Wednesday, January 09, 2008

What's the good word?

What a fucked-up world we've made for ourselves, people. I just visited CNN's web page and here are the exact items found under the "Latest News" banner at the top of the page:

* 2 big races down, nothing settled
* Dobbs: Pundits take one in the teeth
* Ticker: Obama: Bill Clinton twisted my words
* Police: Spiteful dad threw 4 tots off bridge
* Marshals serving eviction notice find 4 bodies
* 50 cars and trucks smash in fog, smoke
* Tornado touchdown captured on I-Report video
* Mom stuck on roof as kids drown in car
* KSAT: Medic never checked victim's pulse
* WITN: Pregnant Marine missing from post
* 'Brutal execution' caught on tape, U.S. says
* Nude teacher pix on student cell, cops say
* Girl, 2, left behind at Chuck E. Cheese
* Tiger's agent: 'Lynch' remark a non-issue
* Man sees 'mark of beast,' cuts off hand

Don't even bother to read the story about the man throwing four kids off the bridge (three of the children his own, all presumed dead), as it will surely depress you. The truly sad thing is that, day in, day out, the type of content found under "Latest News" doesn't change much: people killing other people, natural disasters, corrupt politicians and priests, teachers corrupting students. Henry David Thoreau had it right in Walden:
I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steamboat blown up, or one cow run over on the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter — we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications? To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip.


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