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March 11, 2013.  This was the date that I decided I would begin my little experiment.  I would avoid any and all influence from the outside world.  I would not visit any website dealing with current events, read any headline at the news paper stand, watch any cable or local news channel, and most painfully, not listen to NPR in the morning drive into work.  If my co-workers were talking about an event, I would put in my headphones and listen to music.  I have made every effort to shield my life from the outside world.  In the past three months, with the exception of two days during which I was forced to watch the local news for fear of a tornado in my area, I have consumed absolutely zero media. Even during these times I would mute the channel during world and local news.

My goal was to see what it is like to live with your head in the sand.  A large portion of the United States can not even tell you who the current or last vice president was, let alone anything that is going on in the world.  This type of ignorant bliss was something I often longed for.  To not know the tragedies of the world, to be shielded from everything, and to live within my own world view and personal bubble.  

At first it was incredibly hard.  We do not realize how much we rely on media to fill a void in our lives, to kill time, etc.  We take everything we hear, and although much of it does not affect us personally, we take national headlines, form opinions, get upset, and it does become part of us.  In the beginning of this experiment, I felt a feeling of abandonment.  I knew SOMETHING was happening, but I didn't know what.  I didn't feel safe.

A funny thing happened about a week in though.  I started to feel, good?  I'm struggling for the correct word for it.  Destressed probably.  Like a weight of burden was gone, even though I myself was never truly burdened by world news.

I have filled my life with family, friends, work, video games, and completing tasks around the house.  So now I, having zero knowledge of what has happened in the world.  The last thing I remember was the beginning effects of the sequester, NYC banned large sodas, and Pope Benedict had past away.  

It is with great excitement (and a bit of fear, as I seriously have very little knowledge of what has happened in the world outside of my home), that I will now go back (via internet archive) and using cnn to explore the past three months of the world that I have missed.  I invite you to come along with me (maybe you'll remember some things you have forgotten).  I will be going through each day and recapping the current headlines.  If any dates are skipped, it is simply because there is no major news this day, or it is a continuation of the previous day.

March 11, 2013
Rome Abuzz for Selection of New Pope - The conclave is currently gathering to selection the replacement for Pope Benedict

No Winner in First Vote to Elect New Pope - After a first vote, there is no clear winner for Pope

March 12, 2013
Mars Could Have Hosted Life!

March 13, 2013
New Pope is Chosen!  White Smoke over the Vatican!  Bergoglio (Frances 1) of Argentina, noted for his opposition for same sex marriage is chosen as new Pope!

House GOP Warily Holds Out Hand to Obama - Obama plans to meet with house GOP to sidestep leadership

March 14, 2013
Carnival Cruise Ship Has Power Failure

GOP Doubles Down after Meeting with Obama

March 15, 2013
R-Rob Portman Reverses his stance of Same sex marriage (HOLY SHIT!)

March 17, 2013
Two Teens Found Guilty in Steubenville Rape Case

March 19, 2013
Harry Reid - Assault Weapons Ban Will Not Pass

March 20, 2013
Isreal Warns Obama about Chemicals Weapons in Syria

March 22, 2013
Due to Sequester, FAA closing 149 Control Towers

3 Dead at Quantico Marine Base

March 23, 2013
Senate OKs First Budget in 4 Years

Meteor Lights Up East Coast

North Korean Propaganda Video Shows White house being blown up

March 25, 2013
Supreme Court Hears Same Sex Marrage Battle (Biggest Story for next 3 days)

March 28, 2013
Pope Washes Prisoners Feet

April 1, 2013
US Moves Radar Platform off North Korean Coast

April 2, 2013
Kerry- US will do what is necessary

April 5, 2013
Roger Ebert Dies, Gives Heaven Two Thumbs Up

April 6, 2013
Son of Rick Warren Commits Suicide

April 8, 2013
The Iron Lady is No More, Margaret Thatcher Dies

April 10, 2013
Man Killed After Firefighters taken Hostage

April 13, 2013
Kobe Tears Achilles Tendon

April 15, 2013
Terror Attack Hits Boston Marathon

I'd like to take a moment here.  While this event took place, it was nearly impossible to shield myself from this, especially in the following days.  However, with exception of 1 newspaper cover, I know nothing of the events that took place. (taking a few minutes to read about it).  Holy shit is all I can say after reading this now.  Really wishing I hadn't.  I'm sure there will be a huge block of stories on this in the following days, so please forgive me, but this will be the only mention of it in my blog.  I'm sure everyone knows what happened.

