Monday, February 04, 2013

Musings on... News

During the non-interesting parts do the Super Bowl evening (the ones between the commercials, and there was a long, dark 35-minute stretch of it too), friends Nancy and Janell and I were on our iPhones exchanging app ideas and so forth. Much laughter. It is a very, very fast smart-phone-developing world and we feel like we are just trying to play catch-up.

One of the apps I recommended was GoogleNews. I've tried ABC News, and CNN, and USAToday apps before, and invariably got tired of their own slant. Google News doesn't publish their own news, but pull from a myriad of news sources around the world, in lots of categories, and reload throughout the day. She was happy to see that option as opposed to the ones listed above.

This morning as I was in the kitchen going through lunch-making motions, I checked my goggle news. I must say that I have wondered many times if human beings are supposed to be exposed to this amount of news daily. Or constant-streaming in this case. I've wondered in the past, for instance, on what does this do for our individual perception of responsibility. If one thinks about it, after a period of daily surge of news about which we can do absolutely nothing, we may wonder if we have a role in society at all.

So I checked this morning's news and started making personal connections: the Touareg in Mali helping the French by catching Islamist extremists who were attempting to escape into Algeria. I wouldn't have known who the Touareg were, if not for conversations with Fr. Austin about Blessed Charles de Foucauld, and reading a book about his incredible life. When Number Two moved to Casablanca I also read A Memory for Wonders, another book that made me understand better her new cultural environment.

And of course geographical conversations with Number Four, who mentioned recently the embarrassment Volkswagen had to endure having to change the name of one their cars recently. Yes, they named it Touareg, thinking romantic desert-tribes. They are real people, a Berber-speaking group in North Africa, and they didn't like it. I couldn't find anything online about it, so if Number Four is right I may be the first person reporting it.

Richard III's DNA evidence confirming that the skeleton found under a London parking lot belongs indeed to the medieval king. Now, that's a way to learn some history. This is the king who in the Shakespeare play under the same name ran on foot shouting "... a horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!" He is known in history to be gruesomely cruel and ugly, having put, for one thing,  his own nephews in the Tower of London to die, to protect his own title. Wouldn't you know, there are already some saying this is an opportunity to re-study things and reinstate him, because after all he may have been judged by Victorian standards.

There were many more news, sad ones, business news, and disconcerting ones. I can't, and wouldn't have time, to look further into each one. I do like the ability to investigate further only the ones that I choose, rather than watch the TV anchor's take on what they deem interesting.

I can't possibly, as no one can, follow it all, take it all in. I can learn and find interesting cultural connections. I can follow through with the occasional politically-active channels. And I can pray. My prayers are a minuscule dot in the immense ocean of the prayers from around the world. I often wonder: what would be of our sad world if not for those who dedicate themselves to prayer?


Candise and Crew said...

Love Thomas' breaking news!
I agree that we can feel overwhelmed by it all. No wonder the monks in monasteries were the "bearers of the culture" going forward. They were free from some distractions. It helps me think of them when I need to keep my nose to the home grindstone so to speak.
like Pew Sitter for Catholic news in bits.
And National Review sends out an email called "Morning Jolt" which covers politics and international news in a conservative and witty way.
Candise & Crew

Ana Braga-Henebry said...

Thanks, Candise! Geoff does enjoy NRO. I should add that app to my iPhone!