I’d like to see a nightly news program performed by the Sesame Street characters. Cookie Monster could read the political report and discuss the global cookie economy. Then Kermit could sing a sad song about plastic in the ocean, and Miss Piggy could do a segment on eyelash extensions and microblading her eyebrows. Having plush puppets deliver the news could reduce my anxiety. I’m thinking of it as information therapy.
I need to release my brain into the wild and let it soak up the natural order of things. The sun came up today and the sky is beautiful. My coffee is washing away the pasty sleep in my mouth. It’s peak summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the green glory of photosynthesis is all around us. We are so fortunate to be living here, on this planet, not on the Moon, where evidently there’s nothing but broken rockets and astronaut poop. Life is good. At least it can seem that way, if I’m careful about my information diet.
It’s too easy for me to overdose on negativity when I try to catch up on the day’s events. I don’t want to be naïve. Bad things happen. But I also don’t want to be swept away by horrible stories when I can see with my own eyes that good things are happening in the world. I need to find some balance in the information I consume, or my brain can become a dark soup of human failure. Then I’m no good to anyone.
Some call it the fear economy. When we hear scary stories we want to know more about them to protect ourselves. The more fearful we are, the more we consume stories about our fears. It’s a perverse cycle of fear feeding on fear. It’s also a strategy for making money. Negativity is being supersized. Media cultivate a paranoid audience by tracking the details of doom between ads with people spouting this will make you happy, buy-me-buy-me. I had to shut it off so I could sleep at night. Too much gloom warps my psyche as much as too many martinis. It distorts reality.
Kids love Sesame Street because it stimulates their desire for learning and triggers their curiosity. Research shows that kids who grow up watching Sesame Street are better thinkers, more intelligent, and more successful in life. We could all hope for an adult program that would achieve that. Research also shows that adults who watch hours of TV every day can lose brainpower, literally become dumber and more depressed. Too much of some kinds of content is just bad for our health.
So I’m going on an information diet, seeking out content that leads me to think creatively, opens my mind instead of closing it, and teaches me to appreciate the context of complicated stories. I’m looking for inspiration. Can someone please direct me to the Sesame Highway?