Up, Up and Away…

I used to be more on the pulse of what’s going on in the world. I still watch the news, read news websites, and even sometimes read the newspaper, but I don’t really feel informed.

The problem is that when I turn to any of these outlets, I cannot shake the feeling that I’m being brainwashed. I’m being told what is important. I’m being given the soundbite version of events. From what little I know about journalism, I know that traditionally in the first paragraph of a news article, you need to get across the who, what, when, where and why. Yet, when I read news stories anymore, I am almost always acutely aware that I’m getting information filtered through someone’s viewpoint.

Some news outlets are better than others, but it seems that all of the major news outlets cover the exact same stories, and they are willing to do anything to have their version of the story stand out. The result is bad reporting, and me having to uncomfortably watch microphones being shoved in people’s faces while they grieve, for example. I wonder if the competition to be on the scene first and to have the most viewers or readers is what really drives the information I’m receiving.
$$$$$$$$$$$
Take the “balloon boy” story, for instance. I was not sitting around my TV watching and waiting for the balloon to land, but I do admit when I first heard that the boy was safe, I felt relieved.

As the hoax has unfolded and the parents have plead guilty, I realized that I’m not angry or outraged at the Heene family’s behavior. Yes, I think it’s sick that one would exploit their children to gain fame. (Though, parents of pop stars and child actors have been doing this for years.) But, the Heene’s are just a product of the environment created by our constant need for “news,” to be connected and in the know, and our obsession with celebrity.

Being bombarded with information, and often mindless information, it’s no wonder everyone thinks they can get on TV. It’s also no wonder that people go to drastic measures to do it. I hope the Heene’s case sets a precedent, but it’s more likely that people will just get more creative with their hoaxes.

What I’m struggling to understand in all of this is “why?”

Is it weird that I have no desire to be on television?

Or that I have no want for people to recognize me, or know who I am without me knowing them?

Does my desire for anonymity make me a freak?

Starry, Starry Night

“When it is darkest, men see the stars.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
– Oscar Wilde

orion

Orion’s Belt

I don’t think it’s coincidental that some of my favorite writers and thinkers have such poignant things to say about the stars. The thing I dislike most about living in the city is not being able to see the stars at night. They’re only a drive away, but it’s not the same as being able to turn off your porch light, step out your front door, and just fall under their spell.

Feeling insignificant is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Feeling your ego dissipate under the expanse of the universe is an irreplaceable experience. There have been times in my life where sitting under the stars was the only thing I could do to feel connected to this world at all. As unintuitive as that may seem.

It seems to me that to feel connected to others, you need to feel alone. It occurs to me sometimes that other people may find this thought to be highly pessimistic, but I don’t think the feeling of being alone is a negative or depressing at all.

In fact, I like the feeling.

It makes me appreciate the connections I am able to have with other people and their creative work.

As always, I find my sentiments have been already properly expressed by others. Another fact that makes me feel a beautiful wash of insignificance and much, much less alone.

“If people sat outside and looked at the stars each night, I’ll bet they’d live a lot differently.”
– Bill Watterson (of Calvin and Hobbes)