The Quarantimes Week 29: Full Attention

September 30th, 2020

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I have a zero-tolerance policy about violence in the bath and often have to pull the plug, literally, before the girls are ready. After I did so the other night, I felt compelled to sit them down on the counter, snugly secured in their towels like straight jackets, and give an impromptu lecture about kindness and listening. 

Phoebe was angry-crying the entire time, but Eliza just looked at me with her typical stoic, indecipherable expression. I finally stopped, and there was a pause, after which she asked me, point blank:

“What comes after 120?”

I answered her question with a question. “Were you just counting in your head the entire time I was talking?”

“Yes,” she replied frankly.

Paying attention.

That’s our theme for today. And speaking of which, I recently had a conversation with my family, which parlayed itself into a conversation with friends, about which media sources we trust. 

We all know the media is biased. There is no way around it. People who read and watch only Fox News have a very specific lens on the world. The same could be true for people who only read Mother Jones or fringe liberal or libertarian publications. 

If you’re going to tune in to news, you have to do so with an understanding that what you choose to read will influence your worldview. Personally, I try to stick to sources I trust, knowing that some people might scoff at those choices. I typically choose:

I really, really try to avoid getting sucked in by the incendiary headlines of “lesser” news sources. I am a flaming liberal, so obviously I think Fox News is ridiculous. But honestly, I think CNN is nearly as ridiculous. It’s all entertainment.

For my own biased entertainment and reflections, I also read The New Yorker, but I recognize that this source has a very specific point of view.

I love this infographic a friend sent me the other day, laying out every major news source on an axis from Most Extreme Liberal to Most Extreme Conservative, but also from Fact Reporting to (blatantly) Contains Fabricated Info.



Notice that the organization that put this chart together handily included a green zone up top for “News.” This graphic is 2 years old, but still seems pretty accurate to me. I am going to keep reading what I’m reading, but always keeping in mind that it’s impossible to keep bias out of reporting, and we as humans must practice critical thinking at all times. 

As for five-year-olds, they pay attention to exactly what they want. I marveled at this “track” they made for their wooden trains the other day. They spent hours on it on the floor of our breezeway, and I’ve been tiptoeing around it ever since.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

What I’m reading:

 The Discomfort of Evening — This book by Dutch author Marieke Lucas Rijneveld won the 2020 International Booker Prize and is absolutely chilling. 

Also took the time to read Tanqueray story on Humans of NY’s Instagram feed and subsequently had my heart warmed by this New York Times piece

What I’m watching:

The “debate,” which was a joke. God help us all.*

What I’m listening to: 

Still, Tyler Childrens. Can’t stop won’t stop. 

What I’m eating:

What I’m working on:

How to Figure Out Your Voting Plan for the nonprofit SaverLife

Ocean acidification: The reality of climate change for Immersive Learning startup Strivr 

* I am an atheist, FYI. We’re fucked.

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