Friday, 3 February 2012

How important is the news?

One of the things I have noticed since I came to live up here twenty-five years ago, is that the local people do not, on the whole, take an interest in world news. What happens in our local area - our village, our own little town, our Dale and maybe our nearest market town is of great importance. Who has died, married, given birth, been up in court for some offence or other, asked for Planning Permission for something - all these things are of importance, are read avidly in the local press, are discussed at the local Auction Mart, at parties and at meetings whilst out walking the dogs. I was reminded of this this morning when the farmer returned from his early morning walk with the dogs and searched me out to tell me that there were traffic lights to be set up at the top of a local hill. No way I am going up there today as I am going out for the day (more of that later) but he had seen our sub-contract hedge-cutting man who is out early doing our hedges while the ground is hard and frosty. Mike had told him about the traffic lights.

I am a reader of the Times. I literally read it from cover to cover each day (excluding the football and sports pages) and do like to know what is going on in the world. If I try to discuss any of this with the farmer he will make a comment or two but then his eyes begin to glaze over.

I wonder - is this a bad attitude? I am often struck by how little we can do about some of the major issues in the world. I need to read about the so called Arab Spring in the Middle East. I am appalled at the cruelty, the loss of life, the terror it is all inflicting. But can I do anything at all about it? No. So - is it important to read about it or would I be better to leave that and concentrate on local issues in our local paper - like whether or not our library stays open?

The farmer has a peace of mind, a serene attitude to life, a gentle humour and an unflappability which I envy greatly and take great comfort from. I have noticed it amongst so many of our farming friends up here. I put it down to living close to the land, to experiencing life and death as an integral part of things in their dealings with animals, to taking the ups and downs of life as a matter of course as farming suffers highs and lows.

Might I be sensible to ignore the foreign pages in the Times, to do the crossword, the Sudoku, the Killer and the various other mind games which I tackle over breakfast every morning and let the Arab Spring, the Falklands fuss, the grounding and sinking of the liner off the coast of Italy and all the other issues, take care of themselves. It's not as though I intend to man the barricades in Cairo is it?

Today my friend W and I are off to Kirby Lonsdale to meet friends P and D for lunch in a local Bistro. The journey, through Wensleydale and then through Ribblesdale, with the viaduct on my header to one side of the road and Ingleborough (one of the three peaks) on the other, promises to be a delight today as the fells are certain to be covered in snow and the sun is already shining in a clear blue sky. So hopefully I shall have photographs to show you tomorrow. Heavy snow is forecast for Saturday and Sunday. So far we have avoided it, but I shall stock up on food today in case we do get snowed in. Have a nice day.

25 comments:

Tom Stephenson said...

I know how the Farmer feels, Weaver. The trouble is that global events have more and more effect on us these days, and it might be prudent to keep up with a few of them that do. It's all so bloody depressing though, isn't it? 50% or more of the news these days is financial, and I was never interested in global finance, even when it didn't seem to affect me. Oh well...

Arija said...

I do think it is important to keep abreast of world news and be aware of what is going on in the world at large. Most people In Germany stuck their heads securely in the sand at the rise of Nazism, we certainly don't want a repeat of something like that for sheer inattention to world affairs.

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

It's overwhelming to read about the atrocities and financial chaos happening in the rest of the world - I feel helpless when I read it too. But I also feel that it's dangerous to live in a little bubble of safety. When you distance yourself so far away from what is happening to others you forget that it can happen in your own home town.

Toffeeapple said...

I am definitely of the ostrich persuasion. I have never taken an interest in the news, it bores me, worries me and depresses me so I leave it for other people to deal with. I am a happy little soul.

MrsL said...

I tend to take note of the headlines, but don't necessarily want the in depth detail etc. If for any reason I do, I can search out more info, but to just get the gist of it is enough for me to cope with. Can become overwhelming for me if I read too much of it. Effect is lessened by not getting a paper, no radio on or TV.

Heather said...

I'm with Tom on this one. As a child during the second World War, I was sheltered from hearing the news or seeing newspapers to protect me from all the horrors. This led to me becoming an adult who never took an interest in current affairs or world news - it was ages before I realised why this was so. I do sympathise with the terrible conditions that so many people have to endure and feel quite helpless to do anything to improve things. I believe we should follow the news but I only want the truth and not some scaremonger's version of events.

Rachel Fox said...

If you are going to read news I personally wouldn't read any paper that comes from the Murdoch empire. I know the Times was once considered a good paper but these days..? Doesn't it just coast on its old reputation?
I'm not saying there is a perfect source of news anywhere else but...
x

Gerry Snape said...

well I hope that you had a great lunch...I love Kirby L. Now about the news...I read the times cover to cover ...even sport as the potter is interested. I understand those who choose not to...though perhaps do feel that they hide their heads in the sand a bit!! but I think that the world is getting"smaller" as the media influence gets greater and until and if the whole thing collapses...then it's good to be aware of the world situation. You never know when and how you may influence something or somebody...I should think that your blog influences quite a few!!
great post.

Elizabeth said...

