Grokking the News

Just in case you are not a science fiction nerd, the term grokking came from Robert Heinlen’s sci-fi classic, Stranger in a Strange Land.   It means to understand, profoundly and intuitively.

My Dad used to come home from work, sit down in his chair and read the New Haven Register every evening.  Dad liked to be informed as to what was going on in the world.   I have never subscribed to a newspaper, although for many years I picked up the Los Angeles Time Sundays.  I read Newsweek and Time (although not religiously) and watched the evening news until it became so biased and banal that it interfered with my sleep rhythms.  For some years now, I’ve made a habit of reading a number of news sites on my tablet over my morning coffee.   I read a number of sites because while it is possible to find pages that aren’t banal, they are ALL biased to some degree so I hop across a variety of sites to try to counteract my own confirmation bias and get an unbiased picture of what’s going on in the world.  Since the election of Donald Trump as president, the partisanship of the media has made it harder and harder to read enough to really grok what’s going on …. and the media’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has turned me into a news skimmer for the sake of my own sanity.  Here are some of the headlines I skimmed today:

Where can you still buy cleaning wipes and spray (USA Today):  How many of the shortages stem, at least in part, from the press’s relentless reporting of every single item that is hard to find?   Most of them, I’d say.

Pink reflects on Mother’s Day amid coronavirus (USA Today):  Seriously, if there’s anything I’m sicker of reading than what know-nothing celebrities think about the coronavirus, it’s the news media feeling obliged to report it.

Is The Coronavirus Mutating And Becoming More Contagious? (Huff Post):  OK, this is a pet peeve.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the article, you find this caveat: Experts are still learning about the corona virus.  The information in this story is what was known or available at press time but it’s possible guidance around COVID-19 could change as scientists discover more about the virus.   Author?  Jenna Birch, health and lifestyle journalist and author of The Love Gap: A Radical Plan to Win in Life and Love.  Translation:  Hack journalist, taking advantage of preliminary medical results she is incapable of understanding to get readership and clicks.

Grimes offers pronunciation of son’s name different from boyfriend Elon Musk (Fox News):  Seriously, who gives a crap?

As Trump pulls back from the virus, Congress races to fill the void (AP News):  Talk about the blind following the blind!!  Can we stop politicizing the corona virus?  No, I guess not.  Pathetic.

Climate activists to emerge stronger from coronavirus crisis, says Greta Thunberg (Reuters):  I was just starting to take climate change seriously when they rolled out a little girl as their spokesperson.  And even the serious (??) media went for it.  What the hell?

So, dear readers, that’s why my Inner Curmudgeon and I are no longer grokking the news.

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4 Comments on “Grokking the News”


  1. I don’t blame you. I, for the most part, ignore it all together. Good read, thanks for sharing.

  2. Samantha Dee Says:

    ‘until it became so biased and banal that it interfered with my sleep rhythms’ – I belly-laughed! 😀


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