I’m linking to a story in the NYTimes today extolling the virtues of quiet. And while the author, Pico Iyer, has set the bar high–moving to Japan for some peace and quiet–I find that his thesis, that we are being drowned by noise, particularly media noise, rings true this New Year’s.
My daughter, the writer Elizabeth G.Hines, posted this link to her Facebook page this morning. She has long held on to the notion that it is possible to live a life that includes silence. A writer would. I, of course, spending my life in noisy newsrooms–and noisy everything–always slept with my TV blaring, lest I miss some important kernel of indispensable information.
Until now. One day near the beginning of the holiday season the news was so monstrous–whole families dying, people doing despicable things to children, endless and ridiculous detailing of a ridiculous campaign–I found myself sitting with my hands covering my face. I got up, turned the TV off, and it has stayed that way for a week. Pretty troublesome for someone writing about the media.
As I look at a new media year, I wonder if each of us will reach our limits on information in some way this year. 2012 seems to me the pivotal year for our information (noise) tolerance testing. Especially since much of what comes our way in any form seems, well, empty. O r horrific. Let me not assault the messenger here–maybe it’s just reflective of our societal decline.
I can’t help but think, though, that we can do better than this. We must do better than this. The media gatekeepers must let the smart, compassionate creators into the newsrooms, scriptrooms, in the editors’ chairs online, director’s chairs on the lot. I bet if they do, we’ll find out that they include women and people of color in droves.
Happy New Year, and let’s work for the best in 2012!