April 18-20, 2013
Texas Plant Explosion, 14 bodies recovered

April 22, 2013
Al Queda Train Plot Thwarted in Canada

April 23, 2013
Charges Dismissed in Texas Ricin Case

April 25, 2013
Timesquare NYC to be next target of Tsarneavs'

April 26-27, 2013
Mississippi Man Arested in Ricin Case

Factory in Bangladesh Collapses, Killing 334

Sarin Gas Used in Syria, Crosses Redline?

April 29, 2013
35 Hurt in Prague Explosion

April 30, 2013
Morning After Pill Okd for 15 year olds

May 1, 2013
US Cargo Plane Crashes in Afghanistan (VIDEO)

3 Arrests Made in Boston Case, Roommates of Tsarneav

May 2, 2013
Chris Kelly (of KrisKross) Dies

May 3, 2013
NRA Convention - Rally Against Gun Control

May 5, 2013
Did Isreal Fire Rockets Into Syria?

May 6, 2013
Bride and 4 friends Die in Limo Fire

May 7, 2013
Three Women Freed from Sexual Captivity, Held for Years

May 9, 2013
Jury Finds Jodi Arias Guilty of Murder

May 10, 2013
Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarneav Buried in Virginia

May 11, 2013
IRS Targets Tea Party Group, Knew of Targeting.

May 12, 2013
Barclays Probed over Saudi Prince Ties

May 13, 2013
Gosnell Guilty of Murder

May 14, 2013
Angelina Jolie undergoes double masectomy

Russia orders Explusion of US Diplomat, Accused of being CIA spy

AP Blasts feds for phone record search

May 20, 2013
Massive 2 mile wide tornado slams Moore, Oklahoma, school leveled

May 23, 2013
Boyscouts to Allow gay youth (but not scout leaders)

May 24, 2013
Bridge Collapses in Washington State.

May 26, 2013
President Obama Tours Moore, Oklahoma

May 27, 2013
EU lifts ban on arming Syrian Rebels

May 28, 2013
Marijuana, Fights, and Guns not to be allowed as evidence in Trayvon Martin case

May 29, 2013
Ricin found in bloomburg letter

June 1, 2013
939 detained in Turkey Protests

June 2, 2013
IRS in Hotseat over Overspending

June 3, 2013
Court Marshal of manning Begins

June 4, 2013
Over 100 students kicked off plane

Sunscrean reduces skin aging

June 5, 2013
84 Year Old Wins $370M

June 6, 2013
NSA Accused of collecting phone records of all americans

June 7, 2013
Shooting at Santa Monica College

June 9, 2013
Edward Snowden Comes Forward as Leak Provider, NSA Phone Records and Internet Communication

June 11, 2013
Put W in the Win column (for your affection)

June 12, 2013
States Move to Arm Teachers

Snowden says US hacks China

June 13, 2013
Syria Crosses Redline, Uses Chemical Warfare

Guess Who's Back, Back in Town, IQ Drops 50 Points

June 14, 2013

US to send small arms to Syrian Rebbels

Fires continue to Ravage Colorado

June 15, 2013

Turkish Protestors Driven from Zuccotti, I mean, Taksim Square

June 16, 2013

Putin warns west of siding with "cannibals"

June 17, 2013

Sorry if I missed any major headlines.  I am amazed at how much stuff has happened while I've been "away".  I can't honestly say I'm any better for having now read all of this.  Kind of wishing I had just kept myself in the shadows.

So let's sum up the past 3 months.

New Pope who hates homosexuals
GOP Still asshats
Sorry Boston :(
Bashar Poisoning own people
I can no longer "jump jump"
IRS is Fucked
The government really does know everything we do
Malibu Barbie is Back
And people like Bush.

Yep, putting my head back in the sand.  See you in three months!

10:49 AM PT: Figured I would repost this again today, as I have no choice but to be engaged in society.  Thank you all for the positive posts!  After tonight I will be "going back under".  See you all in September!

Originally posted to Poe2299 on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:47 AM PDT.


How Many Events Did You Remember?

