Halfway Gone

I’ve been struggling to find things to write about. I’ve managed to put together a few semi-coherent sentences over the last couple days, but for the most part they’ve been entirely aimless. I realized this morning while searching for an idea that the problem is that I’ve been halfway gone for the past few days. Being halfway gone means you’re still working and going through your routines, you react essentially normally to the world around you, but ultimately you don’t absorb new information and time seems to pass both in a blur and at a trudging but incomprehensible pace. If you’ve ever spent days, weeks, or months constantly stoned then quit you probably know the feeling. You realize once you’re sober and your mind has cleared up a bit that you’ve actually missed a hell of a lot. That’s what I’m feeling this morning, that I’ve just been forced back into facing reality — and reality isn’t all that pretty right now. I think unconsciously dropping out like I have is a coping mechanism. The stress of the holidays, the political climate, and my generally high baseline of stress and anxiety eventually override my brain’s ability to operate properly and it just gives up trying. I assume I’ll recover and feel like my normal anxious self soon enough.

In thinking about what to write about I realized there hasn’t been a lot news lately. Obviously that’s completely untrue, but it seems like the media is halfway gone during the holidays too. I don’t know whether that’s a result of me and others taking advantage of a socially acceptable excuse to avoid the news or it’s a result of the media celebrating holidays themselves, but it definitely feels like the level of attention the world, America specifically as that’s what I know, drops significantly during the last week or two of the year. There are tons of retrospectives written in every possible variation, there are pieces published about what to expect or want from the new year, and there are pieces about how to cope with the holidays or stick to resolutions or lose weight you gained during the holidays, but it feels like the last two weeks of the year are good for news dumps. In terms of political news there seem to be three major veins of interest that intertwine in different places. The first is the UN resolution on Israeli settlements, the second what Obama’s choosing to do as he leaves office, and finally Donald Trump’s ignorance and eventual powerful ignorance. In terms of the first two I don’t have a ton to say, Israel is seemingly foolishly tying itself closer to the American far right which. Obama’s doing some good stuff but as always not going quite as much as could and should. Donald Trump has, of course, tweeted some insane things over the last three or four days. He’s swinging at Obama because Obama said he could’ve beat him, he’s apparently taking credit for Christmas spending, and he’s attacking the UN over the resolution. This conversation came up during the campaign, but it’s different now that he’s actually going to be the rapist, racist president. Should the media cover Trump’s tweets as news? During the campaign the answer, I think, was basically universally no as he never actually said anything substantive in them. Now what he says can be substantive and inane at the same time. The reality is that whether or not they should, cable news will eat up every Trump tweet. They’re catnip for cable news, perfect little bites for tables full of pundits to argue over. When Trump tweets something dumb about Obama not being able to beat him, that’s pettiness not news. When he tweets threats to the Chinese, that’s possibly news. The reality is that we don’t know yet how the world is going to interpret Trump’s tweets. It’s possible, but seemingly unlikely, the world will come to interpret Trump’s tweets as entirely for a domestic audience and unrelated to the policies he’ll pursue. If that’s the case the media should entirely ignore what he tweets. If the world instead sees Trump’s tweets as honest reflections of what his policies will be then there are obviously cases where you’d have to report on his tweet. Tweets that are simply inflammatory or insulting to domestic ‘enemies’ should probably be ignored unless some specific action is taken against that person or group; including inciting, encouraging, or supporting others to take action. The basic distinction is will the tweet amount to merely being words or will it result in action of some sort.

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