Thursday, April 19, 2007

What's the news?

Most people look at me like I am a criminal the first time they hear
that I don't watch the news. "YOU ARE KIDDIN' ME!?" is the first
reaction, the second one being, "How can you NOT watch the news?" Well,
I just don't watch it so that accomplishes the not watching part of it!

My logic is very simple, if I watch the news I'll get to read or watch
about one of two types of things generally - good or bad. If it's good
then it happened to someone else (if it had happened to me, I'd know,
right?), then I'd feel a desire, a longing, or even envy that it didn't
happen to me. If it's bad, then being a sensitive guy, I'd feel really
sorry for the unfortunate victims - like the Virginia Tech victims, and
it'll get me down, bringing down my productivity levels. In none of the
cases does it make me feel good. So why should I invest my time and
money in something that is sure to make me feel bad?

Another argument is - to stay abreast of current affairs. I don't need
to watch news for that. If it's big enough I'll hear it soon enough,
from some source. I was in office when 9/11 happened and NOT watching
news, but I heard it before the 2nd plane hit.

If it's relevant, I'll hear it quick enough. I was not watching news
when the US H1B visa quota got overapplied on the first day in India,
but I heard it within a couple of hours of the embassy closing. So
there's no chance that they'll propose my name for the Nobel Peace Prize
and I won't hear of it because I was not watching news.

There was a time when I was meddling in the stock market. During that
phase I used to keep tab of stock prices and related news. But I never
had to pick up a newspaper for that. It all came to me, from various
sources.

Time and again, under the tremendous pressure of the news-reading
community, I have tried to get into the habit of reading a newspaper,
but it has always bored the hell out of me. So I went back to my
original practice of turning to the comic page as soon as I picked up
the paper, then reading the jokes if any, and if I still had nothing
better to do, skimming through the paper to look at ads featuring
beautiful girls.

In this day and age, when information is the most important and most
expensive commodity, the news channels as well as print media exists
only to sensationalize anything they can find in order to promote their
own business. I'd much rather watch the re-runs of the re-runs of the
same episodes of the same comedy TV shows than waste an hour watching a
news-discussion of why Prince William dumped Kate Middleton. If the
former can make me laugh once in the half-hour, it's a good investment.

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