Monday, July 20, 2009

Walter Cronkite, Michael Jackson and working out

For the past month or so, I have (re)begun a new routine: I signed up to a gym and have been working out dutifully every other day.  Although I usually try to go at a time other than "workout rush hour",  I almost always arrive at the resistance weight machines when at least one other person is huffing and puffing to improve their muscle tone or mass.

Instead of music, my particular gym sports a television in the weight room which is almost always blaring, and since I am not the only one there, I do not wish to deprive others of their desired distraction.

As a result, I have listened unwillingly to the circus that became Michael Jackson's funeral, and I saw Jackson's daughter express her heartfelt and tear-streaked love for her father. I saw retrospective after retrospective of Walter Cronkite's career - including a description of a dinner meeting and conversation between Katie Couric and Cronkite as told by Couric herself. The only thing I heard her recount was that Cronkite thought she would do a good job as the newest CBS evening anchor (and that they discussed American Idol). I heard much of Jon and Kate's divorce and how the eight were to manage (not to mention the show).  All of this was reported under the label "news".

Perhaps I'm being unfeeling, but I'm grieving myself - for the loss of investigative journalism and reporting. After having been away from television for so long, I automatically begin to turn to contemplation and an almost meditative state while I'm working on the leg press or stomach curl. The blare of the TV interrupts my peace with the empty calories of infotainment, and the prescription ads and debt relief companies get inside my brain no matter how much I search for quiet.

Are we so uncomfortable with our thoughts in this modern world that we need a continuous stream of noisy distraction? Does anyone even remember a day that is void of yelling advertisements? What would Walter Cronkite have said if he had been asked to present a Video News Release (made by the company being spoken of in the release, packaged up and sent to stations as news items)?

All I want is unbiased information - or at least opinions that are not tainted by corporate influence. The search for the truth has been lost somewhere among commercials, sponsorships and paid advertisements. How can we get this back? Do you think we can?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Crazy hermit lady?

In this day and age, with fast food, fast cars, fast planes and trains, fast correspondence, fast deliveries, fast replies, fast weddings, fast marriages, fast childhoods and fast lives, I needed to take some of my precious and increasingly condensed time to pause, contemplate and unravel the complex stresses of my life. I had to learn to BREATHE again.

Two years ago, I decided to give up cable television. For three days and three nights, this was very hard, but then I realized that I didn't miss it. In fact, I found myself having more time to... live! I was suddenly experiencing life more fully! I was walking more and writing more, spending more time outside and reading some of the great works of literature and information books that I had been putting off. It was wonderful! And when my husband and I decided to part ways a short time later (not because of the TV!), I decided to go against the advice of many well-wishing friends and relatives who thought I needed the boob tube for company. 

Breaking the chains of the advertisements that blare at us through the glitzy packaging of programming has actually helped me a great deal. It took a while to fully experience it and sometimes it leaves me out of conversations that are centered around last night's show, but I think in the long run, it has been well worth it. What are your thoughts on this? Do you agree? Do you think I'm a crazy hermit lady? Please, let me know what you think!