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Comment Preferences

    •  Several Quotes from Airplane (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "Death is the winner in any war." - Nightwish/Imaginareum/Song of myself.

      by doingbusinessas on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 12:57:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I did this during the seventies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I moved out to work on an island with no power except generators; very little in the way of newspapers TV, or radio. Back in a time when Jimmy Carter was president, the worst things I remember hearing about happening were the taking of the hostages and the gas crisis; turns out I missed two popes passing in about a year.

      Bad things can happen while you aren't paying attention.

      I came back to the mainland to see a Doonebury strip claiming that blaming Ronald Reagan for Iran Contra was like blaming Ronald McDonald for a bad cheeseburger and among the other stuff I found out about later Pope Benedict now claims back then in the seventies the church position was that "pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children".

      My indignation and outrage fatigue must contribute to some sort of short term memory loss because while my brain does keep me awake at night worrying about climate change and everybody getting cancer, I have learned to think of people in power as evil and all of that evil just runs together as a dull throbbing wrong, wrong, wrong when I try to think about it.

      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

      by rktect on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 05:45:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I go on media blackout the two weeks (0+ / 0-)

      following an election.

      Not as long as Poe, but I just need the break. It does feel good, ignorance really is bliss.

      Also, I can kill you with my brain.

      by Puffin on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:14:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Enjoyed this diary. I can do this for a week or (10+ / 0-)

    so at a time.  It definitely affects my blood pressure (for the good) and I feel less stressed out, generally.

    Ignorance really can be bliss, I guess... :)

    If the plutocrats begin the program, we will end it. -- Eugene Debs.

    by livjack on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 01:11:47 PM PDT

  •  It was an unually busy 3 mos, I think (5+ / 0-)

    I know the media will fill time 24/7 with something, but during this span there were certainly a large number of major "somethings" to cover.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 02:51:51 PM PDT

  •  I skipped the list at the end (9+ / 0-)

    But I hope you did find out that Pope Benedict didn't die, only retired.

  •  I've done a couple of media fasts. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yasuragi, greengemini

    The longest was a month.  I concluded that a 30-minute download of current events every week would keep me as up to speed as I need to be.  Keeping up with the day-to-day political minutae is ridiculous, because in the long run it means little or nothing.  But I find myself doing more of it than I would prefer.  Probably because I've been keeping up with current events since grade school, and old habits are hard to break.  But ideally, more meaningful (ah, there's the rub) real-life social interactions and less online gossip is always my goal.  DKos is like a drug -- a concentated jolt of intelligent thinking not easily found in my everyday life.

  •  But what did you do with the time? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I went to Haiti last August and was completely out of the loop for 5 weeks.  I read several larger books on my "to read" list, including Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks.  I hope you weren't in front of the TV during the whole time....

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 03:54:14 PM PDT

    •  Well (0+ / 0-)

      My son is now 10 months old, so in the past few months he's begun to crawl and now nearly walk, so that has filled much of my time.

      The rest was spent watching movies on netflix with my wife, working, and playing lots of world of warcraft (and muting trade chat).

  •  I've sometimes wanted to do that (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, Yasuragi, greengemini

    In fact there is a doctor named Christiane Northrup (sp.?) who advised women not to consume news, either by TV or newspaper (this was before the Net), as a means of de-stressing.  I always thought that sounded irresponsible--are we not supposed to be an informed citizenry?

    Sometimes I think how nice it would be not to know what's going on.  There's always something to fret over or feel nauseated about.  A 14-year-old boy in my neighborhood climbed on to the roof of the elementary school around the corner last night, touched an electric wire, and died.  His three friends went to the hospital but they'll be all right.  The whole neighborhood turned out to see what was going on. Makes me ill to think what his parents must be feeling now.

    Yes, sometimes I think how nice it would be...but on the other hand, if I'm going to be fried to a crisp by a nuke or whatever, I would like to know about it beforehand.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:13:27 PM PDT

  •  i didn't pay attention to anything from (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yasuragi, gramofsam1

    around the endof the first gulf war through the clinton administration.  i haven't a fucking clue about the monica lewinsky scandal.  not a single clue.  also, the clarence thomas anita hill thing.  did not follow either.  

    i came up briefly for bush v. gore and was very very worried, and submerged again, coming up for 9/11 deeply worried again, submerged, and came up for obama's 2008 campaign and began lurking on dkos.  it's really obama and dkos that got me reading everything.

    before then, i didn't read anything except headlines, listened to npr with half an ear.  

    and yet ... and yet ... i knew everything that was going on. i just didn't follow the details or form anything more than an 'energetic opinion'.  it's amazing to realise that you can  sense the bullshit, can sense the trajectory of an issue, just as accurately as submerging yourself in the printed details.  

    my goal is actually to return to that state, at least go there halfway, where i just feel my way through the issues, and feel my fear and anger.  it's a lot easier and an d a lot more freeing.  a lot less stressful and depressing.

    Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounding yourself with a-holes - William Gibson. (-9.75 / -9.05)

    by doesnotworkorplaywellwithothers on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 04:55:15 PM PDT

  •  I did this following Fukushima. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Texnance, WakeUpNeo

    That was enough to send me to a nice head-shaped hole in the sand.

    I stayed away until the run-up to the election last year.

    Trouble is, I've been a news junkie (after years on the wagon) since Gore v. Bush.  Don't know what happened, but once that started, I never turned away.  

    I tend to keep the news on all day when I'm working.  Well, more accurately, I keep MSNBC on... until Matthews comes on and starts shouting.  Can't stand that guy.  Then I start looking for movies or science shows.

    I can't say I'm any better for keeping up with the news.  But it's like smoking: can't take a drag without being hooked all over again (as I am now).

    Thanks for this.  A lot.

    "Throwing a knuckleball for a strike is like throwing a butterfly with hiccups across the street into your neighbor's mailbox." -- Willie Stargell

    by Yasuragi on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:43:55 PM PDT

  •  I recall reading an newspaper column (0+ / 0-)

    Where the author said you could ignore much of what newspaper columnists and the talking heads on Sunday morning TV are saying.

    The writers and the talkers are paid to have an opinion (about things that we might not know all the details about). So…

    Maybe there’s a bill in Congress. The cotton-growing states want one thing and the wheat-growing states have allied with the dairy-cow states. And factions are fighting each other. The apple growers are pissed off about something. And everyone is making deals. Maybe making compromises. It’s people fighting about what to put in the sausage. But the details eventually get worked out. Is it worth worrying about what might have happened or didn’t happen? Or that an amendment failed because of a parliamentary maneuver?

    Or maybe bombs blew up somewhere. Nobody knows the details, but the columnists and talking heads have theories. Might be the Taliban, or the Irish Republican Army, or some Christian rightwing nut. Everybody has a theory. Then it turns out it was two brothers from Albania who like Disney movies and sauerkraut. All those words written about, say, the IRA, suddenly are wrong.

    Sometimes you can ignore the tiny little details and the what-if theories that, ultimately, don’t make any difference.

    "Stupid just can't keep its mouth shut." -- SweetAuntFanny's grandmother.

    by Dbug on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:43:15 PM PDT

  •  Cool diary but about the Russian meteor (0+ / 0-)

    I remember exactly where I was.  I was about to go to bed, and I'm one of those people that has trouble sleeping (maybe because I'm a college student).  Before I go to bed, I suddenly become wired.

    After Sandy Hook, I kind of had a real rough first couple months back at college.  I wasn't like fearful on campus, but in the back of my head; the thought of something like that was always there.  When I would go to bed at like 2-3am, I'd make sure my door was locked and there was no way in.  I was weird.

    Well after January, I got it out of my head but in the middle of March it kind of popped up again.  I don't exactly remember why but it did.  Right before I drifted off to sleep my phone made a loud noise and it was a USA Today alert saying "Meteor explodes over Russia".

    Its kind of funny but I immediately pounced out of bed and proceeded to freak out, looking out the window, etc.  That is such a terrifying alert to get in the middle of the night.

    My personal (political) blog is at My new Twitter: @RushHolt4Senate

    by RVKU on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:46:32 PM PDT

  •  Also, you FORGOT TIM TEBOW (0+ / 0-)

    (couldn't resist)

    My personal (political) blog is at My new Twitter: @RushHolt4Senate

    by RVKU on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:47:18 PM PDT

  •  Yeah it's one of those things. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Since we can't actually do anything about the problems what's the point of being depressed about going over the edge?

    On the other hand, being a pessimist I just prefer to know exactly how the planet is fucked.

