And I stand by this statement because I believe it reflects an important fact we all seem to be oblivious to.
If you’ve read my article on Schools, then you know which end of the spectrum I reside on.
If you didn’t click on that link above, it goes to show just how smart you’ve become when it comes to avoiding distractions – something that can directly be attributed to reading the daily news on your way to school.
Back in School
I don’t know about you but growing up, I hated reading. While I did love the smell of new books and freshly printed newspapers, I preferred chowing down on them than to torture my eyes with all that visual stimuli.
But my teachers didn’t like it.
Whenever I submitted my notebooks for correction, they’d say it was incomplete and that I ought to get myself another one.
“Ashwin, your notebook is for writing notes, not decorating it with scribbles and sketches of bitemarks.”
I mean how unfair is that, they think writing all those notes was a piece of cake
that I greedily gobbled up and just because it was a little “untidy” they want me to buy another notebook and re-write everything.
I bet they were just jealous of my creativity.
But sometimes the bitemarks looked exactly like bitemarks and it became difficult to lie about its origin.
“Ashwin, I’ve said this before your notebook is for writing notes, not decorating it with scribbles and…bitemarks? Why are there bitemarks here? And why are some of the pages drenched in saliva?”
I knew I couldn’t hide it anymore. I had to tell her the truth.
So I blamed my dog instead, which is a classic excuse given in response to such questions. But teachers being teachers have already heard this classical excuse many times over that they have unconsciously recorded it as a lie, which when you think about it is a very rigid way of looking at things which stifles growth and creativity, and yes it was a lie.
My relationship with newspapers was just as complicated. I couldn’t keep my hands off him. Father once caught us in the act, and we’ve never spoken since. To be honest, I didn’t really know what to say because I had him in my mouth when Father walked in and as you can imagine, squeezing out an appropriate response was next to impossible when I was busy squeezing him down my…
You know what I’ll just stop there. You get the picture.
He was clearly disappointed with me, and I was very embarrassed to talk to him about my “special interest” which he believed was a serious mental affliction. But I had to talk to him, and me being his son, he knew I needed his help.
Blessed with the continuous support of my family and friends I was able to reform myself, and finally cut things off with him. It wasn’t easy, but sacrifices had to be made, seeing how our relationship together would bear no fruit.
I had to let him go.
But seriously, newspapers are lauded for all the wrong reasons. Lets look at some of the purported benefits we receive from reading the daily news.
Benefits of Reading The Daily News
It Improves Your Vocabulary
Newspapers use a wide variety of words most people don’t use in their writing or day to day language, which is why you’re better off not learning them.
Lets look at such an example.
Where will you ever use these words? Where have you even heard people use those words?
Most of the words we come across on newspapers are never used in day to day speech, but its important you understand what requisitioning means in case someone offers to requisition you into the army and you go along with it just to make it look like you know what he was talking about.
Hey Mike, you got a big chance here! Just sign up this requisition form and you’re all set for the army for- wait, you do know what a requisition is right?
Of course I know what a recession is!
No, no, requisition is-
I said I KNOW! Sign me up for it!
Maybe that example was a little exaggerated. What I meant to say was that people don’t generally use tough words to convey their ideas in daily conversations unless they are trying to show off.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be heading over to the washroom to dewater my bladder in a manner as unscrupulous as possible for it is incumbent of me to do so.
Don’t ask why.
You Get to See How Dangerous Things are Out There
Why pass on an opportunity to fill your head with violent scenarios that have little to no chance of ever happening?
Lets face it, majority of the newspaper is saturated with negative content intentionally designed to evoke fear and excitement.
Murder, mugging, robbery, rape are tragedies that can take place with you being right in the middle of the action. Catastrophic events can take place that will scar you for life, and newspapers do a brilliant job of informing you about them but never teach you how to avoid them.
Say you read about a kidnapping that took place few days back and you end up getting kidnapped the next day. Has reading about the kidnapping helped you avoid, or survive getting kidnapped?
After the description of the event, is there ever a follow up article titled, “Five Ways to Avoid Getting Kidnapped”? or “How to Stop Whining Like a Little Bitch Once You Get Kidnapped”?
Of course not.
Information imparted from newspapers are rarely informational. Its designed to operate like burgers and fries. You know it isn’t good for you, but you just can’t seem to stop munching down on them…
The More News You Read, The More Informed You Get
That’s like saying, the more Porn you watch, the better you get at seducing women. If that were the case, then I’d have left this job long back and generated enough money to make the Saudis jealous. I’d have my own blog, share stories of my conquests and offer courses on picking up women that will make me rich enough to continue living the badboy life.
As of now, I have a blog.
And the point I abhor the most,
It Improves Your Writing and Speaking Skills
I tried to reason myself into this conclusion several times but the more newspaper I consumed, the more nauseated I felt. And no, I wasn’t eating it. Those days are behind me.
