My Quest for Good News

BlogHer Original Post

I hate reality television.

I know I'm not alone in this feeling; however, unlike most, my reasons for hating reality television have nothing to do with the shows being an indication of lazy programming, or the fact that the characters are generally less than extraordinary, or some sort of inflated sense of superiority on my part.

I hate reality television because I hate seeing people in any kind of pain. While many people watch these shows -- programs depicting bad auditions, or people so unhappy with their body image they go to drastic surgical measures, or even live divorce court -- with a macabre sense of curiosity, I have to look away. Watching it means experiencing a truly visceral pain, a depressingly sinking feelng. Stop, stop, I find myself thinking. Please don't do this. I can't watch you do this.

This inability to look at pain or hurt or death spills over into the rest of my life, and unfortunately, not in a good way. I sincerely do not remember the last time I read the newspaper, or sat through an entire news broadcast. I am only vaguely aware of the world around me because I'll pull up, scan the headlines, and close the webpage before I get truly upset. "It's horrible what's occurring in the Middle East," friends will say at cocktail parties. "Mmhmm," I respond while shaking my head thoughtfully, and taking the opportunity to sip my Cosmopolitan. The truth is, I have nothing to say on the subject. The truth is, I actually don't know what the latest is in Iraq, or Iran, or Lebanon, because I'm trying my damnedest not to know.

I'm not proud of the fact that I have such an aversion to the news, or television in general -- it obviously keeps me woefully ignorant about current events. Still, the eternal optimist in me has to believe that with as much horror as is occurring on our planet, surely there's as much good happening too? Why are we not hearing about it? And please don't tell me "good doesn't sell," because if that's so, then how do you explain the success of shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, where a needy family gets the home of their dreams -- positive programming if ever there was any? Besides, if we can put a man on the moon and find a cure for polio, clearly there must exist enough intelligence in the world to be able to figure out how to make good sexy.

And speaking of sexy good, I recently came across The Good News Network, a website that reports all the good they can find that's currently happening on the planet. I haven't yet combed through the site like I intend to; however, it is my sincere hope that I discover through learning more about it that it's wildly successful. Lord knows, it deserves to be (and I take the fact that it is currently the number 1 result when Googling "good news" as a good sign). What I have seen, however, is inspiring -- and frankly, I'm just thrilled that finally, when someone raises the subject of the conflict in the Middle East, I can now respond with authority, "Yes, I know, it's horrible -- but hey, did you hear that manta rays were recently spotted for the first time in 20 years gliding through Basura, in the Phillippines?"

And that, alone, is cause for celebration.

Contributing Editor Karen Walrond focuses on the good in her life at her personal blog, Chookooloonks, and showcases good stuff at her green shopping blog, Emerald Market.


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