  •  I've been doing it, too. (0+ / 0-)

    Although my strategy was to merely skim the daily headlines, watch absolutely no television news, and listen to no radio news.  I find I do best when I do things in a balanced way, and my media intake was way out of balance.  I was reading, watching, and listening as often as possible and I was completely stressed out by it.

    I check in here briefly a few times each day, read less and comment less.  Like you, I'm just experimenting with how I feel with less of it.  For me, it's been a great success.  I've been amazed to see that I'm calmer and happier.

    My conclusion is that the world will always be spinning, sh*t will be happening, but I'm a better person for myself and those around me if I'm not feasting on the negative all day long.  I really do believe that changing the world begins with me (or each one of us) so each of us has to do what it takes to be better for our own little worlds.  That is what expands.

    Not for everyone, I'm sure, but it's working darn well for me.

  •  I did this (0+ / 0-)

    Back in 2005, when I was diagnosed with cancer for the second time, and my stressful job wasn't going to go away, I realized I had to do something for the sake of my health, so I "quit" media. I kept up with the arts, but that's about it. Like you, I found it tough at first, but I know it lowered my level of stress and improved my health. It was not just the removal of outside stress but the healthier ways I was spending my time - more active, better diet, more sleep, etc.

    Gradually, I re-engaged and returned to my old news-junkie ways before the 2008 election. After I received a third cancer diagnosis (different cancer) in 2009, I did it again. It wasn't so hard the second time.

    I "came up for air" for the 2012 election, but maintain a strict regimen. No TV. None. Local progressive radio in the car only. Local newspaper. Very little social media. DailyKos maybe once every other day. I tune in more when "big" stuff is going on (Boston attack, local tornado, etc), but so far I've maintained my "diet." Amazingly, I keep up better than many people I talk to.

    It's not something I recommend, but I know it did me good.  I think the anger level was killing me. Literally. Everybody has to make their own choice.

  •  good news you missed (0+ / 0-)

    On May 14, Minnesota became the 12th state to legalize same sex marriage. France has also legalized same sex marriage. The news tends to be about the bad stuff, which is why I've stopped watching it on TV - except weather emergencies. I'm in the tornado and thunderstorm zone as well.

    I know that I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one... John Lennon

    by MagentaMN on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 06:49:23 AM PDT

  •  My dad, at age 100, no longer would read the (0+ / 0-)

    newspaper or watch TV news. He explained: "It's all the same. I've seen it all before."

    I don't watch TV news except The Daily Show, so I hadn't heard of ten of the events. The others I got from the internet, the local paper, and occasionally NPR.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:31:07 AM PDT

  •  I like this. Just did the same thing for about (0+ / 0-)

    three days while reading a book that I could not leave alone.  I don't know if it was the book or the break from the constant yammering that made me feel so relaxed and happy.  

    "If you're in trouble, or hurt or need - go to the poor people. They're the only ones that'll help - the only ones." John Steinbeck

    by BluejayRN on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:39:37 AM PDT

  •  Best feeling in the world (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I do in my personal life, too (leaky roof, singing toilet, etc.) The problem is that while your head is happy and comfortable in the sand, something can come along and bite you in the ass and you never saw it coming.

    Light is seen through a small hole.

    by houyhnhnm on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:58:34 AM PDT

  •  I was apolitical and oblivious to (0+ / 0-)

    current events during most of the 90s. At the end of 1999, I married a political junkie (BS in PoliSci). I tried not to pay attention, and mostly managed it until the disputed Presidential election. Then I went back in my hole until 9/11, and haven't stopped watching the news since. I was a lot happier and less outraged in the 90s.

    Came for the politics, stayed for the pooties.

    by DreamyAJ on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:42:44 AM PDT

  •  I get news here. (0+ / 0-)

    And from family who will say "Did you hear about Thing Happening Locally?!"

    I am under way too much life stress right now to handle getting upset about anything else. I burst into helpless tears at the drop of a hat, and am having to actively work not to be depressed.  I can't let myself get engaged and upset by world news... I'm handling enough myself.

    When you come to find how essential the comfort of a well-kept home is to the bodily strength and good conditions, to a sound mind and spirit, and useful days, you will reverence the good housekeeper as I do above artist or poet, beauty or genius.

    by Alexandra Lynch on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 06:45:00 PM PDT

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