7:53 am - Sunday, May. 12, 2002
(Watching This Week on ABC. This and Meet The Press have become my big "news fix" in any given week.)
I'm very torn about the whole idea of "news" and how much it should be a part of my life.
Sometimes, when I fall totally out of listening to the news, I feel guilty for being "ignorant about what's going on". And I'll feel like without the news, I have that much less of a "connection" with other people, in terms of topics for conversation and what-have-you (That's a big "thing" for me: When the conversation moves away from a few basic subjects--The wonder of Me, tv shows, movies, and events in my most immediate environment--I often feel like I struggle for things to say).
On the other hand, sometimes it seems so pointless to listen to the news. I'm a bright guy, but it's overwhelming, and it would be very easy to become depressed and cynical in the face of a constant barrage of negative, sometimes frightening events, most of which have little or nothing to do with my day-to-day life anyway.
When I think about recent events in the news--The whole Enron thing, the Catholic sex-abuse scandal, the continuing Mideast situation, the investigation of Wall Street investment firms, California's manufactured "power crisis", and now the news that Cuba might be manufacturing biological weapons--and add hundreds of local news stories of pain and death and destruction, not to mention the "investigative reports" that tell you, in effect, that nothing and no one can be trusted, I wonder why I should feel like I need to "keep up" with the news (I've talked about those "investigative reports" before; There's a part of me that wants people out there "taking on the bad guys", but in my mind, it's gone over the line, from consumer advocacy to alarmist fear-mongering, that has no point but to attract ratings; "New information about yet another thing that's going to kill you and everyone you hold dear. Film at 11:00...").
Why should I be "informed"? In order to feel more depressed and overwhelmed and insignificant? To get more evidence that the world I live in sucks?
I didn't used to think this, but I'm starting to feel like you there really is such a thing as "too much information"...
I used to think of myself as one of the last "defenders of the media". When it became the style to make "the media" the whipping boy for society's ills, I used to think to myself, "Sure, the media isn't perfect, but what's the alternative? Are you going to depend on the government to tell you the truth? Or, worse yet, big business?".
But more and more, it seems to me like it's just all part of one big machine. "The media" pretty much is "big business" these days. And "news", more and more, is not really "news" so much as "spin", by corporations and government and organized religion (Another "big business"), and anyone in the business of fooling the public, that is then grabbed by "the media" and passed on, at least as long as it's sexy and/or violent, and comes with some really good "pictures".
Because ultimately in this society, it doesn't really matter what we know; All that matters is what we consume.
(I hadn't intended to get onto this topic. And yet here we are...)
Lots of things are bouncing around in my brain right now...
To figure out what you want to know, what you need to know, and what's just extraneous information you can live without, is increasingly difficult in a world that's moving faster by the minute. And where do you get this information? Who do you trust to "tell you the truth"?
(There will now be a brief pause while I recite the "Serenity Prayer" to myself...)
My "answer" to all this, such as it is, has been to fall in-and-out of paying attention to the news. I spend most of my time focused on the small details of my own existence, periodically taking breaks to see what's going on in the world outside of "Jimlandia".
But when I think about it, acting, reading, watching "my stories", going to movies, talking with people, writing in here, chatting online and e-mailing people, is probably more the way I want to be "informed" anyway. That's the way I want to find out about my world. It's more the world I want to live in.
(Feel like I've just "scratched the surface" here, but I want to talk about some other stuff, so it's going to have to do...)
Mother's Day is not the "worst" holiday for me, but for many years now, it has been something of a melancholy occasion.
In addition to the self-pity you might expect out of me--"Oh, poor me. I'm a little orphan boy in a big middle-aged man's body"--there's also the unfortunate "anniversary" to consider; It was on Mother's Day--back in 91, I believe it was, when I had the fateful fight with Beth II, a fight that ended the relationship, and if I'm honest with myself, the fight that stays with me to this day (I don't think it's the only reason I've been alone ever since, but it's definitely a factor).
I don't want to hash over that stuff again--I've talked about it before--but will just say that I'll always wish it hadn't happened, and I often wish I could tell Beth how sorry I am that it did.
I don't have a mother.
The only real mother I ever had--Mrs Lydia DeHaven--died a long time ago (Figuratively, when I left her home at seven or eight years old, then literally, some fifteen years or more ago).
Margaret Z. is not my mother. I appreciate what she did for me--taking me in when I left the Pupo house--and I remember more than once wishing that I had ended up at her house sooner, but I was in her home for a year, then on my own. We've corresponded often in the time since, but all this time later, I don't feel like I know her any better than I did during that year.
Jane is not my mother. I love her, and know that she loves me, but that's not the relationship I feel I have with her, and not the one I want to have with her. I do think we're "family" at this point, but I don't see us as "Mom" and "Son". In "family" terms, I see us more as " Little Brother" and " Big Sister" (Even that doesn't quite cover it for me, but it's the best I've got).
And Elizabeth Nadine Roberts/Hoffmaster/James/Whoever-She-Might-Be-At- This-Point, my biological mother, is certainly not my mother.
(It's interesting--Her rejection of me as an adult, when I made the effort to contact her, continues to be more of an "issue" to me than her initial rejection of me as a child.)
So there it is, but I don't really know what it means to me.
It's simplistic and inaccurate to just blow it off as feeling sorry for myself because I'm an "orphan"; In actuality, I think it says something that I haven't gone through my life feeling more sorry for myself on that account.
I just think, sometimes, that it would have been nice to have had a mom for longer than I did.
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