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