Archive for February, 2021

Getting Pushed Around by the News

Saturday, February 13th, 2021

As information technology penetrates deeper into our lives, the news cycle increasingly takes center stage in the public mind. Because we always carry little internet machines with us, we get news beamed to us at all times. In social media, where we go to socialize, we are bombarded with articles, reactions, and news-related memes. In text group and loops, our friends and family share articles with us that stirred some emotion in them, hoping they will do the same for us. Everywhere we go, there is no escape, we are followed by the news.

The omnipresence of the internet brings the news cycle into daily life. One needn’t have a TV nearby, wait for a predetermined time, or open up a bulky newspaper to get the news. And unlike in the past, we receive it now in real time. This drastically changes our phenomenological experience. Instead of waking up, working, socializing, eating, consuming the news, and pre-sleep leisure, one’s day is littered with vicariously living through uprisings in Hong Kong, trembling at the latest far-right show of strength, and feeling self-righteous outrage at mentally unstable suburban moms doing things our subculture currently finds disagreeable. The news bleeds through all other time.

Activists and radicals have made tracking and responding to the news cycle our starting point. It is seen as irresponsible, apathetic, privileged, and ineffective not to. When something we don’t like is in the news, there is an implicit call to run in and try fixing it. Some believe that we can stop whatever heinous development is at-hand. Others give lip service to “building power” through struggles and protests they know are doomed from the start. Whatever our level of cynicism or belief, we share a priority to respond to novel situations documented by the news. (more…)