Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 5: Jonesin'

Blood Pressure: Elevated

So the first real thing I've learned during five days of this experiment is how my media consumption is really a deeply programmed part of my behavior. I don't read the Huffington Post; every 30 minutes or so, I initiate a motion that summons content from the website, which I scan for updates and only occasionally read. This action is a ritual I perform maybe 20 times a day, when I need a break from work or a moment of solitude.

It's similar to the semi-nightly practice of watching the Olberman/Maddow podcasts when they become available, creating 90 minutes of assured stillness in an otherwise complicated life. The same goes with radio and newspaper. The content is equal (if not secondary) to the very custom of consuming media.

Going cold turkey is rough.

I see that link to Thinkprogress.org up on my browser toolbar and I my mouse arrow just automatically drifts towards it. It's a revealing track of media addiction and confirms a fear that I'm not thinking too hard about selecting news sources and the ideas I put into my head.

But breaking those habits is only one part of the problem. I'm also struggling with reprogramming these routines to accept new junk. I can't make heads or tails of NationalReview.com. It's got a foreign interface and funny names like Nordlinger. I didn't know you had to pay for full podcasts of Bill O'Reily--what the hell is with that? And who gave the interface designers a long, long vacation over at WorldNetDaily.com?

It doesn't take a genius to figure this stuff out, but I've been shooting some familiar media narcotic for many years and have trails to show for it. It's proving as hard to kick my established habit as it is to develop a taste for a new one.

But I'm currently traveling for work and the free New York Times is stacking up by the door of my hotel room. By the time I board the plane home I should be fully detoxified. And ready for a glass pipe full of Michelle Malkin.

Quote of the day: Tapping into the emerging "the census is a Big Brother program that must be resisted" storyline, here's a taste of American Daily Review's take on the use of GPS: "The Obamites, thirsty to serve their new messianic figure, have lost enough of their objectivity to be willingly recruited into such an insidious program like gaining these coordinates for the U.S. Government."

Thing that made me go "hmmm": Maybe handing over a majority ownership of Chrysler to the United Auto Workers and canceling 75 percent of the value of bond holders isn't really fair. But without access to reliable outside sources, I won't know until June 1.

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