I’m going to hop on over to the Justice section of CNN.com and give you a quick rundown of today’s bad news smorgasbord.
- A 32-year-old man was shot to death on a Greyhound bus during a road trip with a friend. The shooter, who didn’t know the man, would have kept firing but the gun jammed.
- A 22-year-old mother glued her 2-year-old daughter’s hands to the wall, kicked her in the stomach, hit her with a jug of milk and beat her with a shoe and belt, resulting in a concussion, broken ribs and a broken leg. Because the girl pooped her pants. Now she may have extensive brain damage.
- A pair of teenage girls beat the hell from each other in a park, on camera, while 20 bystanders watched – including both the girls’ mothers. No one tried to stop the fight and in fact, it was partially instigated by the mothers, as one admitted telling her daughter she would beat her up “if she didn’t take care of the other girl.”
So… there’s that.
And I’m not counting all the past barbarities still getting press because of the court coverage. Heavy hitters like Casey Anthony, Strauss-Kahn and MJ’s doctor. The guy who set his landlord on fire, the daycare owner who drugged her kids and the mother who smothered one of her twin sons to death in a sleeping bag.
I mean, f—. Why is the news always bad?
In no particular order, mind-numbingly awful shit that’s gone down since the towers fell: Afghanistan, Anthrax, Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Hurricane Katrina, Haiti earthquake, Darfur, Virginia Tech shootings, Gulf Oil Spill, Kashmir earthquake, Libya, Burma cyclone, Mexico, China earthquake, Japanese tsunami, Indonesian tsunami, Shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
That’s just a clip limited to mind-numbingly awful shit that gets coverage in the U.S. And it leaves out the rise of American Idol and the New England Patriots.
But oh, that’s not all. Depending on what programs you watch, there’s a far more depressing takeaway here. Far worse than the litany of natural disasters and human atrocities we just covered. Because this – all of this – is actually your fault. And don’t try to weasel your way out of culpability, you knew damn well if you harbored gays and went soft on abortion there’d be a typhoon to pay.
Them chickens? Home for the roosting.
Let’s presume you have enough cognitive capacity to understand that an earthquake in an impoverished, post-Imperial speck of a nation has nothing to do with J Son of G’s horrible wrath. (I want to presume that.)
But it doesn’t make it any easier to watch 24-hour news days of rubble, burning bodies and injured children. We’re humans. Though we’re familiar with the fact that we’ll all die – perhaps because of it? – we can’t help but feel concern when we hear about a fire, a car crash, a shooting or an incurable disease. And the damn networks know it.
You have to feel for the reporters a little. Each segment, they put in their dues covering traffic and town hall meetings, all on the hopes that one glorious day they might be on call for a truly gruesome national tragedy. That’s how careers are made.
And then there’s the Reigning Dame of Beating Dead Horses Who Very Much Resemble Pretty White Girls. Nancy Grace is so starved for ratings, she makes passive aggressive look like a bloodsport.
It’s not really all bad. It just seems that way.
Which I know is sort of a cop-out, but look at it like this. If you lay down with dogs, you’re gonna get fleas.
I just ran into the other room to check what’s on the major networks. Fox has Hannity talking about terrorism and torture in interrogation. MSNBC is showing a program about who brutally murdered some woman in Las Vegas. CNN is investigating the claim that there’s Arsenic in our apples. And HLN is doing a piece about the Emmy’s, maybe the most depressing of the bunch.
So if you’re tired of bad news, here’s what you can do. Turn off the self-indulgent talking heads like Nancy Grace. Turn off the news channels trying to fill 24-hours with shock-and-awful stories. And tune out the webpages that aggregate the worst of what 7 billion people on this planet have to offer.
I promise, they’ll still be there if you have the urge to go back.
Instead, replace that garbage with a little good. Seriously – sign up for Good’s newsletter and get “one good thing a day.” Or National Geographic’s Photo of the Day. Bookmark Gimundo – “Good News… Served Daily.”
I’m not saying you need to ignore the fact that millions of people are living through hunger, disease and civil war. By all means, go help them. But you’re not helping anybody by watching Glenn Beck. (That is, unless you’re buying up gold stocks – then you’re helping Glenn Beck.)
My favorite feel-good site: AnimalsBeingDicks.com