Monday, July 30, 2007

Where's the good news?

As I read Harry Potter last week, I thought about the underlying theme in the book of good vs. evil. We all want good to win in the end, and it generally does. We often say that it's not realistic that things always end on a happy note, and maybe it's not, but most people desire goodness. They want to walk away knowing that things are right in the world because evil did not conquer. Reading Harry Potter was difficult because it was intense and scary and emotional. As I turned each page, I remained hopeful for a victory on the side of good. I think this book is more reflective of our present situation... or the world history as a whole. Good usually triumphs, but not without loss and casualties. Not without pain and sorrow. And not without losing a few heroes along the way.

It seemed fitting to read Harry Potter considering how refelctive I have been about the news and the state of the world as of late. I dreaded it and yet wanted to know what the outcome would be. That's sort of the way I approach the news. I have been exposed to news my whole life. For as long as I can remember, my parents received a daily newspaper and watched the local news. So, as I got older, I found myself flipping through the newspaper in the morning while eating breakfast or watching the news when I was home alone...background noise. In my government and history classes it was always stressed that we needed to be well-informed about what is going on in the world. I remember courses in college where we were required to be informed of current events and other such happenings. I don't get a newspaper anymore because I hate how they pile up, but I do make it a habit of reading CNN just to make sure I am not missing something important. However, I have noticed lately that reading the news is not doing much for my emotional well being because it's so hard to find good news.

It's no secret that the times are becoming increasingly more intense and somewhat scary. The war in Iraq is taking its toll not only on the soldiers but the whole nation and the countries that are involved. It seems that everyday on CNN there is another article about how many soldiers were killed yesterday, where bombs have gone off, what villages have been destroyed and who has been captured. It is not comforting to hear stories of fallen soldiers, especially since I have a cousin over there. If it's not Iraq, then it is cops getting shot in the face, pregnant women murdered by their boyfriends, houses catching on fire killing families, floods, earthquakes, pipes bursting, families murdered in their own homes, terrorists killing hostages or people trying to ruin the end of Harry Potter. It's downright depressing. I get so weighed down by it sometimes because I think of all these people and their families and the kind of sorrow they have to deal with. It's almost unreal. I think of war torn Iraq and the people who live there who can't really move on with their lives. They live in a place that is destroyed every day. Nothing is sacred there, not even life. I think of the state of our own country and our involvement in the war and how it tears families apart. Support and faith in the government is at an all time low.

After a particularly difficult day in the news, I decided that the next time I was only going to look for good stories. Well, it was kind of hard. I only found 2. One had to do with a married couple who were severely overweight but managed to drop almost 600 pounds collectively. That is an amazing success story. The other was about a unique cat that sort of predicts death in the nursing home where he lives. Kind of freaky but comforting at the same time. That's it. Try as I might I couldn't really find any news about people doing good things to help their neighbors, the environment or even kids winning spelling bees. That was a little disappointing. As someone who has a degree in journalism, I understand that conflict and death and conspiracy sell. However, I am a true believer that people really do want to hear good news. We want to know that there is still good left in the world.

But as in Harry Potter, there are unfortunate and inexplicable losses and sadness and sorrow. However, life must have comic relief and deliberate breaks of happiness. I have to focus on the triumphs, the good news, the laughter and the beauty without being consumed by all that is wrong and unfair in the world. The news is no longer educational and informative so much as it is depressing, and I may stop reading it altogether until I can find something redeeming about it. It's not quite like Harry Potter where I can close the book and feel completely satisfied knowing that all is as it should be. But there is goodness, I just need to seek it out.


Rachel said...

a very good read (your blog)... I have also been very upset with current events for the past several years and have stopped watching the news and usually only glance thru the local paper for 'good news'. I've found that it's ok. I'm not always in the know about every horrendous thing that's happened, but the really important stuff gets to me quickly by word of mouth; I can stay a lot happier that way :)
OH and thanks for not spoiling harry potter 7 for me! I've been taking my sweet time in reading it. :)

Tris & Ken said...

Hey Nikki!! Love your blogs as always!

I used to have those experiences with the news until I started podcasting APM: Marketplace and other great National Public Radio news stations-- it feels like a whole new world!! I recommend it! The podcasts are free on iTunes and you don't even have to have an iPod to listen to them! My home feels full every day of information and news good and bad-- but mostly positive! I think that the general media would like us to believe that the world is completely a dark hole, but I have learned that it just isn't that way!! Have fun podcasting if you don't podcast already!!

Ann said...

I know what you seems the only news being reported is either really bad stuff or really stupid stuff that nobody SHOULD care about--like the Paris thing... Anyway, the other night the TV was on while I was fixing dinner and one of the headliners on one of those EXTRA programs was about some cheerleader chick in Utah who got hit in the head with the basketball while she was cheering. Did it kill her? No. Did she have to go to the hospital? No. Is she going to sue or create any further drama? No. So who the heck cares? My thoughts exactly. Pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.

Doug and Dawn Hardy said...

I have felt the same way about the news for the past couple of years as well. I too decided to give attention to the good & positive news, although seldom, that I would hear about. It seems like, especially in Las Vegas, that the news was becoming just another tv station that was competing for ratings by trying to put the most shocking, depressing or absolutely ridiculous and not important, info out to catch the viewers interest. Whatever happened to just reporting the news for the sake of informing us about what is happening in our area, good or bad. I feel like if they would give more positive recognition to people doing good things in our communities then people would value doing good things and act upon it. Anyways thats my 2 cents. I just started reading the 1st Harry Potter book so I look forward to getting to the last one. I know I am slow to get on the Harry Potter train but for some reason I wasn't interested before. I have just now started having an interest in reading more fiction books just for the sake of reading. It will be good for me.

Doug and Dawn Hardy said...

I was blog surfing and came across someone who had you on their friends list. There names are Mandy and Adam Douglass. Anyways I just thought it was crazy, it's a small world with the bloggers.