“The world right now can feel oppressively negative, and I find myself exhausted and weepy after a day of watching the news cycle.”

“Self-care can sometimes mean turning off my phone and watching YouTube videos of unlikely animal friendships for a few hours. It’s not sustainable to be tapped in 24/7, and it’s okay to give yourself a day of eating cookie dough while being wrapped in a million blankets before getting back out there to fight the good fight.”

Writes Katie Wheeler at WaPo. The rest of what’s there is a very simply drawn comic showing a woman hearing about the news, despairing (“Nooooo!”), and running home to sit, wrapped in a blanket, in the dark. I’m calling attention to this not because I think the drawing is particularly good but because of the open awareness — at The Washington Post — of the natural, predictable human response to the excessive and unbroken negativity of the news. And yet the denial is there: the woman who turns away from the news media’s ugly hysteria will only withdraw for “a few hours,” and after which she will “get back out there and fight the good fight.” She won’t really change. She’ll certainly still vote the “right” way, and she will never doubt that the “oppressively negative” news is really the news and that she has a duty to attend to it — after a modest break for “self-care.”

And “getting back out there and fight the good fight” is deceptive. This woman was only consuming the news, which isn’t really “out there” and isn’t really “fighting.” It’s rather passive, and it’s absurd to think that by watching media, you’re some kind of activist. If you withdraw, calm yourself, and reflect intelligently, you might become critical of how the media manipulate you into the fake activism of obsessing over the news and the lame virtue of believing that you are “good” because you’re alarmed and feeling pugnacious about what you’re passively absorbing.


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