The pastor actually seemed irritated that there were no reporters in the church.
“You don’t see The Media covering this,” he said as about a dozen congregants literally took the plunge in their baptisms.
And all I could think was, “Even here?”
No matter where I am or what the situation is, somebody is going to take a gratuitous swipe at The Media. We haven’t reached the point at which everyone is required to wear a mask, but it seems we all have a media-slap quota that we must meet.
Even people in The Media love to pile on, dismissing viewpoints they don’t like as “something The Media wants you to believe.” On the left, they deride the right-wing outlets and websites. On the right, they attack everyone else as “leftist,” “mainstream” or “lamestream.” And that’s especially weird, because it’s pretty clear there is no single “media” with a single slant or a singular focus. “Media” is a plural word for a reason. In this country, we have left wing and right wing, mainstream and niche, online, broadcast, corporate, social…even retired guys who take up blogging for fun.
Within that confused maelstrom of views, The Media is whatever message I don’t like. If I think the message is wrong or the emphasis is misdirected or the timing is bad or my side isn’t supported unconditionally, I’ll blame The Media. If I’m not getting the attention I want, The Media are biased against me. If I’m getting attention that I don’t want, The Media are biased against me. If I’m getting what I want, The Media finally got it right.
Meanwhile, as much as we spit on the Fourth Estate, we rely on The Media for about 90% of what we think we know about this world. I’ve never been to India, never attended a session of Parliament, never rode a rocket…but I know at least something about them from reading the daily news. I’ve never attended a BLM march or a Trump rally, never subscribed to a QAnon site or discussed motivations with anarchists. Over the past several years, it’s become more and more clear to all of us that we live in relative bubbles, restricted to a small social and familial sphere, relying on other sources to flesh out our sense of the world.
We rely on The Media.
I don’t think there’s any other institution that we rely on so intimately and loathe so flippantly as The Media. It might be the one thing that unites people of all faiths, political views, tribes, cities, states and pronouns. We all hate The Media.
Actually, this might be a good thing. Buried somewhere in our universal scorn for the people we depend on so much, hidden in the constant sniping at the people who hired fact checkers before anyone had heard of fact checkers, just maybe there is the kernel of cohesion. Perhaps our disdain for The Media can form the spark of unity this country needs so desperately.
It’s not ideal, I know. It’s not like we can agree that there’s a Covid pandemic or that Joe Biden is the president or that internet dress is gold, not black, but at least we can agree on one thing: We all hate The Media. And if we can all share in the glow of our hatred for just a few moments, maybe we can begin the healing our nation craves so deeply.
It isn’t much, but it’s a start. Join me in shouting, “I hate The Media,” and we can begin the long journey home.
Now that you realize Dad Writes is part of The Media, you’ll absolutely want to cancel your subscription. But you can’t cancel until after you’ve clicked here to subscribe. First things first, my friends.
Dining out is pretty close to normal again, which is a continuing source of joy for a guy who’s energized by a noisy joint and really tired of doing his own dishes. Part Two of our celebration…
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Now that almost all the restrictions have been lifted and outdoor dining is available pretty much everywhere in the country, I’m rediscovering the joys of never, ever, ever cooking my own food. I’m also rediscovering some of the fascinating questions that come with restaurant visits, including…
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It was the first day of spring and the mercury hadn’t hit 50 degrees yet, but the restaurant wasn’t serving indoors and I needed some pancakes. So I sat outside in my winter coat and absorbed whatever warmth I could from the propane heater near my table, congratulating myself on how tough I’ve become and how well I can cope with dining al freezco.
Then it occurred to me that I’m not really that tough at all. For the people who live under the expressway at North Avenue, this is every meal, every night’s sleep, every new dawn. Braving the cold is a temporary discomfort for me. For them, it’s Tuesday.