We are pretty much news junkies here 24/7....
and really no point to it at all.
I read the NY Times and want to weep with my impotence to save THE ENTIRE WORLD, fix the financial crisis etc.etc.It makes my head spin, in short.
I think the Farmer has a more sensible attitude --deal with those things we can impact and not get over involved with high jinks in Java and dreadfully sad things we can do nothing to ameliorate.
I agree with the commented who says no to the really very evil R. Murdoch who funds Channel 5 News here which is unkind, untrue and inflammatory.

Pondside said...

I read the paper every day and watch the evening news. There is national and international news on the radio every hour and, increasingly, it is filled with bad news - only the horrors in the world, the terrible court cases, flood, famine, cruelty etc etc. I find myself struggling, sometimes, to find my equilibrium after a news broadcast. I can't stick my head in the sand, but I sometimes long to!

Bovey Belle said...

My OH is a keen news hound and like his mother before him, would be happy to watching rolling news 24/7 and express his opinion on it to. He has a very good grasp of politics - and barely a good word for any of the politicians either! I like to be aware of what is happening in the world, but like your husband, what counts for me is what has a local impact. I expect it is the same for many country dwellers.

Mac n' Janet said...

Other than a quick glance at headlines on the internet I have given up reading the news, in particular political news.
I watch the local weather report, I don't even follow local news.
Am I happier since I started doing this? Absolutely!

Gwil W said...

I think it's important to take news from several sources to get the big picture. News tends to have a parochial slant, especially here in the EU. The same problem in the US. Electioneering gaffs show how little top politicians, those who make the news, know about the world. Even basic geography is lacking. One prominent US politician thinks Iraq borders Afghanistan for example.

Pomona said...

Have a really good weekend - hope you keep warm. I am afraid that I am a bit head in the sand - I listen to lots of radio 4, but try not to worry about the things I can't do anything about.

Pomona x

angryparsnip said...

I read the local paper, and World News on the internet.
My first Scottie was named Kirby, although she was named for the Kirby vacuum cleaner everything on the floor was hers and the Nintendo game the kids liked.
I would love to see a photo of Kirby.

cheers, parsnip

H said...

I tend to read the headlines and follow up on what I think are the most important stories, local and world. Most of it is via internet news and radio 4.

I do think it's important to have at least a basic understanding of what's going on in the rest of the world, but I hate listening to politicians shifting blame back and forth; flinging accusations and grandiose claims around like an endless supply of confetti.

acornmoon said...

A Bistro in Kirby Lonsdale , who'd a thought it?

Keep warm. x

Loren said...

I don't think i could quit reading the news even if I wanted to, but I have noted that when i'm out car-camping or backpacking that I don't miss not reading the news a bit.

There are certainly more pleasurable things in the world, and when I can, I focus on those instead.

Still, I like to be informed enough that I can vote intelligently and contribute as much as possible to solving problems rather than creating new problems.

The Solitary Walker said...

Like Loren, I never read the news when I'm away on holiday or out on the trail. At home, I like to keep abreast, mostly through the Saturday Guardian and the radio, sometimes through the BBC News channel or Sky News. Though I do keep up less than I used to, as I've found the global economic situation so depressing of late. Unlike you, Pat, I don't read a paper during the week.

The Solitary Walker said...

PS Traffic lights at the top of the hill! WHATEVER NEXT! Keep us posted...

BilboWaggins said...

ditto so many of the excellent comments already left. Especially Mac n'Janet. I know world events affect us all, especially economic and financial ones, but my knowing about them changes nothing except my own sense of well-being. I am a much happier soul for ignoring most of what goes on outside my own little world. Husband is a news junkie; yesterday he got so incensed about this Chris Huhne business I don't like to think how much his BP went up. . .

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes - it seems we all have the same dilemma as regards the news. One other thing about it is that it is from our perspective that we are presented with it. The 'other side' whether Afghanistan/Syria/wherever would present a different story.
But as usual I provoked a lively debate - thank you for that.

Mary said...

I gave up newspapers and don't think they'll be around much longer! DH reads the local paper cover to cover daily and informs me of anything I really need to know about - however when he starts on crime, accidents, school board fighting, legal and financial messes, and the obits, I turn him off - same for sports!!

TV news stinks, ridiculous stories about so-called celebs seem to dominate. I usually try to watch the BBC international version on public television - at least their diction is excellent and they know how to pronounce foreign names!

I will go more in depth online if there is something really important to me going on somewhere on the planet. Yes, frustration eats away at me due to all the terribly sad things happening in the world, and yes I have a difficult time dealing with the fact I don't know how to help. Latest fear being circulated - heard on my car radio the other day - is 'cyber terror' and how the power grid, water supply, air space will be targeted. OMG, scare us all with something new. I think I would much prefer to be like your dear farmer with my head in the sand. Pat, do you have a spare barn? If so I'll be over ready to move in!

Hope you're not getting too much snow and your day out is fun - on the other and being snowed in and out of earshot of all the bad news may just be a wonderful blessing.

Love, Mary

Dartford Warbler said...

We are both newshounds here and try to keep up with events on Radio 4 or the BBC News channel ( or online).
I like to read an analysis of news events in the newspapers we take at weekends. I enjoy BBC Question Time`s discussions too.

Our village is very local in its news preoccupations and sometimes I wonder where the line is drawn between news and a good old gossip!

BilboWaggins said...

In our village I don't think there IS a line {grin}