Thursday, May 26, 2016

146: In Retreat

The past two weeks I've been working out ways to isolate myself from media, both social and traditional. It turns out it's easier than I thought.

First, some of the more obvious means. We don't subscribe to cable at home and neither do we watch the free-to-air channels. For the most part this is really what forms the pervasive background noise, as I realized today when we went to dinner at a restaurant and TV Patrol was on. So immediately that's a big load off.

We don't subscribe to newspapers either. My only access to the paper has been at Ateneo but since I'll be on a long personal leave that avenue is also cut. The only time I do get to see the paper is when I pass by a newsstand or the odd moment at a restaurant or at a hotel lobby. I just have to plan my routes accordingly and I won't have to see any of that either. (Incidentally, at the restaurant, I did see the headlines of Sun.Star Davao of the past two days and for both it was a variation of the president-elect looking like a mafia don holding court and dispensing favors. Nauseating, and no thank you.)

So that really just leaves the Internet for me to filter. How am I doing it? My usual go-to site for news has been Google News, supplanting all other sources. I've just had to wean myself away from it by clearing it from my browser's default suggestions. I've also trained myself to resist going to directly to the site. I've done a good job of it and I hardly give it Google News a second thought now.

For Twitter, I've unfollowed all local news and trimmed my timeline to only show science and technology topics. Likewise, I've cleared it from my browser's default suggestion. For good measure, I've logged out of my Twitter account on all my devices. This makes it a chore to get on Twitter now so it's easier not to.

Facebook I haven't had for a long while so there's nothing to miss there.

How do I get my information fix? I have a set of RSS news feeds that I follow, curated to include only topics of interest to me -- science, technology, computing, business, philosophy, international politics, and general geekery. There's also Reddit, again tailored only to the things I like, none of which involves anything Philippine-related.

Why am I doing this? Because the aftermath of the elections disgusts me. This has been a victory for anti-intellectualism resulting in a dumbed-down approach to just about everything. I don't have to put up with any of it so I don't. And you know what? I have never felt this much peace of mind in a while.