Mean Sleep: Part 1 of 2

Been thinking a lot lately about the future. Ruminations inspired I suppose, by a combination of Octavia Butler’s futuristic, prophetic tale of Olamina in the Parables and the constant Facebook “breaking news” updates from my ever shrinking friends list. Anxiety exacerbated by AC 360 and his frontline exposes on Haiti, the Crisis in the Gulf, and the culture of war.  Worrying myself into a frenzy , wondering if I’d be wise to build my survival kit: water, first aid, solar powered radio and flashlights. You know what I mean. New tires, oil change, storage bins and plenty of non-perishables. Oh, and blankets, coats, and hiking boots, in case we have to flee to the mountains. Tents, backpacks, and sleeping bags. Maybe we need sturdy new bikes in the event we run out of gas. That means I need to purchase a bike rack  to store and carry the bikes on the car…

Wishing I had some wilderness friend, completely off the grid, who I could call when the time comes. As it will. Won’t it?

My mind swirling, heart palpitating, fear of the unknown future threatening to send me spiraling downward into that place of total mental incapacitation. How do I prepare? What do I do to provide safety and survival for my son? What is my emergency plan?  Where do I find the money to purchase whatever it is I need for whatever life shattering event is bound to happen (right)?  Amidst the daily reports of gloom and doom, I can only wonder. What is our obligation to our children? How do we negotiate recession, war, natural disaster,  and still provide the space and opportunity for laughter and joy?  How do we live in the now, in spite of the ominous news reports? Do we turn it off?  Unplug? Disengage?

17 thoughts on “Mean Sleep: Part 1 of 2

  1. I absolutely advocate disengagement. I rarely ever watch the news and deliberately seek out my own digestion of current (and historic) events through primarily Internet archives. I also believe in a reawakening of the oral tradition when it comes to raising children and sharing information with them about current events. The combination of what they learn from peers, media and parents will help keep them informed, and should also help them feel protected. Together, this is why I’m such a proponent of creating new media.


    P.S. Hey Cocoa Mommas


    1. Thanks Tanji for responding! I totally agree with you, ESPECIALLY in regards to reviving the oral tradition. I’m CONSTANTLY attempting to reprogram and redirect my son. He’s in high school and there are a MILLION and ONE influences on him DAILY… YES to creation of NEW MEDIA!


  2. I also watch the news extremely sparingly. I know that for a long time now, media outlets focus on what they think “sells.” Which means that you get a wealth of gore and murder and hopelessness, and very little that’s uplifting. We tend to be a PBS & NPR family. Beautifully written piece, by the way.


    1. CO-sign to the PBS & NPR family! You remind me of a documentary I heard about that discusses what corporations do to engage and sell ideas and images to young folk. It’s down right sha.dy. I can’t remember it right now….


  3. This is probably why my friends think I’m so angry now! I watch the news faithfully, but maybe I shouldn’t. I watch the local news at least twice a day, in the morning and evening, as well as national news every morning. I’m on the New York Times and CNN and a lot during the day. I don’t consciously find it depressing, but I know that it’s not the best thing for me. I feel like I NEED to know what’s going on in the world, maybe to make me feel more grateful for what I have, to feel more connected and in touch. In some places, there IS a lot of gore and murder, and I like to be aware of that. When I’m in Philly, I watch the news to remind me of how some people live, how some people’s lives are affected by violence every day. Here, in N. California, the local news is totally different, more about how the government isn’t working or the cliffs are falling.

    I don’t know, I’m rambling now, but I feel like as flawed as the news is, knowing something is better than knowing nothing, and NPR and PBS have their own very elite and academic sort of filtering that I don’t always find helpful. I want to know what’s happening where I live, where I feel like I have the best chance of making a difference, and neither of those outlets do a good job of covering local news.


    1. I feel you Toya! I’m even prone to watch Glenn Beck… smh. For the reasons you mention and also because I have this desire to know what I’m fighting against have inspired a binge-like media appetite. I’m coming off of a one -week hiatus, and I’m now DEVOURING it like a madwoman… gotta find that balance I must.


  4. I keep abreast of news because I really want to know whats going on in the world so I CAN be prepared. I dont think we should totally shield our children from things, but we should be cautious about what and how we share things.

