'Over-newsed' and disconnected by thousands of miles:
April 3, 2002 1:24 AM   Subscribe

'Over-newsed' and disconnected by thousands of miles:
Will there reach a point where we are intellectually drowned by news from a 'distant' and deepening war? I myself listen to Talk of The Nation daily, read the news hourly (when I can that frequently) and yet I cannot, or better yet, am having a hard time feeling the insane tragedy that has befallen our planet. Will complacence set in as those of us who are concerned feel more and more powerless to even possibly exact the smallest amount of change that each of our voices can in our respective countries? It is painful to not be particulary 'moved' by this link's eyewitness accounts of the battle underway in Ramallah. Is it simply too much to vicariously behold for the mortal human?
posted by crasspastor (30 comments total)
complacence is the lack of drive. it's impractical to try to distill pep from the news, and kind of vain to feel guilty about not having enough drive to convince more people that something oneself cannot emotionally directly relate to ,thus becomes jaded about hearing, is important to each as an individual. but i'm not coming down on you, crasspastor, i know what you mean and almost feel the same way, except for the guilt. i'm just saying somebody who has the emotional relation can really change it, and at this moment it's not you or me. in the meanwhile, don't give up voicing lest everyone gets more jaded.
posted by elle at 2:48 AM on April 3, 2002

I'm not implying that I'm *not* moved whatsoever. It is heartbreaking, every bit of it. Emotional overload, I think, also symptomizes itself as complacence. And then again, it's not as though I feel personally complacent, only underinformed. Which isn't to say I haven't tried with every cursory glance at 'Today's News'. How much is a humanitarian oriented person to fully grasp in all of this? All over the world? Seemingly every 500 square miles with it's own unique conflict.

Some more informative eyewitness accounting I've also found here.
posted by crasspastor at 3:34 AM on April 3, 2002

Figures there would be 1 or 2 Brits, Germans, etc, but 27 FRENCH. They are slime!
posted by ParisParamus at 4:02 AM on April 3, 2002

Yeah, it is more than one can behold. Something we should be thankful for.
posted by Settle at 4:22 AM on April 3, 2002

Knowing which of those "eyewitness accounts" are true, which parts are exaggerated, and which are lies would be enlightening.
posted by mischief at 4:41 AM on April 3, 2002

Crasspastor! the electronic inifada is objective and truthful? you must be kidding. These are the same folks who said that the Jews and not the Arabs did the Sept 11 terror, who peddle Elders of Zion, who believe in the medieval Blood libel, and on and on.
You are not going to get the total truth from anyu given side, clearly, but there is a unanimity in the Arab press on all as[pects of the struggle that seems to me much more like a partyu line; by comparison, the Israel press has criticism of Israeli policy from the Left; complaints about not being tough enopugh from the Right; an active peace movement--inother words, diverse perspectives, which, in a democracy, are allowed.
posted by Postroad at 5:02 AM on April 3, 2002

Huh? Tragedy is everywhere. The news only prints the entertaining kind: war, terror. Which represents a tiny fraction of the people on the planet. Most people die from car accidents and cancer. If you think about it, we ALL die is tragic. Your just watching too much news. Go out and live and little, make your own news.
posted by stbalbach at 5:30 AM on April 3, 2002

People have long been overwhelmed and used that as an excuse for complacency, but it's no excuse.

Donate 1/20 of your wage to a charity. Have compassion. Lead by example.
posted by kv at 5:54 AM on April 3, 2002

1) Try to remember what you did to buck up while 800,000 Tutsis were being systematically slaughered in Rwanda in 1994.

2) Do it again.
posted by aaron at 6:15 AM on April 3, 2002

Figures there would be 1 or 2 Brits, Germans, etc, but 27 FRENCH. They are slime!--posted by ParisParamus

The "civilians still inside the Presidential compound" are slime or the French? Be careful or I'm going to arrange a protest that you change your member name.
posted by Dick Paris at 6:16 AM on April 3, 2002

And back to the point ... I'd always kept a wary eye on news reports from the Middle East, thinking that things were always going to be unsettled. But Friday, watching relentless CNN coverage of tanks rolling through Arafat's compound, I couldn't help but feel a deep sense of unease. I think something changed that day in that region -- definitely for the worst. It felt like the start of something that would end in more blood and tears.
posted by krewson at 6:25 AM on April 3, 2002

"Donate 1/20 of your wage to a charity. Have compassion.."

kv, while you may feel those are honorable qualities, not everyone shares that view.
posted by mischief at 6:28 AM on April 3, 2002

not everyone shares that view

Do you recommend we take it out of tax dollars? Or simply you dont believe in charities.
posted by stbalbach at 6:46 AM on April 3, 2002

I don't find myself getting complacent; I find myself increasingly angry with both sides, to the point that I stop caring what happens to either, however terrible.

