News Blues

A fellow worker once told me how he solved his depression problem. He said he had been a country music fan, but he finally realized that the sad stories told in country music were causing his depression. He said he stopped listening and stopped being depressed.  Well, just think about the stories being fed to us constantly by news media.   They give us a constant stream of all of the horrible and unjust things going on in the world, about man’s inhumanity to man, his proclivity to stay at war, his greed,  the wrath of nature with its more powerful tornadoes,  hurricanes,  forest fires, melting ice caps, rising oceans, plagues and famines.  Maybe they will throw in a warm and fuzzy tale at the end of a newscast to try to keep people from feeling either depressingly sad or mad after watching the news,  and that may work some, but it’s overpowered by the rest of the newscast.

 I can’t give it up altogether, but I can cut back and that’s what I have done. Admittedly, I opt for escapism.  I watch American Idol, America’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars, and So You Think You Can Dance, and I can understand why so many millions of others do, also.

I read more novels that I did in the past – though I also throw in some history books because I am a history buff – and I watch movies, and still go to movie theaters, and I watch the Braves occasionally (though, that can be depressing, too) and I go to music concerts, and plays, and am now more inclined to watch comedies. Life is tough enough without my spending time on made up tragedies.

Earning my living by reporting the news on television and radio, it’s hard for me to come to the conclusion that if I want to be less depressed I should stop watching, listening and reading the news. But, to be honest I have come to that conclusion. 

I can’t give it up altogether, though. One does need to know what’s happening because it can have a direct effect. Take the sad story – well, sad for me and everyone else but the 8-figure oil company executives and people who own tons of oil stocks – of the price of gasoline.  I can’t ignore that because I must have gasoline. Still, there is a sense of helplessness about it, because the only thing I can do about it is drive less. If enough of us would do that, and stop buying gas guzzler SUVs and monster pickup trucks that are rarely used as trucks, and slow down, we could perhaps affect the price of gasoline some, but basically that’s not happening.

Bottom line: no, I can’t give up keeping up.  That’s really not a smart thing to do. But, I don’t have to spend all day wallowing in the horrors of the world, and I’m not going to. 

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4 Responses to “News Blues”

  1. Bill Grimes Says:

    Mr. McMichael, The Gwinnett Daily Post here in Lawrenceville reports good and bad news together, which is why I like it so much. I learn what’s going on without getting depressed. Of course, I don’t get depressed because I know who’s in charge no matter what happens. Blessings!

  2. Jim Pickens Says:

    I am a very happy person but love listening to sad country music and old bluegrass ballads. My wife cannot understand it. Listening to it make me feel good about everything, guess its like the blues music for some folks.
    The news has always been bad it seems, used to be the TV news would end on a upbeat story cause the rest was bad. Haven’t watched the news or read a paper since I don’t know when, I am getting the “news I choose” on the internet now. If I don’t want to see any bad news I find something more light hearted but occasionally I get the bad news. Maybe this is good, maybe not but that’s the way it is for me at least.
    I enjoy reading your blog Dick.

    • Dick Says:

      Good hearing from you, Bill.I still read the paper (online) and watch the NBC Nightly News (I sample ABC and CBS from from time to time), but I rarely watch the local news because it relies way too much on “if it bleeds it leads,” and most reporting is superficial on the stuff that really affects us.

      I, too, still enjoy some country music, but honestly don’t listen to it a lot. I thought Scotty and Laura did a good job on American Idol. I can understand the words when the country artists sing, but I understand almost none of what the pop singers sing. It’s like they are singing in a foreign language. Thanks for your comment, Jim.

  3. Mike Nichols Says:

    Hi, Dick!
    I just discovered your site the other day and have enjoyed reading your posts a great deal. I’ve read all the ones on the front page and intend to go further back in your archives as I have time. You are a very good writer and your “insider” status gives a very different — and refreshing — perspective to events. I was always a big fan of yours and was disappointed when, after going into exile in Atlanta a few years and returning, you had retired. Of course, I was delighted to find your site, and am enjoying catching up on what you have been doing!

    —-
    When I’m feeling feeling blue, nothing cheers me up so much as the blues, in particular, acoustic blues from the 20’s-40’s and a few later artists. I’ve read many accounts of its having similar effects on others. There have been some attempts at a “scholarly” explanation of the phenomenon, but nothing really satisfying. For me, I think there are three reasons it cheers me up: 1) I have loved the blues since I was a teenager (I’m 64 now) and just listening to music I love cheers me up; 2) The tales of woe in most blues songs are all worse than what I’m experiencing, and; 3) The lives of the performers were universally much worse than anything I have ever experienced, and if they can live through it and still sing, I can too.

    I’ve given up entirely on television except for a documentary every once in a while. Most of the news programs have some sort of political slant, and I prefer a good book to the inanity of reality television and what is billed as “humor.” I get my news from a range of online sites, everything from the New York Times to the Tehran Times (really! Now talking about slanted news!). I’m still a faithful subscriber to the Ledger, even though I read most of it online.

    Again, I’m so thankful I found your site. I look forward to a lot of great reading!

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