For years I have had a nagging dissatisfaction with the state of news reporting. I know it is a well banged drum but I do believe that the constant preoccupation with bad, no make that terrible, news is making us all a bit mental. I'm not advocating putting your head in the sand, the world is one messed up puppy, but just as there are stories daily of poverty, war and evil there are also stories of people overcoming poverty, striving for peace and quietly working for good. We all know this to be the case but the constant bombardment of negativity makes for depressing viewing. I also think it makes us switch off from the news and so engage with the issues we should engage with much less effectively that we otherwise could.
My second bug bear with opinion, more specifically opinions bandied about the internet, is the true hideousness of the comments section on most newspaper websites. After reading responses on a single Guardian article you could be forgiven for thinking the world is made up of a bunch of raving extremists. It's enough to have me packing up for a life in hermits-ville. But the thing is, just as we all know that bad news isn't the only news, I don't meet many people like this in real life. I don't know whether the anonymity of the internet brings this insanity to the fore or if there are just a small subset of really frightening people who all happen to love comment sections on websites but most of the people I meet have opinions, yes, but usually moderate, tolerant and changeable ones. THANK GOD!
This has all made me think about my own opinions and how I express them. Anyone who knows me will know I cannot help but speak my opinions. I may as well walk around with a billboard tied round my neck. But as I've gotten older and hopefully a tiny bit wiser I have realised one important lesson:
I CAN BE WRONG.
I cringe at some of the things I have said in my time. For this reason, though I have plenty of them, I try and carry my opinions lightly. I try to avoid sweeping generalisations about groups of people because it is never that black and white. I try and value people more than what they have to say about the government's economic policy, what religion they sign up to or whether they prefer Made in Chelsea or TOWIE. Most of all I try to do this all the more when I disagree (Err...Made in Chelsea all the way!) So I suppose this rather rambling blog post is a plea for taking ourselves a bit less seriously and realising that at the end of our words is a real person reeling from the blow. I'm taking that on board myself. Sorry Guardian commenters! ;)
Meanwhile, I for one am committed to a bit more good news in my life! So I have started a new box on the right of my blog that I am going to update with good news as I find it. And I promise it won't all be Granny Mabel hosting bring and buy sales in the village hall!