Wake me up when November comes

by Sunita

I unsubscribed from my last remaining Tiny Letter this weekend and purged a few more RSS feeds. The Tiny Letter confirmation email asked if I would tell them why I unsubscribed. I like them, they’re not a company or overtly building a brand, so I answered.

Nothing personal, you are all fun to read. But I’m trying to cut back on my meta-reading, i.e., reading about people reading, and just read the things. Hope that makes sense.

I still follow quite a few individual blogs and get two newsletters, but I’m down to one large/corporate feed (I can’t possibly give up the Guardian Football RSS feed). I’m reading The New Yorker every week but ignoring the many blog posts it generates between issues. I’m seriously considering subscribing to a print newspaper again.

I also cancelled my Audible subscription. I have hundreds, probably more than a thousand, hours of audiobooks in my TBR and even one credit a month was more than I needed. They offered me the $9.95/yr plan where you continue to get the deals and discounts, but I haven’t bought anything because of an email blast in over a year.

Why the sudden purges? Partly because I do this every spring. When the semester ends we get ready to drive to the west coast, and we spring clean and organize in preparation for that. But it’s also a feeling that I spend way too much time finding virtual distractions rather than thinking, writing, working, knitting, and engaging with the physical world around me. Yes, I know that the online world is real and the people in it are real (and I have real relationships with quite a few of them). But TV is real too, and I don’t spend hours a day watching it.

Honestly, I don’t think I’ll make it to November without completely losing my shit if I don’t cut off at least some of the outrage machine. That histrionic, idiotic “This is how fascism comes to America” op-ed has been RT’d into my Twitter feed at least two dozen times. Why does anyone take seriously an “expert” who has been dead wrong on every major and minor foreign policy decision since 2001? Why? Because we love the drama associated with apocalyptic doomsayers, whether we think they’re on point or not? Even the professional political analysts are engaging in outrage escalation and slap fights these days (they’ve always done that but at least before it happened in private or semi-public circles).

I thought that not having cable TV and avoiding the major political websites would keep me from reading most of the stupidity, but it’s all on Twitter, RT’d even by the sensible people. Combine that with the endless promo and the almost as endless kerfuffle-of-the-moment and the wheat becomes harder and harder to separate from the chaff.

I know that’s not true for everyone; lots of people enjoy their social media interactions, their many apps, and whatever their chosen methods of distraction are. But I just want to read and write at this point. And talk to people about things other than “did you see what s/he said/wrote?” and “How Dare U?” and “OMG how awful is our world?”

I thought about de-activating my Twitter account, and I may still do that, but for now I’ve posted my first pinned Tweet telling people I’m on hiatus and not responding to mentions or DMs in a timely fashion.

I still plan to blog, and if anyone wants to chat, I’m always available via email (if you don’t already have it, you can find my email on the “about” page linked to the left).

P.S. If you want to know whether or not Fascism is coming to America, this is the article you should be reading.