War, death, sex, drugs, and rock & roll. It seems these days that the media, ever busy trying to rack up the most ratings possible through fear-mongering, shocking, or otherwise ‘edgy’ journalism, if it can be called that, is busily spewing out a stream of information that I cannot help but find paint a depressing view of the world. Certainly, war in Syria, Iranian and North Korean saber rattling, and nuclear ambitions, global terrorism, corruption, scandals, climate change, the dangers of sugar, salt, and everything in between warrant interest.
Indeed, ignorance of theses issues can lead us to make profoundly mistaken decisions about any number of things on the global stage or in our daily lives. However, the continuous drone and emphasis on the bad news tends to dampen its impact over time, desensitizing us to the information’s importance. It also leads the media to try to find yet another more dramatic, even more extreme story with which to catch our saturated attention. This will inevitably lead to a downwards tailspin of doom where the human mind will no longer be able to comprehend anything because we will be so desensitized to all the horror which reportedly occurs under our very noses every nanosecond. Eventually, I don’t think the news that a black hole forming on Broadway would get people to blink. It is New York after all.
This leads me to call for the media to change their tack once in a while. Take a hint from fine cuisine’s culinary playbook and use palate cleansers. They don’t need to be saccharine stories about kittens rolling balls of yarn, or inane stories of the latest winner of the local bingo tournament. Enough with worshiping people who rummage about in storage spaces, who make tons of money from fixing people’s houses, or who know nothing more than the gym, tanning, and laundry. There are plenty of people doing terrific work daily that bears mentioning. One such individual, whom I believe has done a fabulous job of connecting with the citizens of the world, is Commander Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station. The man is high up in orbit, and yet so down to Earth and personable that I think everyone would be happy to have him as a father/brother/uncle/friend. While he is busily zooming around the planet faster than a speeding bullet, he’s doing everything from cutting edge science, to making music, to giving us surfacelubbers a friendly tour of his blinged out space crib.
For those of you who have no idea of who Chris Hadfield is or what the ISS is, here’s a recent news article that can help out: National Post: Queen, prime minister congratulate Chris Hadfield as he becomes first Canadian in command of space station
This makes me feel that the world can be a better place. This makes me feel that there must be others like him who live their lives to make a positive change on not just their own lives but those of countless others around them, many of whom they will never meet. Why don’t we spend more time getting some news about people like him? Some scientist is doing great work on the cure for cancer? Could be worth talking to her? Another one is about to crack the mystery of high temperature superconducting? Let’s go see what he has to say. Find teachers that have made a huge difference in their students’ lives, or talk to aid workers with the World Food Programme in Kyrgyzstan. You know, switch things up a little bit. That way, when you media types have something really scary to say and that we should really be paying attention to you, we won’t be hearing you cry wolf instead.
Meanwhile, I hope the likes of Commander Hadfield help inspire a new generation to take up the cause of making this little blue sphere in the sky a better place, and I hope the media makes a habit of keeping touch with him.