Issue Burnout, Issue Clutter


Originally uploaded by daydream scream.

One of our readers, khylek, brought up “being issued out” in Nikkos’ most, um, eye catching post. Khylek’s got a point–everyone I know (including friends, family and clients) have so much going on in terms of work, familial responsibilities and their own personal life, that it is hard to maintain any significant level of interest in what’s going on today. People have so much on their mind and so much to do that they simply burn out from the “issues of the day.”

Another part of the problem, however, is that we have so much crap being sent to us as “news” that it takes more effort to filter out the news we want. Furthermore, the sheer volume of this news–typically Entertainment News– seems to make it more important than traditional news. In essence, we get Issue Clutter: Stories and events about whats happening in the world get drowned out by the happenings of the rich and famous.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m not in favor of dumbing down the news or having someone else filter it for me. At the same time, when we have “Entertainment News” like DCFS visiting Britney , competing with Bush’s war plans (or Wild Speculation if your tastes drift a bit farther “Right” than mine), an overworked brain–and let’s face it, most of us are over worked–will probably chose to filter out the traditional news to focus on the entertainment news. We simply need that diversion.

A little diversion is a good and healthy thing, but this issue clutter is draining our mental resources.

For example, I think that if someone had posted a story about Jen and Vince house hunting last week, it would have garnered significantly more comments than Lauren’s or Nikkos’ more civic minded posts, because our overworked and cluttered brains just need this type of diversion. But at the same time, we would be doing a major disservice to our community. Immigration is important, and it affects more people than Vince and Jennifer’s possible move to Chicago.

So what to do about it? Personally, I figure the best way to deal with the clutter, and the burnout, are programs like Chicago’s own Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me. But, I’m curious about how other people maintain the balance and prevent burnout. So, readers, how do yo deal with Issue Clutter?

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