Thursday, I was feeling lousy enough to take a rare sick day, which in the world of the self-employed means turning on the TV before 6 pm and, rather than having it as background while you work, actually watching it.
Gaah. Don't ever do that.
It helped shift my nausea from the personal to a more universal level because, as Mike Smith notes, it was a day of "An airplane appears to have crashed. We don't know why" repeated over and over, interrupted only, as he notes, by the summoning of experts who also did not know why the airplane appeared to have crashed.
Finally, CNN's anchor interrupted the expert on airplanes apparently crashing for unknown reasons and threw it to a live press briefing at the White House, where White House spokesman Josh Earnest was telling reporters that an airplane had apparently crashed and that the president did not know why.
Then a reporter asked him about House passage of a bill responding to Puerto Rico's bankruptcy crisis and I thought, "Finally, we'll get into some news that matters."
But before he could respond, CNN switched back to the studio so their expert could further expound upon inexplicably potentially crashed airplanes.
This has nothing to do with "censoring" or "skewing" the news for political reasons. They do not report news badly in order to make us less well-informed and more gullible. They do it in order to make money.
Which is like someone running over your dog not because they hate dogs but because they are lousy drivers: It's a distinction of little importance to you and still less to the dog.
So watch something else.
Oh, I double-dare you.
Because I started flipping through the channels and the available programming was on a level of moronic simplemindedness that made Millie Montag look less a figure in a science fiction dystopia than just regular folks.
Which was Bradbury's point, but he was speaking metaphorically and it sure seems more like reality than metaphor at this point.
Channel after channel: A few 50-year-old sitcom reruns, some edited-to-PG movies, insanely delusional "science" programs, some vaguely disguised infomercials and then all the "Fahrenheit 451" shows, on which chipper, self-celebratory hostesses and happy guests burble on cheerfully and all but pause for Millie to say her lines and be part of the merry gathering.
We've always had stupid entertainment, but, as I've noted many times before, the gormless imbeciles enjoying vulgar medieval puppet shows were cogs, not citizens, and had no role in their own governance than to plant in the spring, harvest in the fall and die in the war.
Granted, it may be as naive to believe that the world has changed as it is to believe that it hasn't.
It looks nasty out; better leave it in
After all, the real world is much more frightening than the one on TV.
Tank is off hiking in scary bear country.
Poor Enos can't even deal with the inevitable critters that show up in any setting.
And the Morgans were thinking of moving to town, but hated to give up their beautiful country lifestyle, until dog-and-daughter were sprayed by a skunk. Now (well, yesterday) June has laid down the law.
It's not that these strips are saying nature is bad and frightening, but they do rely on a common acceptance that it isn't exactly nurturing, either.
I'm waiting for the annual flood of "Dad's making us go camping" strips in which it's a toss-up whether the story line will make Dad or the kids look more foolish. In recent years, it seems the trend is against silly ol' Dad, but maybe that's just me.
In any case, one of my kid-reporters recently interviewed Richard Louv about his new book, "Vitamin N," the latest sally in his lifelong campaign to get kids out of the house, off the concrete and into the dirt, and he's beginning to seem more and more like a throwback.
Some of his fondest childhood memories were spent with his dog, spending hours in nature: “Nobody knew where I was. . . except my dog!”
Such parental neglect would bring a squad car today, and even Lenore Skenazy couldn't save you from CPS if you allowed an unsupervised child to touch an unwashed toad without at least gloving up, if not using tongs.
Which made it a genuine pleasure to read Lucy Knisely's frank, funny take on childbirth, of which this is but a snippet, the whole of it, in turn, being only a teaser for a book-length piece I can't wait to see.
This is fearlessness on a level I truly admire: She is smart without being a smartass, a slicing of reality we don't see nearly enough of.
I admire her ability to thread that needle, to be flip without being dismissive, to avoid becoming a tiresome pregnancy buddha without overcompensating in the other direction by going all Joan Rivers as she discusses, "the horror show and delight that accompanies this everyday miracle."
It's a level of physical comfort with the real world that throws me back to one of the first of the (real, not media) hippies, Alicia Bay Laurel, whose 1969 handbook, "Living on the Earth" offered true back-to-the-earth wisdom gained in a (real, not media) commune.
The book itself is a priceless collection of wisdom that provided many of us with our first granola recipe, among other things, but, far more important, was a quiet, self-confident feminist voice that modeled a lifestyle and attitude others hoped to follow.
Or, sometimes, not: Her wise, well-informed, two-page discussion of home delivery -- about 1% of the book -- was chiefly remembered for its final, heretofore unheard-of tip.
That other thing perhaps not so often. Or at all.
But it sure made us contemplate the process through her own fascinating mix of ethereal romance and straight-up biology.
And speaking of natural things that aren't scary
Men of quality are not threatened by women of equality.
In fact, they prefer them.