Neither side has shown any desire for peace; they both revel in death, blood and mayhem. Between shelling apartment buildings filled with families and 16-year-old suicide bombers, it is seemingly a continuing contest to see which can decend to the lowest levels of malevolence and horror.

When anyone in that entire region starts acting even remotely human, I'll start caring again. Until then, to hell with them both. Every decent country should wash their hands of the whole affair.
posted by UncleFes at 6:58 AM on April 3, 2002

I agree with crasspastor, it is hard to care about such things. People have been killing eachother since the dawn of their existence, and today it happens in ever increasing numbers (at least thats how it seems to me). I think the reason is in part due to the dehumanizing effect of looking at these conflicts simply as numbers. Another factor is that both incidents are far removed from me. I mean, what's a few thousand dead here or there if you don't know them? Josef Stalin said "One death is a tragedy, one million deaths is a statistic." This is why the death of one little girl in Ohio (because of a hockey puck) garners national attention, because it is a heartbreaking story of individual tragedy, while in the Sudan, or in Rwanda, or in Angola, hundreds of thousands of people get killed and the media hardly bats an eye.
posted by insomnyuk at 7:21 AM on April 3, 2002

Crasspastor - I am finding the over-news-ness thing to be depressing to a point of inability to act. Not complacence exactly, more like my outrage at the insanity of murdering civilians on all sides of the globe versus most people's support of one side versus the other, plus Bush's extreme popularity has made me feel like I must be the one with the out there views. If everyone else felt like I did Bush would be physically thrown out of office on his ass for dragging us back into the political mentallity of the eighties, and Sharon and Arafat would both be hunted down and eliminated.
posted by bob bisquick at 7:35 AM on April 3, 2002

I just don't think the news is all that interesting. Most of it doesn't affect me in my daily life. I don't really care, at this point, if the UK becomes a part of the EU or not, etc. This war in Israel is of no interest to me. If I got interested in it, would it make a difference to the outcome? No.
posted by wackybrit at 7:47 AM on April 3, 2002

Postroad: This article in the Haaretz Daily suggests that even Israeli journalists are blind to what is going on at the moment.
posted by adnanbwp at 8:12 AM on April 3, 2002

Every decent country should wash their hands of the whole affair.

well it looks like we are arming them... and by them i mean ourselves.

like i was just thinking if we're importing lots of oil from iraq and iraq is subsidizing the families of palestinian suicide bombers, then isn't the US indirectly culpable?

it's like criminal negligence or something. (i understand it's an "oil-for-food" program, but still there's a fungibility issue i can't help but think the US is aware of.) which doesn't remove any blame from the perpetraitors, but you'd think we could come up with a more sensible policy.

also i think that's why the US is considering removing hussein and "regime change" but judging from cheney's visit to the middle east to drum up support, it doesn't look soon in coming with the region unstable as it is... um, which is maybe why hussein is fomenting violence in the frist place. so there you go.

as frank herbert writes on the inevitability of jihad:
He sampled the time winds, sensing the turmoil, the storm nexus that now focused on this moment place. Even the faint gaps were closed now. . . . Here was the race consciousness that he had known once as his own terrible purpose. Here was reason enough for a Kwisatz Haderach or a Lisan al-Gaib or even the halting schemes of the Bene Gesserit. The race of humans had felt its own dormancy, sensed itself grown stale and knew now only the need to experience turmoil in which the genes would mingle and the strong new mixtures survive. All humans were alive as an unconscious single organism in this moment, experiencing a kind of sexual heat that could override any barrier. . . . This is the climax, Paul thought. From here, the future will open, the clouds part onto a kind of glory. And if I die here, they'll say I sacrificed myself that my spirit might lead them. And if I live, they'll say nothing can op pose Muad'Dib.
or in the immortal words of edward furlong, "the future is not set. there is no fate but what we make for ourselves."
posted by kliuless at 8:23 AM on April 3, 2002

i've never, ever been an isolationist but i'll admit that the seemingly never ending nature of many of these conlicts (Arabs vs Israel, Pakistan vs India, Muslims vs Hindus in India etc, etc, etc) has gotten to me and I really have to struggle to keep caring about the intransigent human beings who continually perpetuate these pointless battles.

