The last few days I’ve reached a new level of frustration with what is often called “news”. I pretty much only watch Al Jazeera English and a smattering of Swedish news these days. AJE is the only straight news sans fluff, sans glorifying ‘celebrities’ and that covers all of the world’s parts (not just western concerns). Swedish news – well – it’s local, so I kind of want to know about that stuff.
But online I follow loads of news, tech, music/entertainment, development, marketing/SEO/PR/comms blogs and sites… and I swear that the only thing that seems to appear across disciplines is the most asinine stuff that is not news and about which we should not care. I don’t even want to give it the time to write about it now except that it seems important in the sense that we are to blame for our own fake news dilemma. We begged for more bullshit, and we got it. So today when every media outlet put out ‘headline news’ about the “quiet” relationship forged by musician Grimes and tech ‘mogul’ Elon Musk, I started to get angry. I am silently screaming, “Who cares, who cares, who cares?!” It’s not news; no one should care… and it’s not quiet if it is the headline on every news, tech, music/entertainment and PR blog or site in existence.
For two days, I have seen too many articles about Donald Glover and his (Childish Gambino’s) “This is America” single and video. Don’t get me wrong. I love Donald Glover. Yes, Glover is beyond talented; “This is America” is brutal and beautiful all at once. I’ve seen the backlash pieces (i.e. don’t make or expect Glover to be the anti-Kanye). But is this newsworthy? (Arguably this is more newsworthy than the aforementioned bit about celeb personal lives… or about royals having babies and getting hitched and BBC stopping EVERYTHING to report on such truly insignificant trifles; they would have done this anyway but it’s also a convenient way to ignore covering the shambolic state of Brexit.)
Why is this kind of frippery what we care about instead of real things? This is what our sweet tooth begs for, and the 24/7 news (infotainment) cycle, competition in channels and platforms, our inability and lack of desire to understand or grapple with complexity, the sad state of journalism today, too many other things distracting us – why not?
We gluttons of talent we don’t have, money we will never make, and elusive, ephemeral ‘fame’ prioritize these shallow displays over anything that actually matters. We think it’s normal to pay actors and athletes millions of dollars – we don’t even bat an eye at this insanity. We think events like the Met Gala last night, another thing that was plastered all over the headlines, are important. But I don’t even know what the hell the Met Gala is – and not one of these headlines told me. In fact, all they could highlight was what these ‘special people’ in attendance were wearing.
Meanwhile… I can’t even begin to recount what we ignore in order to find out what designer some personality du jour is wearing or breaking news on celebrity dating. Who has the attention span any more anyway?