Friday, May 6, 2011

Just the facts ma'am...

On the tv news last night I watched a report on an exploding laptop. A woman had her computer on her lap and was, I guess, just using it in an idle fashion. It hadn't been on long according to her. There was a bang and the laptop tumbled forward on to the floor, flames shooting up from its underside. Its a melty write-off, the battery a frazzled wreck. I have used my laptop extensively recently either perched on a desk, table or my lap to work on my latest novel. On the news report the Computer Studies talking head from AUT or The U. of Auckland (sorry I was too distracted by what she was saying to notice the source of her genius) suggested these computers shouldn't be used on your lap. Air needs to circulate. What? I mean WHAT? No surface they are placed on allows air to circulate. Do we need lap top trivets now to go with all the other accessories? And um, aren't they called laptops for a reason? Its a LAPTOP madam, where should I place it when I use it?????

I am generally interested in the news. I like to know what is happening in the world I live in and am always alert for possible story ideas. Everything that goes in my facial ports becomes grist to the story mill and, I believe, nothing is wasted. But my most common reaction to listening, watching or reading the news is increasingly becoming one of frustration, not at the news but at the way it is reported. Too often these days the media seems to 'make' the news. Everything is put on high rotate until the next juicy disaster hits. We have this skewed perception that our lives move from one disaster, drama or crisis to the next when really we still live in conventional fashion, driving the kids to their sports practices, grumbling about the price of petrol and wishing we didn't have to wash, vacuum, cook or pick up all the same things we did the day before. Does the news blur the line between fact and fiction by combining entertainment, and editorial with the facts? And if it does what effect does this have on us? Do we become immune to the horrors of war and devastation? Do we feel constantly stressed by all the bad things happening and worry whether we are doing enough to make the world a better place? Are we suffocating under the weight of all the opinions we feel obliged to form over every issue ever faced by modern man? I don't know about you but I feel exhausted by it all. I don't want to stop knowing whats going on in the world but could the media get over themselves and just dial it back a notch or three? You know you are in trouble when the media are the news they report!!

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