Who To Watch When The Political World Seems Too Much

I’ve not written, and barely read a word of anything, anywhere. Not even this new ebook I bought a few weeks back. All hot to trot to dive in to this fantastic book by Egyptian specialist Dr. Kara Cooney, The Good Kings: Absolute Power in Ancient Egypt and the Modern World. Saw her interviewed on this YouTube channel I follow, MythVision, and was intrigued.

I know, maybe not everyones cup’a, but I rarely read fiction anymore.

*sigh*

Dr. Cooney (professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA) weaves two of my passions, ancient history & politics, into one fascinating journey through history, to see what it can teach us, or at the very least illustrate some patterns. Basically a work looking at modern lessons in ancient history. In this case looking at what we can learn from Egyptian Pharaonic kingdoms’ authoritarianism, and the appeal of patriarchal dictorial leaders and how & why they rise to prominence, using all the same age-old tricks.

I keep meaning to pick it back up, I’m about 30% through, and I suppose now I’ve lost the groove, and may have to go back to catch up… so I’ve put it off. As I have so many other things, of late.

Anywho.

I highlighted a few especially poignant passages… such as;

As we dissect our own cultural understandings of patriarchal power, ancient Egypt provides a useful lens.

Or this bit that preceded it;

Keeping ancient Egypt separate and vacuum-sealed allows us to fetishize it, to see the believers in these god-kings as primitive, silly people, nothing like us. Isolating any ancient culture to such a degree demands a belief that we would never fall for such manipulations by primeval demiurges.

Ahem.

So, the news from down yonder in the land where I was born, of late has been too much.

It all makes me angry, so I’ve tried to avoid some of it. Some of it. But, geesh, it’s painful. Whether from violence towards LGBTQ+ communities, or Drag Queen reading hours, to bullying libraries, school boards, election denial radical right-wing authoritarians dominating the entire spectrum, it’s sometimes too much.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
William Wordsworth

In the onslaught I’ve begun to rely on certain news media, particular podcasts, YouTubers, a couple mainstream news persons, and social media personalities I watch out the corner of my eye with certain specialities.

I ignore the rage mongers, the headlines for click monsters, the lefty justice doomdayers, the poor lil’white boy trolls, the gun-toting tarts, and definitely a giant block for big ol’Marge with her eclipse of the truth. Lots of content out there now to choose from, lots who desire your undivided attention, your likes, your clicks, your analytic views of their minute to minute BREAKING NEWS. All designed to lure you, anger you, enrage you, to make you forget what is really important.

So, what should you know? I don’t know, but, some of the mechanisms we used in the past are broken, sold off to some conglomerate owned by who only knows who, gone, or maybe just boring snogs. And, let’s be honest, much of the media we consume has become just one giant manipulation, and it’s hard to not get sucked into the 💩… er… y’all get the picture.

Yes, it has all become too much.

But, I still need to know, you know? I just do. So, here is a list, but my top go-tos are here, with a bit of maybe why, how, where, and what they say that I appreciate.

So, without further ado, I will list my go-tos for News junkies when it all sucks too much.

Alas, first, the rest of Wordsworth, cause he got it.

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon;
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.—Great God! I’d rather be
A pagan suckled in a creed outworn;
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea;
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathèd horn.

Now, perhaps not so lofty as Greek gods, yet with truly this amazing power to make me perhaps a wee bit less forlorn on the state of it all, cause Beau knows.

With his wisp of a southern accent, and a wealth of knowledge, this Florida man is most certainly far more than meets the eye.

Next, on the list of where I go to know what I should know, from folks who are in the know, I turn to Crooked Media – specifically Pod Save America and Pod Save the World. I watch on YouTube, but I’m sure you can listen to them wherever you get your Podcasts.

These guys are topnotch, with varied political backgrounds, from Democratic candidate campaigns to administrations. They are a fantastic source for what’s happening currently in U.S. or World politics (or whatever), but with a more casual delivery than others of its sort.

On this episode of Pod Save The World, Tommy Vietor and Ben Rhodes discuss the latest news coming out of China including the COVID lockdowns and Chinese State Media’s TikTok problem, they also give an update on the Iran protests, the Ukraine/Russia War and Putin’s recent health issues.

Ok, so I don’t own a TV, and haven’t for a couple decades. I don’t watch Cable news, so I just don’t consume a whole bunch of mainstream media. However, Rachel Maddow is an exception. Sure, I will watch the highlights MSNBC posts, unless I can get one of the free streaming services to work long enough to steal a peek of her Monday nights.

Now, to the point, if you haven’t heard, she is apparently a bit of a history sleuth, and loves digging around in the past for tidbits. Perhaps you thought all that Fascism/Nazi stuff only took place over in Europe, or at least maybe… only happened elsewhere? Rachel Maddows’ newest Podcast ULTRA will disabuse you of that silly notion. It’s a story of American extremism, a tale I bet many knew little about. This story though just before the U.S. got into WWII, and ends, well, you’ll have to just listen to the whole thing to find out.

It is as chilling, in spots, as it is illuminating.

I will say, watching the nightly news seems a far off thing to me now. It’s almost rare as hens teeth for me to watch any newscast, from anywhere. Sure, MSNBC highlights, maybe CNN (though meh) but I do get notifications (hit the little bell) from DW. Deutsche Welle (means German wave) is a state owned and public funded German international news broadcaster, but in English.

The work of DW is regulated by the Deutsche Welle Act,[note]meaning that content is intended to be independent of government influence. DW is a member of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

Wikipedia

I guess I just like the format, that it’s not North American, and the range of their coverage is outstanding.

Next on my list of who’s who on my go-to when the world sucks too much list, is PoliticsGirl.

Found her first I guess on Twitter, when one of her kitchen rants streamed through my feed. Totally impressed. Then I found out she had a podcast, and she is Canadian (now also a U.S. citizen). Let’s just say when Leigh McGowan blows her horn, you wanna listen.

And, for a bit of a balance, to get a taste of the opinions of the right vs the left, the Republican vs the Democrat commentator, I turn to PBS. Well, specifically one portion of their Friday night Newshour – Brooks and Capehart. Now, occasionally the faces change, as other commitments get in the way, folks retire, but that alternative points of view thang of the piece has remained.

I like the respect the two commentators have. Back in the day, I suppose it would be called decorum. Ahem. Rare as it is, old fashion even, respect, diplomacy, listening, and none of the jockeying for attention with outrageous hot takes.

Dec 9, 2022

New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post associate editor Jonathan Capehart join Judy Woodruff to discuss the week in politics, including how a win in Georgia expands Democrats’ majority in the Senate despite the loss of a party member in Arizona and the release of wrongly detained basketball superstar Brittney Griner.

There you go, that’s my list of go-tos.

I can go lolling off into lala land, not a care in the world for what that scanky right-wing radical said, or what this troll trolled about trolling, not a peek of a dang care for the Muskovites Twitter files, I just ignore them all… PFT.

Yet, I still know, cause I know who knows, don’t you know!

(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿)

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