I used to watch the news and develop well thought out political opinions. Let me try that again. I used to watch the Daily Show, it was filled with well thought out political opinions. Often I would flip around the dial during commercials and see an occasional news story about some far off geographical place that was experiencing some far off geographical turmoil. I thought to myself: "Self, can you believe the atrocities that other people around the globe are facing?" I thought to myself: "Self, you should talk to other people around you and inform them of these atrocities."
In many cases the people I talked to had also been briefed via the News and Daily Show about what was going on around the world. Since our general political principles were the same and since we generally lived in the same geographical area by a similar economic standard, we had a similar general outlook on the situation. If pressed to find the location on the map of the crisis du jour we probably couldn't. What we could do however was pass judgment on the way that people lived in that geographical area. Some of these people didn't wipe their asses with toilet paper or have flush toilets for Christ sake, surely they were developmentally challenged mouth breathers.
But something happened one day, I lost my access to cable television. I moved out of my cozy 75 square foot studio apartment and into a massive 150 square foot one. During that time I neither had cable television nor did I have cable internet. Further, I was born after 1980 so I don't even know what a newspaper is nor how to read one. One time I tried and accidentally set the kitchen on fire. During this period of transition I would often encounter people on the street who would say "Hey, how bout that local sports team?" to which I would reply "Well, it all really comes down to leadership and coaching. We've got some good young players this year so hopefully we'll see the playoffs." Frankly, I wasn't sure what sport we were talking about but if you ever find yourself stuck in a similar situation that remark usually works.
Eventually I did get the internet up and running again but I never got my beloved cable back. At some point I was thrust into a situation of mixed company and they began talking politics and current religious wars. I realized that I had no idea what they were talking about. Unlike sports, I didn't have any blanket statement that I could throw out there to convince the others I was hip to the game. Instead, every one of their utterances was met with my blank stare and me saying "Oh, did that really happen?? sheesh." I realized that I didn't know what was going on in the world and I kind of liked it.
Don't get me wrong I don't want other people in far off distant lands to suffer I was just awakened to the freedom of not knowing about said suffering. I realized that knowing what was going on in other countries that I had no impact on positively changing, only added to the tension and grief that I already felt in life. Further, not knowing allowed me to escape pompous discussions from friends and family about "What we should be doing as a country" and from hearing the same small recycled piece of general knowledge that CNN and other News outlets collectively briefed America with.
I understand that it is not Christian of me to lower the amount of "likes" for Tsunami relief in Japan by one. I'm not even going to pretend that I know what the hell is/was going on in Egypt either. Obviously I could quickly go out and read a few articles and familiarize myself with the details. I could then go and pompously look down upon someone who is as ignorant as I am. But, this is not an essay about me being consumed with the comings and goings of Kim Kardashian. This is not an essay about my love of Juicy Couture and attaining material wealth and possessions while ignoring important political issues. It is the realization that even when I am moderately informed about what is going on in other parts of the world I can a) do nothing about it and b) I legitimately know nothing about it. Any action or opinion I might formulate will be biased to how the information is a) presented to me and how b) limited to my perspective on how I was raised and socialized.
Have you ever been having a deeply person conversation with a significant other or friend? You know, the type of conversation that you might only have 4 times in your life. You're really getting into the important details of what it means to be you as a person. You start to uncover unknown truths about yourself and the person you are talking to. You begin to feel closer to them, you begin to feel a sense of meaning and purpose in your life. Just then a third party walks into the room and says "Hey, whatcha talkin' bout?" and you say "The deeply important details that govern our entire lives." and they say: "Cool, I'm going to take the very limited information you have given me and quickly develop a broad stroke solution that insults both of you while simultaneously making me look like a prick. How's that sound?" and you say "Um........great."