Friday, September 15, 2023

Of News and Forgetting

Every day, something new.   It's our expectation.  It's how "news" works.

That process has accelerated, as our hyperkinetic twenty four hour newsday has expanded into the pure instant of distributed media.  It's not "daily news."  It's the news of the hour, the news of the minute, the news of the moment.  It is news broken into quanta, the smallest possible unit of newness, every hot-take and provocation given just the same value as an epochal event.

Last year, there was a hurricane that destroyed large portions of an entire region of Florida.  There was a fire in Hawaii that killed hundreds, and seared a whole town from the world. There was a president who lied about losing an election, then instigated a riot in an effort to overthrow the republic.  Those events are still happening.  

But they're not fresh, not now, not trending.  Not new.

Twenty thousand dead as floods sweep them away.  It will be forgotten next week.  The skies, filled with smoke from a burning world.  The wind changes, and we no longer care.  We doomscroll endlessly through the now, the moment, trapped in a cycle of illusory, anxious urgency.

News has become the agent of our collective forgetting, an erasure, the Heraclitan fires of the commodified moment burning away every trace of the real.