    Am I prepared for disaster? No. I live in NYC and until last week when we had the earthquake, I didnt really think I needed to. Not even after 9/11. But since having my son, its been on my mind a lot. I want him to enjoy his childhood and not live like folks did in the 50s with nuclear fallout drills and such. But at the same time, as he gets older, I want to make him aware of things, especially if something happens while we’re apart.

    Welcome to Cocoa Mamas 🙂


    1. Thank you for the welcome! I’m pretty excited!

      Yeah, I was more comfortable when my son was younger, but now that he’s older (16 in a few days) and more mobile, I get anxious, worrying about something happening and I can’t get to him. When he was a toddler or even in elementary school, I felt more in control of his movement…So yeah, I share your concerns!


  5. I love NPR! They provide such thoughtful analysis, and fair coverage of both sides of major issues. I absolutely detest what is going on with Arizona immigration laws, but an NPR piece got me to actually respectfully listen to the opposing side during a piece. I’d love to hear more about what makes it elite- and elite in a bad way.

    Local news- talk about bad editing. The anchors barely speak in complete sentences. And I don’t know about coverage in your area, but local news here is devoted to portraying poor and people of color as negatively as possible, as often as possible. It’s disgusting. Listening to local news here will only make me afraid of my neighbors, and afraid of black males. And as much “gore” as there is in the world, there is a lot of beauty too; I agree that much of popular news, and local news in particular, seems almost committed to ignoring that. At the same time, I admit that I have a national bias when it comes to news and politics. What is going on right here often does not grab my attention like what is going on nationally, and that’s not always a good thing.

    Finally, I don’t think its healthy to be plugged in all the time. I need a break from constant news feeds, status updates, and phone calls. Otherwise, I end up missing what is right in front of my face. I do understand, however, the anxiety about “apocalypse.”


    1. I’ve never had the experience of listening to bad local news, but perhaps that’s because I’ve always lived in big cities? I’ve never found the anchors to be less intelligent or not speak in complete sentences! I know that’s a stereotype, that may be true in many places, but just never found it to be the case where I see news. And I don’t know if it’s the liberalism of the area, but even with Oakland next door and the crime problem there and the news being regional, unlike in Philly, the local news here almost NEVER starts with crime and violence. There may be one or two stories about crime and violence, but only when huge things happen, like Oscar Grant being shot unarmed, or a general story on crime on public transportation AND what’s being done about it. Granted, in Philly, it was just a run-down of all the shootings and whatnot over the day, no real analysis or information. I still didn’t find the anchors in Philly any less intelligent in their reporting.

      I stopped listening to NPR a while back, in favor of a local radio station, KPFA. I find it elite because I think it only covers mainstream news from mainstream angles, just like the TV and newspapers like the Times and CNN. Now I say this in relation to the other station I love, who tends to give a voice to those that don’t get a voice on NPR. When major things are happening in other parts of the world, or even in the U.S., independent radio is going to those places, and getting on the ground in a way NPR just does not. One recent example was the coup in Honduras – mainstream media gave almost no attention to that story, although I thought it was pretty important North American news. They also keep reporting on Haiti and Chile after the earthquakes – the stories didn’t die so soon. I just don’t find the NPR gives me anything different than what the NYT or CNN gives me – I would call both NYT and CNN elite news as well. But since I already read them, I don’t listen to, or support, NPR anymore.


    2. Finding that balance is key, I wonder how many folk go “over the edge” from over consumption of the media….


      1. I’m going over the edge right now reading the damn comments on the newspaper articles. now that is really one thing i must stop doing immediately, but it’s like an obsession, just to see how many racist, sexist, and ignorant people there are out there willing to make their ignorant thoughts known…


  6. i should get better prepared for a disaster. i mean i felt an earthquake here a few months after amina was born, and the only thing i did was stand around dumbfounded like, did i just really feel an earthquake? and call people on the east coast to tell them i felt an earthquake. not prepared at all. we should at least have basics like a case of water, flashlights etc. so much for my knowing what happens in the world. i’m going to put that on my to-do this for this summer.


  7. I meant editing from a sound editing standpoint. Like how they will have seconds of dead time in between already dry vocals or audio. Sorry but the mtv generation in me just can’t deal with the glitches, particularly with prerecorded audio.


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