Informational Isolationist 718.3

Help! I need a strategy to deal with information overload. I want to be a good citizen with informed opinions about significant events, but I just can’t keep up.

Surely, the colossal, ongoing consequences of the earthquakes, tidal waves, and nuclear leaks in Japan justify sustained and serious attention.

But so do the uprisings in the Middle East and Northern Africa. I barely understood Tunisia’s revolution when I had to shift to Egypt and then to Libya with sporadic glances at headline-worthy events in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Syria, and the Ivory Coast.

I feel like I’m in the midst of a never-ending meal with each course served so quickly there’s no time to digest the previous one.

As my attention shifts to each new event, I know that the tumult caused by each previous front-page story does not subside simply because I follow the spotlight elsewhere.

And as my guilt mounts about my shallow understanding of international events, I feel even more guilt about how much I don’t know about our own political troubles and tensions – Congressional gridlock and imminent nasty fights about taxes, deficits, and the true implications of federal and state budget cuts.

I suppose I can live with not knowing why 5,000 red-winged blackbirds fell dead in Arkansas and what happened to hundreds of turtle doves found dead in Italy with blue stains on their beaks, but do I have to sacrifice keeping up with the Lakers, Charlie Sheen’s exploits, and Tiger Wood’s comeback?

I’m tempted to surrender and become an informational isolationist, but that just doesn’t seem responsible. Any suggestions?

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

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