Until he read David Brooks’ Tuesday column, Alan Jacobs had not heard about the kerfuffle on the National Mall:
After reading the Brooks column I checked in on the social media I have access to, and I cannot readily express to you how strange the commotion seemed to me. The responses of people to this issue struck me as — this is going to sound very strong, but I promise you that it’s precisely how I felt — it struck me as the behavior of people in the grip of some manic compulsion, of some kind of mass hysteria. There are no rational criteria in light of which what happened between those people on the National Mall matters — none at all.
This blessed state is due to his habits:
Until I read that column I had heard nothing about this incident because I do not have a Facebook account, have deleted my Twitter account, don’t watch TV news, and read the news about once a week. If all goes well, I won’t hear anything more about the story. I recommend this set of practices to you all.
Considering how much this story continues to rattle me, despite knowing how trivial the incident is (I even wrote it down in my blog before reading Jacobs), it may come to adopting those practice.
It will be a bitter, bitter pill to swallow. All my life, I’ve treated reading one or more newspapers in the morning as just what responsible people do. But maybe we’ve come to a juncture, with the clickbait ethos having entered mainstream media to an undeniable extent, that skipping news is just what sane people do.