I do not always need to know what’s going on

I almost made it through the week without learning why the hell everyone was talking about Gamestop. Almost.

And then it just became too much. It was everywhere and unavoidable.

But this isn’t a post about Gamestop. I don’t care about Gamestop. I don’t care about gambling on the stock market. I don’t care about corporate interests and I certainly don’t give a shit about whether Gamestop survives or fails.

I suppose there’s an overlap with Gamestop and my work interests that was unavoidable. It was a strange story that touched on income inequality, technology, video games, the stock market, social networks, and politics. But in the beginning, when nobody knew what the hell was going on, it was none of those things. It was an often poorly reported story that had journalists from every one of those beats trying to learn the basics of the other beats. The first stories were gibberish, clearly written by overworked writers trying to build the boat after it’d already set out to sea. I don’t envy these journalists, but I also don’t love this type of journalism that spends so much of its timing chasing the angle, it never bothers to ask why it’s doing it to begin with.

But that’s all beside the point. At some point in recent history, some post-Trump time, when it started to feel as though being glued to the news 24-7 wasn’t as necessary as before, I had to give myself permission to give fewer fucks about all of it.

In a recent episode of the Slate Political Gabfest, Emily Bazelon described what at the time, I didn’t realize I needed someone else to say, when she said, “It’s a relief to decide that you don’t need to know what’s going on.”

She’s right, of course.

The Trump era made everything a five alarm fire. Every news story was interesting and important. It seemed as though it was necessary to have an opinion about each of those stories, and you must express those opinions loudly, to signal your virtue to all who’ll listen.

That’s not terribly helpful for anyone. Nobody is an expert on everything and none of us should strive to have an opinion about all of it. Of course, I’ve always known this, but I guess I needed a reminder. I am naturally curious about so many things, that I find myself in rabbit holes of my own making.

If someone poses a question, I need to find an answer. If someone just brings something up I’m mildly interested in, I have to know more. Part of this is my job, but it’s not always.

Gamestop provided the final example I needed. In a year when everyone on social media was already a policy expert/epidemiologist/political reporter/health reporter/lawyer, I watched in real time as these same folks suddenly gained business degrees, or worse, those with business degrees suddenly attempted to explain Reddit. Worse still, I felt myself gaining opinions about all of this, as though it has some effect on me. Something, again, I absolutely do not give a shit about. The cognitive load of this could have been spent on so many more worthwhile things.

It’s all so tiring. And ultimately a disservice to focusing on all the things that deeply matter to me.

And so, this silly blog is me, giving myself permission to not chase the tale of the hundreds of stories that mean nothing to me. It’s letting myself off the knowledge hook—to know less, perhaps, but I do not always need to know what is going on. That said, it’s not an excuse to avoid difficult stories just because they’re outside my interests. I don’t know where that balance is, exactly, but perhaps I’ll find it.

Currently reading: The Aosawa Murders by Riku Onda

Currently watching: Servant

Recently watched:  In and Of Itself (⭐️⭐️⭐️), Hunter Hunter (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️), Synchronic (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Currently listening: Yasmin Williams Urban Driftwood