As I raced to finish my breakfast before the syrup froze, I became increasingly grateful for the daunting experience of eating outside on a cold day; grateful for my usual good fortune in bypassing what is “normal” for too many others. I was cold and uncomfortable, and I ended up being grateful for both, thankful for the lessons provided by my temporary suffering.
Increasingly, I’m finding, gratitude is most meaningful on the downside. As I’ve mentioned in a prior post, It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well, but the deepest connections come from the setbacks.
During the winter, I was fortunate enough to spend some time in a couple of emergency rooms, an operating room and a hospital bed. The treatments extended over more than two months and there’s no question I would have been happy to avoid it. Still, I ended up grateful for the journey.
I was grateful for access to good medical care, of course, and grateful for the commitment medical workers were making for my safety. I was grateful for the fact this was only a temporary setback that would end at some point, rather than a chronic situation that would accompany me through life. And I was very, very grateful for Medicare, which processed more than $100,000 of medical bills, whittled the total down to $2,600, and left me owing just a few hundred bucks.
Finally, I was grateful for some valuable perspective about the minor nuisances that somehow command a huge portion of my attention, nuisances that disappeared from my awareness when something really serious took control. I was grateful for the opportunity to experience the pain and the discomfort that made me more aware and more pleased about the times when everything is fine.
It takes some work and a definite shift of perspectives to become truly grateful for the crap life can throw at you. Gratitude doesn’t make the bad things good or the hard times pleasant, but it does provide some added meaning to life, a bit of a payoff for the negative experiences. I’m just learning how to do it and the learning curve is far from smooth, but I’m finally starting to reap the benefits of my new education.
For which I am very, very grateful.
And while we’re on the subject, I’d be even more grateful is you’d click here to become a subscriber.
I think I’ll cancel my plans for April 1, but maybe I can schedule a really great dinner, as I shift my calendar yet again…
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I know a woman who always thinks she has inside information. We’ve been connected for about two decades and I can’t recall a time when she wasn’t ready to set me straight about whatever misconception I had about the world and its workings. No matter the topic, it seems, she has recently spoken with someone who knows better, a real insider who enlightened her about the truth that’s being hidden from the rest of us.
Almost invariably, her special source seems to be just another Joe; maybe someone in a relevant industry, but not a person we’d expect to have their own hotline to the truth. It might be someone in the financial industry who’s explaining what’s really behind a market move, or it might be a government worker who claims that published data are skewed. Rumors abound in large organizations, so there are undoubtedly conflicting stories floating around at any given time, but she thinks she has an unerring ability to identify the truth that’s hidden in the static.
Usually, she’s wrong, or at least I think she’s wrong because pretty much everyone tells a different story than she’s getting from her “inside source.” The preponderance of evidence against her view doesn’t dissuade her, though. Once a person decides she has found a hidden truth, every contradiction makes it more hidden and, therefore, more truthful.
The strangest thing, to me, is the contrast between her acceptance of unproven claims and the sharp reasoning skills and fact-driven approach she brings to her career and finances. In her career, she is strategic and discerning, but outside of her business she is the easiest of marks.
She’s also more than a bit smug about the whole thing, as if her “inside information” makes her better connected or smarter or more Chosen than I am. Maybe she’s just proud of herself for her ability to follow the rabbit trail back and forth until she reaches the conclusion she was going to reach either way.
I’m a pretty lazy guy, so I don’t have the energy to jump through a dozen hoops to get from one fact to a global conspiracy. My acquaintance, on the other hand, is much more agile and energetic, jumping through multiple hoops on the way to whatever conclusion supports the view she had when she started.
Clearly, we need to implement the One Hoop Rule to bring some sanity back to our conversations. If all you need is a single leap to get to your conclusion, maybe it’s worth considering. If you need to play hopscotch, expect to be ignored. In fact, my new mantra is going to be, “Two hoops. You’re out.” I expect to be repeating it frequently.
Fox Mulder said, “The truth is out there,” which was clearly a coded directive to subscribe to Dad Writes by clicking Out There right here.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.