The News is a Waste of Time, German Edition

I've been following Ralf Dobelli's excellent advice to ignore the news (g) for months now, and have been enjoying it. Any time I accidentally survey the German media landscape, I notice it's clogged with at least 4 categories of uselessness:

No. 1: Ineffectual bloviation (g) In this case, former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt calling for reductions in German weapons exports. Um, not going to happen!

No. 2: Breathless fear-mongering concerning the German urban bourgeoisie's hobbyhorses, such as nuclear power, genetically-modified crops, the death penalty, Facebook, and 'turbo-capitalism'. Remember those heroic workers who embraced certain nuclear death (g) to try to save the Fukushima nuclear plant? They're fine. Remember the rats (somehow) encrusted with horrifying tumors thanks to genetically-modified corn? Study debunked (g). Anytime you read 'catastrophic' in German news, automatically replace it with 'slightly problematic'. Better yet, don't read the news at all.

No. 3: T & A (g). At least this stuff's entertaining!

No. 4: Superfluous profiles of achingly dull German politicians (g). After a cabinet reshuffle, German ministries now have different titular heads, but are still run by the same shadowy functionaries. For vast numbers of the Germans, the 'new' cabinet will have no direct practical consequences at all. And you have no control over what changes actually do affect you, anyway.

The news, honestly: intermittently accurate information about events that don't affect you and over which you have no control. 

One thought on “The News is a Waste of Time, German Edition

  1. No. 1. I was pleased to see Schmidt’s appeal on the title page of “Die Zeit” this week. A man of his stature decrying the export of weapons to people, usually in developing countries, who then massacre each other. Ineffectual? Perhaps, but I welcome it.

    No. 2. Lots of fear mongering here in Germany and elsewhere, and, yes, not so good for the peace of mind of our citizenry. The highly pitched shrieks warning of impending doom. Fear leading to more fear.

    No. 3. Any suggestion of a sexual utopia in this chilly so-called civilization of ours lights a warming fire. Clothing off, masks laid aside: relating to each other openly and tenderly with our bodies. Nevertheless: not so simple as it seems.

    No. 4. They are dull, aren’t they? The cliché “shadowy functionaries” expresses it perfectly in this case. Groko, I wager, will not lead us to better places, certainly not the ones its proponents have promised us. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


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