Thursday, October 17, 2013

So, what's new, anyway?

Those who pay any attention to what I have to say in these pages know that I'm not exactly one of those news junkies who suffers from critical separation anxiety anytime I'm not hooked up to some kind of information-getting device.
Far from it, but I do like to know what's going on from time to time.
Of course, most of the national news I've seen lately has been so darned annoying, depressing and frustrating, that I've been quick to flip over to the latest episode of "Francis the Talking Mule" on my antenna-connected TV anytime anybody mentions the words "congress," "shut-down," "debt limit" or "budget."
Now, ever since I cut the cord and dropped my cable TV service, I've mostly had to depend on what the networks have to offer, news-wise, which, especially in the mornings, is kind of like going to see Dr. Seuss for a broken leg or a pesky spate of brain cancer. For some unfortunate reason, the one network morning show I consider worth watching--CBS This Morning, with the brainy Charlie Rose at the helm--is often hard to get via my rabbit ears, leaving me stuck with those other morning show bozos, who seem to think stuff like the latest trends in Italian shoe styles, quick vegan cooking tips and the adventures of the Kardashians somehow constitutes breaking news.  Of course, my friends at the Star Courier do a good job of providing me a quick news blast every morning, but the rest of the time, I've learned to rely on the internet for my daily fix unless I'm in my car and able to hear the good stuff on National Public Radio.
And that poses an interesting problem.
You see, the world wide web faces the same problems as the TV guys.  That is, most of us seem to want to be entertained, not informed. As a result, a fair amount of the "news" my daily net search reveals is just about as interesting and useful as the pap fed to us by those jolly morning show folks. I was anxious to prove my point, so I took a quick drive down the information superhighway this morning, hoping to find something resembling worthwhile information. Oh sure, there's a good bit of commentary regarding those numbskulls in Washington, but it was quite revealing to find what else some of the various internet news outlets thought I needed to know.
For example, Google News, which is my main stopping point most days, did a good enough job of over-reporting the unsightly mess our government is in, along with some of the other things I probably ought to know about. But they also dedicated ample space to important info like the latest hosts for the Golden Globes award show, ratings for the first season episode of "the Walking Dead," and the fact that Macy's will be open on Thanksgiving Day, thus breaking with the "day after" Christmas shopping tradition that annoys me and many other right-minded folks.  Meanwhile,, which is always on the lookout for ways to convince us dedicated googlers to give their search engine a try, hit the ground running this morning with trending stories on Madonna's latest outburst and how Kate Winslet looks while pregnant, along with an exciting story on tattooed librarians that made me wonder if I should toddle down the street to the Galva reference center and ask a few personal questions. Good old yahoo was not to be outdone, as they  clued me in on the smartest stars in Hollywood (who knew?), the results of "Man Crush Monday," and a scintillating tell-all on why airline crews skip drinking the coffee and tea offered on their flights (I didn't read it, but I'm betting it has something to do with those teeny bathrooms.)  My cyber-seach also revealed the crowning of the second-biggest winner on "the Price is Right," a 'shocking' elimination on "Dancing with the Stars," and some important facts on the mistakes I might be making with my slow cooker. And who wouldn't want to know about a 77-pound weiner dog's successful diet, along with long-dead president President William Howard Taft's mostly unsuccessful one.
But my favorite headline among all I saw appeared on, internet home of what is arguably one of the top news-gathering organs around. It went like this:
"America's problem: We're too dumb."
Well, that's interesting to hear. But I'm not sure it's news.

1 comment:

  1. Just wait until the great all powerful search engine algorithm learns what you want to know. Then you'll be more than a target, you'll be assimilated. I like as a general info feed. Yep, the subculture of tattooed librarians is alive and well: among other sites (sights?) Minus the name, this is my ink: