Increasingly, I think that one of the few good things about years I spent spent working in the trenches of TV news was the endless opportunity to witness, up close and personal, the emptiness of the man behind the curtain. The chance to understand that so much of the "news you can use," is simply advertisers' desires skimpily dressed up as infotainment. Once I understood that the world is ordered to make money, and conversely, that the world doesn't care about my dainty, porcelain feelings, I was able to start the process of getting out of my own way.
I bring this up because frequently I'll see friends on social media having public meltdowns about the latest moronic article insisting, for example, that women who aren't married are worthless, or that people without children are selfish, or some other ridiculous example of infotainment painted up to look like news. And by "news," I mean "money."
Follow the money. Understand that these article are written to get the author attention, because people always stop to ogle a car wreck. Hence the old expression: "If it bleeds, it leads." Once written, the article was published to create controversy and drive traffic to the website. Traffic to the website means -- surprise! -- money for advertisers, which means more money for the website, which means follow the money. Websites want advertisers and advertisers want to sell. Changing the world is a pretty thought, but if women started feeling great about themselves, would they really spend $25 on mascara? Advertisers know that quickest way to your wallet is through your fears.
Follow the money. If some author writes, for example, that women who aren't married are pathetic, or that people without children are "selfish"...all righty then. If the scribe in question is so happy being married, why is she bothering to be miserable to others? If people with children are so happy being parents, how come they have so much time to worry about what my vagina is doing? My vagina doesn't worry a damn about them, by the way. Their approval is not necessary to any part of my anatomy. Perhaps, in an alternate universe, we could all be honest and write real articles about real issues instead of derogatory, mindless crap that sells. Perhaps.
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, so ask yourself why you consent to other people's manipulations. Because the articles are there, you say. Spoiler alert: this might be the point in your life when you learn to prioritize and let go. Otherwise, you're going to waste your (limited) time on this planet sabotaging yourself. Instead of investing in yourself and your career, instead of focusing on the things you like to do that make you happy, that make you feel alive, that enable you to live a full life, you'll waste your life stewing over horseshit. You'll make advertisers very happy. But your career and life goals? Not so much.
Following the money also means allowing yourself to live the life you desire, by understanding why you make the choices you do. Are you not married because you can't meet anyone good? Or is it that you don't really think you deserve a good person, and so you sabotage all your relationships? Are you not married because you work insane hours? Or do you work insane hours because you were raised to believe you're a pathetic loser, whom no one could ever love? You can roll your eyes at me but this moment is your life.
If you're angry, join the club: you should be angry because the world is full of lying, cant and cruelty. However, instead of wasting your time looking for ways to savor your self-defeating anger -- i.e. FOX news -- go for a run; walk a shelter dog; get laid; have a drink; meditate; call your mom; volunteer; run for office; tell a joke; go shopping; mentor a kid at risk; go ride a bike; read a book; make someone laugh or even, go off-line and enjoy real life. I hear it's awesome and that they have cookies.
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