What the world needs now ...

"Ooh Mr. Ice Cream Man,
I want to start with a great big double dip
Of a raspberry sherbet and a chocolate chip
A lemon ice, and on top of that
I want a rocky road, now hold on to your hat
I want a blueberry boysenberry butter pecan
You tell me your pistachio's gone?
I'm gonna take my betty and bop your boop."

"He said, "Hold on baby, I will give you the scoop:
He said, 'Vanilla, all we got's
Vanil-la, la-la lalalala, the whole world wants
Vanil-la, la-la lalalala, so that's what we're
Sellin' now."

- Shel Silverstein

Do we really need another blog post?

A second bite of that donut?

Or an even later model automobile?

Or a new flavor (choose one) cereal / yogurt / ice cream?

As I begin putting these thoughts together, I realize I've already touched on this theme from different angle in earlier columns. See what I mean?

We live in the so-called information age, when there's already way more information than we can process, or bear to listen to. And when so much of it isn't even information at all, but filler .. blather ... "content."

Like this blog.

The world needs another blog like Jeff Bezos needs a handout.

I interviewed my own publisher for a story once and got to hear him spout nonsense about his vision for where we were headed. We were no longer a newspaper, but rather a media company. I was no longer a reporter but a content provider. Our circulation depatrtment, which had once employed delivery people -- news carriers -- now consisted of "distribution agents."

We were simply filling the cookie jar with content, providing hot air for our balloon to lift us into the ozone.

A friend of mine recently talked about our shared meditation as becoming aware of more data.

Dada. Wasn't that absurdity in response to reason? I could go for that, I thought.

The emergence of 24/7 news networks, of continuous news cycles that's turned us content providers and data consumers into jogging gerbals, provides for a format of endless blather. Just tell that story again in a different way. Make sure to pad it with lots of words, yuk it up, because we're trying to keep that balloon filled.

For substance, I say, turn off the telly. The radio. Pull out your earbuds. Turn off your phone. Shut down your screen.

Listen to a song sparrow. To a babbling brook. To a young child. Breathe.

"Hello darkness, my old friend. I've come to talk with you again."

This isn't to say that information can't be important. Democracy dies in darkness, The Washington Post reminds us.

And lies, which manage to scatter like feathers in a windstorm, can damage. Truly. Even if they're peddled as "alternative facts."

But "fake news?" That's an oxymoron perpetrated by a, well, a moron hell-bent on hell itself.

My mother used to fill our home with radios and TVs, and those appliances, tuned to the first talk-radio shows and to soap operas regardless of what they pretended to be, filled the rooms with babble for someone who couldn't stand to feel lonely, couldn't stand the silence.

Growing up with that, I learned to adore silence, to cherish the sounds of nature even when they were hard to come by in suburbia.

Too many facts, too much "free stuff" thrown into what's billed as information that absolutely nobody needs except the hawkers and the egos of those who love the sound of their voices.

Real information informs, aids our understanding. The rest are styrofoam peanuts that fill the box. Dada that numbs the meaning out of our heads. Turns us into robots so that we spend our days clicking on "I am not a robot" just to satisfy a robot.

When the noise stops and we can hear our selves think, we realize our heads would do well to come with an on-off switch, a remote that could be operated by our hearts. No batteries required. Just breathing room to beget clarity.

So, you really don't have to do this, but -- for your own good:

Put this device down. Turn it all off. Go for a walk. Hear a sparrow sing. Fall in love.

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Posted: to Poor Richie's Almanac on Wed, Dec 16, 2020
Updated: Thu, Feb 11, 2021