More or less I'm moving towards the I'm-gonna-throw-up-my-hands-and-no-longer-care-if-they-all-kill-each-other mode.

Which ain't really where I want to be but I'm just so very, very tired of people with little but death in their hearts.
posted by zoopraxiscope at 8:56 AM on April 3, 2002

Postroad I think you are wrong about the Electronic Intifada. I have read it a few times and it is a thoroughly legitimate affair; biased, but not talking about blood libel or the other things you mentioned. I think virtually all of the contributers are Americans and Europeans, well educated and Pro-Palestinian. But not anti-Jewish or selling the Elders of Zion and such.,
posted by cell divide at 9:10 AM on April 3, 2002

Yeah wackybrit, why on earth would we care about what goes on in the Middle East? I believe its easy to throw your hands up in the air and say that nothing has changed, but I think all of us sitting in front of slabs of plastic and glass, reading the opinions of people we've never met from across the world, must confront the fact that things do get better. The conditions that we live under are far from perfect but are most definitively far better than hundreds of years ago. I believe the cause for that is due to humanity's incremental steps towards our betterment (whether this be out of self interest or some vision for the future is a debate that can occur later). Progress has occurred and it can continue to occur, even if it is a long and painful journey. Its obviously up to you to decide what battles to fight, but thinking of things as 'unchangeable lost battles' seems to ignore evidence to the contrary.
posted by buddha9090 at 9:33 AM on April 3, 2002

Meanwhile back at the Vatican, the pope was beating off knee pains that just kept coming and coming.

Also, "the Vatican's Secretary of Foreign Relations called in the Israeli ambassador to the Holy See, Yosef Neville Lamdan, and the United States ambassador, R. James Nicholson", and lacking anything better to do like grocery shopping or dog walking, they showed up. Being the protectors of boy-humpers that they are, of course the catholic bureaucracy will stick up for their brothers in pedophilia, the Muslims, several members of whom just happen to be holed up in a catholic church with a bunch of monks and nuns "hostages".

So, crasspastor, it's not because you are "overnewsed" that your are "having a hard time feeling the insane tragedy that has befallen our planet", you are getting the right amount of news to start seeing the connections of events through the ages and how they have led to this inevitable outbreak of violence. The insanity comes from the paradox of a blinding belief by all those involved in some supernatural superhero who is supposed to be a "peaceful, moral" god and their following his benevolent example by killing and raping each other.

Classify this under "social singularity".
posted by mischief at 9:43 AM on April 3, 2002

mischief, these gunmen are not terrorists. They are Palestinian Authority policemen who fled to the church after the Israeli army bombed the mosque in the same area. Therefore they fled to the church. They dont have the nuns and priests as hostages, as cleared via telephone by a Christian from within the church on CNN this morning.

Ironic how Palestinian Police are branded "gunmen" and Isaeli Army as protector of the human life, not to speak of the "angels", with AK's who illegally live in the settlements of the Occupied Territories.
posted by adnanbwp at 9:52 AM on April 3, 2002

US complacency in the face of Israeli human rights abuses may be the single most powerful cause of Arab resentment. If the US government would take action to defend the Palestinians' right to nationhood and self-determination, it would do more to undermine Bin Laden's network than all of the bombs they dropped on Afghanistan.

Globalism is too powerful to ignore. If people were being slaughtered in your back yard, you'd take notice. Palestine and Israel may be thousands of miles away from us in the US, but they are in our back yard. Thanks to electronic communicatiom, the whole world is just seconds away.
posted by Loudmax at 10:24 AM on April 3, 2002

Aaron hits the nail on the head.
posted by crasspastor at 10:38 AM on April 3, 2002

I find the news emotionally draining, but it does not seem so distant to me. I have a strong feeling that if these situations are allowed to escalate indefinetely they will eventually make their way to my front door. Friedman is claiming we may be looking at a clash of civilizations in the making, and if he's right, how distant will it remain?
posted by homunculus at 12:38 PM on April 3, 2002

so what did everyone do during the rwanda genocide?
posted by elle at 1:28 PM on April 3, 2002

i watched it on tv, then later read the book and felt bad.
posted by kliuless at 8:32 PM on April 3, 2002

Good lord crasspastor. if you read the news every hour for eight hours a day you read too much news. The more information you have the less useful it gets.

There is absolutely no reason to soak in the news very much unless it's your hobby or profession. Do yourself a favor, cut back your news intake to a couple times a week. You won’t miss anything, trust me. At the very least you won't feel so disconnected (or paralyzed).
posted by raaka at 2:15 AM on April 4, 2002

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