, if an alien landed on earth and watched any of the ads on TV, they would think we only elect degenerates, traitors and liars. (and we’re trying to bring our system to the rest of the world, we can’t even get along here). He is very supportive of the troops, but dislikes Bush. Kerry didn’t rock his world. He watched 1 of the debates and said he would rather see the Saturday Night Live version because it would be more honest. His girlfriend studied the pamplet and was even versed in the Judges, initiatives. I would say he gets most of his news from her. (she’s a staunch democrat.

  10. Merkin

    From now on, I’ll get my information by osmosis only…
    Well, that’s ten times better than getting it from Daily Kos (no wonder you thought Kerry would win in a landslide).
    I do hope you’ll cheer up, though. Liberals were hysterical about the reelection of Reagan in ’84, too, certain that doom was at hand (remember Helen Caldicott?). Yet the sun rose, the birds sang, life went on. Indeed, it got better for millions thanks to ol’ Dutch.
    Love the American Coastopia idea, though I can’t quite figure out what Wisconsin and Michigan might’ve done to be left out. You probably explained that weeks ago and I missed it. Anyway, I hope I’m allowed to stay in Iowa.


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