On the news

News can easily become a trap. It’s tempting to keep reading or watching news 24/7 and expecting thus to become someone who’s better informed of what’s going on with the world. The thing is, you’re not getting any deeper information by doing that, no matter how informed are the columns you read, or how clever are the pundits you hear on cable TV, or, for that matter, how long and seething are the Twitter threads you eat with your eyes. By doing all of this, you’re just swimming on the surface of the ocean which is the world. You can swim faster or slower, in serene constancy or in bursts, that’s up to you. The depth of your swimming, however, will not change. To do so, you must first take your time. Raise your head, look around. Let the fresh breeze which blows all over the world-ocean wash you. Notice that essential anxiety which has been bubbling up inside ever since you’ve become old enough to perceive the fuckedupness of life. News won’t cure this anxiety; if anything, they will increase it, since they actually live off each one’s deep-seated angst. It’s not you who’s controlling your fingers when you get the TV remote or when you roll the feed; it’s your anxiety. Now that you’re aware of the issue, take a profound gulp of air and dive. Dive and don’t look up; always go deeper. Read non-fiction books; even better, read fiction, good fiction. Read Joseph Mitchell, who’s as good as good fiction. Go out, get to know some countries, get your soles dirty. Socialist countries, third-world countries, far-reaching countries, fucked-up countries. Study languages, notice how they always sound more interesting and alive than your mother tongue. Talk to people. Actually, don’t talk. Just listen to them. Listen, listen, listen. And do only talk when you’re get tired of listening, so you give them time to drink some water. That’s how you dive. Don’t fall into the trap of slouching on the sofa while you’re force-fed whatever shit is happening between the Dems and the GOP, or whatever parties are taking their turns to fuck over the people of your homeland; remember that each political spectrum will do it, some more relentlessly than others. Turn off your TV. Fuck Twitter. Look outside the window, look at the sun and the moon and the stars. Think. Carry a book around. Think about Joseph Mitchell talking to Joe Gould and becoming so awestruck and depressed he could never write a piece ever again. Get mad at the world, at its all-encompassing, essential unfairness. Dive, until you’ve made to the other side of the world-ocean. Let the air of the other side fill up your lungs with their new scent which is also a familiar scent, for the breeze that crosses the entire globe carries the same old smell — that of sad humanity. Then you’ll understand why news have never made anyone wiser, and why diving can make you mad, but also why any other option means setting up your soul to rot.

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