March 25, 2003
News Diet

I don't seem to have very much to say lately. Mostly because as expected, once the war kicked in, it's been freaky.

Life has been a little different in the past week, what with all the cops and protesters out in the streets. For me, dealing with bad news in 500-point type at 6 a.m. every day got progressively more difficult. I certainly didn't go near the hysteria-inducing TV news.

Things have been a bit better since I started my news diet, which means avoiding most of the war news, except for some analysis pieces. This is a trick I learned in the weeks following 9/11 when anxiety became a national hobby. As a journalist, I feel slightly irresponsible, but I appreciate getting some of the mental real estate back.

On the other hand, it's hard to understand why consuming the news 24/7 is an imperative these days. Pre-CNN, pre-Internet, people didn't get to keep up on every bloody inch of the news and it didn't seem to damage the civic fabric. Indeed, in the 19th century you had to wait for the mail to arrive to find out what was going on.

Irresponsible or not, I still need to participate in the world, make decisions, get stuff done, and not act weird as that upsets the staff. The less news I consume, the better chance of my success and the less chance of my randomly bursting into tears because we're out of Post-it notes. So, news diet. At least for now.

As a result, I am somewhat disconnected and this makes things seem a little surreal. Sort of like this passage from DV:

I'll never forget that afternoon, coming down the rue Cambon--my last afternoon in Paris for five years. ...I don't think I could have made it to the end of the block, I was so depressed--leaving Chanel, leaving Europe, leaving all the world of...of my world.

And then I saw this type coming up next to the Ritz, and it was my friend Ray Goetz, the most amusing man who ever lived. He had on a blue felt hat. ...

"Oh, Ray!" I said. "Isn't it awful about the war?"

He turned. He looked at me for just a minute--just a split second--and asked, "What war?" And with that, he walked right past, like a shadow.

How's always the same. Anyone can knock you over with a remark--or they can set you right up, which is what he did. I don't think I've ever been more grateful to a human being.

Posted at March 25, 2003 08:57 PM

Book looks fascinating... would you recommend it?

Posted by: brian on March 28, 2003 08:02 AM

It's a fun read, although not particularly deep. You need to have a certain amount of tolerance for fashion-related yammering. You can borrow mine, if you want.

Posted by: Anne on March 29, 2003 04:55 PM
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