This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 21, 2003 11:09 PM. The previous post in this blog was In other news. The next post in this blog is If it's OK to laugh. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, March 21, 2003

Turn it off

During the First Iraq War, I was in a very tight relationship with a woman who despised our government for waging it. So incensed was she that she refused to watch any of it on television. I didn't have strong feelings about it, but I mildly agreed with her, and so I didn't watch any of it, either. When it was over, I realized that I hadn't missed anything. The papers and an occasional radio report were plenty, thank you.

Circumstances are different for me now, in the days of the Second Iraq War. The old amour is now just a friend, and my wife and I are not adamant foes or supporters of this military action. We don't want our child watching it, though, and so we're careful to switch the channel when a war bulletin comes on and she's around.

But even when she isn't, I still don't want to watch it.

The reasons for this are complex. For one thing, over the years I've lost the reverence I once held for the news media. Most media outlets, including all of the commercial television and cable organizations, are committed to one thing only, and that's keeping you there long enough to subject you to advertisements. The video folks also assume that the viewer is a dumb bunny, and that war logos and war jingles are necessary to alert him or her that, well, we are blowing up people and places and this is important. Then they have you sit and stare at the fixed and forlorn view from some God-forsaken building in "downtown Iraq," as one bubble-headed bleach blonde "journalist" was calling it the other night, with cuts to tapes of some bombs going off and buildings burning. Then it's live to some press conference featuring the "information" "minister" of Iraq. Hate him, hate him, is the apparent subtext.

To watch people dying and having their homes and city destroyed is not my idea of enlightenment or entertainment. It's just damn depressing. Right or wrong, we shouldn't have to be doing this. We hotshot humans, with all our knowledge and technology, still find it necessary to inflict violence on each other on a grand scale. Now we add to the sickness by sending real-time images of our violence to rapt audiences around the planet.

I can't watch it today.

So what to do now? Hop onto the blog and act like I have the answers? There's another dead-end pastime. What can I say that will advance anyone's interests at a time like this? It's overwhelming.

This might be a good time to turn inward. Peace on earth may be a pipedream, but what about peace around the house, the family, the neighborhood, the workplace, the blogosphere? That might be a good channel to stay with for a while.

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