I’ve spent a couple of months not writing. It’s liberating, let me tell you. It means more time for reading, which we all would surely agree is not only a wonderful pastime but helps you write better; a win-win. For instance, I finally got around to catching up with all the articles I had saved to Pocket and read back issues of the New Yorker. Just last night I read a fascinating interview from 1975 with Kingsley Amis in the Paris Review.
I have also had more time to read the news.
More time spent reading the news can be a good thing. At times though, it can become very disturbing for many reasons. I have found that the biggest current disturbance popping up everywhere in the media is fear, with outrage coming in a close second.
I used to enjoy Maureen Dowd's columns in the New York Times. She wrote homilies befitting her beliefs, ones that I felt were strongly held. Lately, like many other pundits, she has resorted to Obama-bashing among others; take a look at her most recent writings. What I take away from her columns these days is a sense that she is succumbing to her own personal fear.
Influential columnists are of course expected to divine and reflect societal moods, this is why they are given ample space to share their insights, yet her criticism of President Obama and his nuanced approach to war (aka “no boots on the ground”) and how to use the United States’ military might against those enemies who might attack us, both real (al Qaeda) and perceived (ISIS,) appears to be driving her crazy. I wish she would just come out and say how she feels. If nothing else she may prove me wrong. She may actually be ready to fight. I can’t tell.
Anyway, all of the above led me to draw up a quick non-scientific list of recent NYT headlines that are fundamentally important, yet require a lot more background reading; a nuance that is often sorely lacking.
Russian aggression in Ukraine link
European economic crisis link
Old white men worrying about the empowerment of women link
Scotland seceding from the UK [√ settled]
Money [√ ongoing]
Obama's foreign policy link
NFL and domestic violence
Emma Watson's profound speech at the United Nations link
Global warming link
Long-term unemployment in the USA (actually, no outrage here. There ought to be.) link
The shrinking of the middle-class (actually, no outrage here. There ought to be.) link
And I hate to bring attention to the odious Fox News anchor, Sean Hannity, but here he is defending corporal punishment against children, saying "it never did me any harm..." link