Its just that reading it was similar to sitting on Damocles Throne where a Sword hung off the ceiling from a single strand of horsehair, signifying the threat that comes with power.
I’m not saying that it imparts that kind of power to you, but that it puts you into a deeply troubled state of mind. You just sit there staring at the razor sharp sword, wondering who that idiot was who decided to play this cruel prank on you.
Its only when you look around that you realize that you were sitting on a smelly couch with the fan spinning few centimetres above your head.
You could have just switched it off but NO.
You could have just bought yourself another couch but NO.
According to you, air circulation only takes place if the fan is left on and you’re sitting on a couch that smells like the second coming of the black plague.
Similarly you can’t go a day without reading the news because sales representatives from the marketing division also called teachers, convinced you that it is an important habit to invest in.
Those crafty little crooks.
What I See in Newspapers
Newspapers Have Zero Nutritional Value
And I can attest to that fact since the newspapers I diligently ingested went right through me. Its your proverbial Big Mac. But now that I think about it, the Big Mac at least provides its customer with a deadly dose of cholesterol and fructose corn syrup that can induce a wide variety of delightful sounding conditions such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease that ultimately lead to death.
Newspapers keep you stuck in the loop of receiving. There’s never an end. At least with the Big Mac, you can meet a tasty demise.
All that negativity induced tension isn’t going to make you any healthier.
It Beats Other Addictions Like Smoking.
Cigarettes kill people, and newspapers don’t?
I almost choked on one.
But like I said, that was a long time ago.
Newspapers induce an adrenaline spike, which leads to stress. Its important to cultivate the habit of reading newspapers first thing in the morning because you know what they say, the things you do in the morning are what set the rudder for the rest of the day.
Since your mind will be actively gorging itself on a buffet of negative events that will definitely set the rudder for the day, allowing you to crash and sink like the Titanic.
It Turns You Into a Pessimist.
Pessimists are myopic and only see what the cynic sees, and that is the price of everything absent of its inherent value. You will actively seek out flaws and that my friend, is a serious problem.
All that negativity is going to latch itself onto you, and drag you down into the dark depths of the ocean. How exciting!
Newspapers Inform Nobody
It does a bad job of informing people, because of the content it provides. Tragic events take place every single day, but good things happen as well. They ought to balance the two, but that doesn’t bring people running towards the newsstands.
Knowing 400+ people met their untimely death in a bomb blast is far more interesting than the discovery of a new planet, unless 400+ aliens met their untimely death in an intergalactic bomb blast on that new planet and there was someone to report on it.
And considering how enormous our planet is, to suggest that the only events taking place on this pale blue dot is blood sheath and acts of betrayal, is to inform the citizens reading the daily news that they are residing on the pale black dot.
Newspapers aren’t Important
When was the last time you came across a headline that impacted your life in such a way that it positively enhanced it?
Can you at least think of one instance where it allowed you to dramatically increase your awareness on the issues that plague our current society and to come up with solutions for them?
The return of investment in your time spent reading is mostly nil. A really smart way to invest the only resource you know you can never buy back, boy aren’t you clever!
Details, Details, Details
Newspapers headlines tell you something dramatic, and proceeds to go into detail where they explain nothing in detail.
“Three Left in Cold Blood for Carrying Cow Meat”
Maal, a sweet 21 year old from the village of Laam was seen carrying a piece of red meat. Officials on cross questioning discovered that Maal was planning to start a hamburger flippin business in his little village of Laam. The radicals seized him along with his meat, and proceeded to beat him up. Two of Maal’s friends, Naan and Paan were passing by and saw what was happening and swiftly came to Maal’s rescue like any friend would, only to get the living crap beaten out of them as well.
The three escaped with their lives intact, but left the meat behind in cold blood.
Why was Maal assaulted for carrying moo-moo meat? Would someone carrying cluck-cluck meat end up battered like Maal and his buddies? Why not? Who is to blame? How is the situation remedied? And why does the headline make it seem as though the three young lads were beaten to death for carrying moo-moo meat? I think the last one is my fault.
Overall, reading newspapers won’t give you the knowledge nor does it provide us the satisfaction of learning something new each day, for it teaches us nothing.
You will get ahead by choosing to invest the time and money you do on newspapers into books, for much insight and pleasure can be gleaned from the works of those before us and those endeavoring to impart something of value to this world, than can ever be obtained from few crispy sheets of sensationalism.
But then again, I may be biased.
Maybe you should stick to reading them, instead of reading books written by powerful leaders who poured their heart and soul into it, in the hopes of educating the generations that had yet to come. Not everyone gets to achieve something of significance even though they want to but refuse to invest the time and effort to do so. It won’t surprise me if this message falls onto deaf ears.
Ignore what the rich and powerful men and women of our time read, but do so at your own peril.