Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Betsy vs. the World

My dad gave me a Kobo for Christmas. I never would have gotten one for myself (I'm a late adopter) so it was a lovely surprise. I bought myself a paperless subscription to our local newspaper and was digging keeping abreast of the city and the world. Chinese New Year celebrations downtown! Revolution in Egypt! I could read all about it whenever I had 5 minutes to myself which, as a mom of 3 wee ones, is pretty much as good as it gets.
I never would have gotten an e-reader for myself but now that I've started using it, I need it, yo.

So of course my two-year old threw it down the stairs.

I'd like to think it had more to do with his desire to learn about gravity and velocity than a mandate to sever my connection to the world. But now the screen is broken. And I have no idea what's going on unless it's happening in my living room. And what's happening in my living room is runny noses and poopy diapers. And now that I've had a good helping of a discourse that goes beyond the bodily effluvia of my little sneezers, I need to know. Whassup, World?

If I only had some sort of portal through which I could connect to the gamut of human experience... oh right, the Internets!

So. I logged onto to my Google Reader. First I checked out all the mommy blogs I subscribe to so I could read about the bodily effluvia of someone else's children. I learned on Amber's blog that it is International Women's Day and I read her very deft personal essay about her daughter's panties in honor of the occasion. Then I plunged into the BBC World News headlines. Air Strikes in Libya, Vietnam trying to rescue a giant turtle they consider a national treasure, Charlie Sheen fired!

BBC World News RSS feed. Why have I forsaken thee?

Oh right...

Man admits schoolgirl sex attack
Mother guilty of killing children
Children 'witness rape of mother'
Risking rape: Tanzinian school girls risk rape for an education 

That's why I stopped reading the BBC World News. The child rape stuff. It makes me do this:

 Dear Reader, I can't hack it. I know the BBC doesn't report exclusively on children being raped, but when I scroll through the headlines, that's what pops out at me. Since having children I just take it so damned personally. As a mom, hearing about violence and sexual violence targeting children feels like such a visceral attack. And I don't want it in my living room where I clean noses and kiss toeses.

How do you deal with this?



  1. A healthy dose of denial, occasional bouts of sucking it up, the odd crying jag, donating money and feeling helpless, and I think it was the mombshell who suggested bubble beards as a remedy for many ills. Oh, and chocolate.

    and man, good thing your two-year-old is cute.

  2. He's super cute.

    And it's still on warranty, they're going to send me a new one.

  3. I love my Kobo as well.

    I don't read the news much...and I never watch it on TV. This may make me ignorant, but I can't handle the never-ending bad news, horrible maiming, rape, death, whatever. It's all too much and I get very sad. So I don't read it.

  4. Not only can I not handle that stuff on TV or in the newspapers I can't watch the fake stuff in the movies either. It keeps me up late at night (if I watch it at night that is) and I end up worrying that one day it will be my kids and it makes me paranoid. So I basically never watch the news and skip those parts of the paper and beat up people who drag me to disturbing movies. :)

  5. I used to listen to NPR while I cooked dinner. With a 3 month old now, though, my main culinary accomplishments have been boiling pasta and sauteeing onions while wearing her in the ERGO and talking with my husband. NPR has taken a back seat. Husband still listens to it, though, at work, so he tells me the more Earth shattering things. Like the tsunami in Japan. I would have remained blissfully ignorant had it not been for him. :-) And now I understand why my mother hates watching movies where "families are threatened" and I think I will end up like her, preferring Homeward Bound to all other cinematic masterpieces!

  6. I am just reading this post now, so you know that I am not so much on the up-to-date. BUT. I get my news from Twitter. They tend to be low on the child rape quotient and high on celebrity gossip, but it's much less depressing. And when something really big happens, you don't totally miss it. Plus, it works in small chunks of time, which is super-important, as you know.

  7. First, I think you're really funny.

    Second, I don't read the news. And I read blogs and mark them to comment and then get to it weeks later.

    Third, I don't even listen to the news anymore. I only ever listened to NPR but with kids in the car with me all the time, I just realized when my oldest was around two or so, that there really was very little in the top-of-the-news hour that we needed to hear together.

    And then I realized that there was really very little that I was interested in hearing.

    Fourth, I don't need to keep writing ordinals anymore.

    I do look at the nytimes online sometimes, scanning headlines, but if I read articles they are mostly movie reviews or health-related articles.

  8. My word verification was


    which I thought was a really great way to describe the news!


Tell Betsy...