03 July 2013

Don't Read The News

Someone just shared a fascinating article with me about "the news." It's titled, News Is Bad For You and Giving Up Reading It Will Make You Happier, but it's really about information overload and is even more applicable to me as a blogger. Anyone who blogs and/or absorbs lots of information online will relate to this article. It has definitely changed my online reading habits, my news consumption, and my blogging. It's worth your time to read it.

Just for a tease, consider the implications of this excerpt:
Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus. Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It's not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It's because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
You can read the rest here. But you'll need to excuse me while I begin an effort to fix some old connections and get happy.

I'll be back in a day or two with a post about the Doris Kearns Goodwin debacle at Gettysburg this past Saturday. I think I'll title the post, Academia's Chickens Have Come Home To Roost - At Gettysburg.


13thBama said...

They just have no shame. And yes, I intentionally said "They" because she is representative of the left. Everything is politics and politics is everything.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

It was disgraceful. Even some historians on the left cringed, but not enough. What frosts me is that no one is being held accountable. The NPS is at least partly to blame for this disaster. The speech will forever stain Gettysburg's 150th and no one is being held responsible.

Can you imagine what the outcry would be if this politicization had come from a conservative historian extolling the virtues of the Tea Party, gun rights, etc.?

E.J. D'Agrosa said...

Nothing like taking a day which is supposed to honor the brave Americans on both sides who fought and died there and using it to advance a progressive agenda! The left continues to disgust me each and every day. I can't really imagine what it would have been like had a conservative group discussed things like gun rights, because they probably would have been denied access to speak anyway.

Robert Moore said...

Hi Richard,

Without a doubt, DKG was the lowest point of the entire week. I was there at the opening, heard Charles Gibson speak... enjoyed that... but DKG wasn't long into her presentation (sounding more like a self-congratulatory, politics-centralized pitch), and I opted to walk away...

I walked over to the stone wall, and while she kept on going ("Me, me, me; LBJ, blah, blah, blah"), I closed it out as I looked over the fields around me. While standing at the wall, I was able to get rid of her noise and reconnect with why I came to Gettysburg in the first place.

Did "Academia's Chickens" come home to roost at Gettysburg? Oh, certainly, SOME did, but I think that was blown-up to appear far larger and much more significant than it actually was. The vast majority there were people who came to be a part of something much greater. In that, the media failed miserably... it missed an opportunity. It seems to have focused far too much on the talking heads, and failed at not taking a closer look at the common man (and women and children) who was present... and why they came. That's where the best stories could be found.

Don't let what you see fool you. The largest microphones and cameras took viewers to places and people that THEY thought were more important. I think the only way you would have been able to enjoy the better side of it is if you were there (not at the DKG speech) to see for yourself what actually dominated the event.

It was four days that I won't forget, topped-off with a "little walk, across a long field" in a group that carried a flag denoting it as Kemper's Brigade. Also... yes... Confederate battle flags came across in those groups... all six brigades... that took on the identities of the respective brigades in the Pickett-Pettigrew assault.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

EJ - I think the outcry would have been echoed by the media and academics - loud and unified. The reaction to Goodwin - though mostly negative - was rather measured by the usual suspects. The fact no one is calling for accountability from the NPS and the fact they're silent speaks volumes. They're complicit.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert - Yes, besides the obvious promotion of a political agenda, her "me, me, me" was quite disgusting. I'm glad you had a good experience. Despite my criticisms of Goodwin, I do wish I could have made it.


Robert Moore said...

I'm not so sure about the NPS' silence, Richard. I can't say for a fact, but I think that NPS-Foundation partnership might be part of the reason for the silence. I've posed a question, to which I haven't yet received an answer (I'm not sure if anyone outside the partnership knows for certain). I'm wondering if DKG was invited by the Foundation as opposed to the NPS. If so, I imagine that's not an easy issue with which to deal. No matter, it might be that all parties involved would rather this just... go away. There are, after all, more positive features than Goodwin's attempt at making it about something that it was not.

Richard G. Williams, Jr. said...

Robert - I understand your point, but I think their silence leaves others (like me) to make assumptions that may not be true. I understand the complexities with these types of partnerships, but due to the venue it's impossible, in my opinion, for the NPS not to have some accountability here real or perceived. If they're blameless, they should at least speak up and say they had nothing to do with inviting Ms. Goodwin. Otherwise, this will constantly be brought up about the NPS's real or imagined politicizing of the event, given the fact she was the keynote and the venue was Gettysburg. That may not be true, but it remains the perception among many and you know what they say about perception.