I’m a news junkie. I would sit in the snow to hear a good yarn. As a kid, I used to place the big valve Pye radio beside my bed, wait until it warmed up and tune into Short Wave stations from across the world.
I’d scroll the dial from Hilversum to Albania to Radio Moscow to Luxembourg to the Voice of America. I would listen through the crackle at these voices coming at me from across the world, with their agendas and their accents. It is a fascination that has stuck with me, and I use every evolving technology to still allow myself this guilty pleasure. even if this means that we sign away a part of ourselves so that we are vulnerable to the latest news and influences.
Devices come at me with more and more news. In my profession, news is like air; ever present, but you just have to catch the right amount of it. I love having a good news catch up, if for some reason I have been out of the loop for a day; at a meeting or a conference or something familial where the phones are set aside, we all become sponges waiting for the absorption of news, of information, of stuff we just have to know, or so we think.
We become like large tongues with tastebuds at the ready, and because of this, we are more exposed to the ebbs and flows; to the exhilaration it brings, we leave ourselves at the mercy of the emotions they stir up.
And then there are weeks like this, when it just sickens you. When it affects everything you do. When it makes you despair at what we have created, at what we have become.
The Kriegel trial that has just concluded in Dublin was nightmarish, featuring perpetrators and victims whose ages dictated that they should be elsewhere, not suffering what they suffered, not seeing what they saw, and certainly not doing what they did.
It was a week that saw yet another Irishwoman murdered just across the county boundary — eight women have died by violence so far this year. Of that eight, seven died in their own homes. Of the twenty men who were murdered in Ireland so far this year, none were in their own home.
We are seeing trends and messages like this around us every day yet we are not surprised when such behaviours repeat themselves.
We laugh at the influence of influencers who push cosmetics and new sneakers, but society as a whole is being influenced every day. Nobody escapes. Because we are so absorptive of so much information and mores of behaviour, the bar is being lowered every day in terms of what we are hearing, what we are seeing, what we are thinking, what we are accepting.
One of the saddest things I saw on TV recently was an interview with a Leaving Cert student after the English paper. He said that he and many of his friends wished that the clocks could be turned back, to a society where people had their own privacy, when they alone were the determinants of their exposure to the greater world. He spoke for a generation who will never know that luxury...for the sake of progress, we have given up much, so much.
So much we have left behind.
And every week, we see snapshots of exactly what this is doing to us.