What Exactly Constitutes “News?”

This has been rolling around in my mind for a few months. I’m somewhat rant-y and quite a lot confused about this. I’m totally cognizant of the fact (oops, another word whose definition is migrating faster than is usual for words to change) that there is a wide blurred space between news and entertainment. Combined with the blurry lines between facts and truth, there’s a giant mud pit of bewildering word slime that keeps presenting itself to me.

Is this ladybug DEAD? Who killed it? Is this news?

The problem is that I really miss the times when reputable sources produced clearly labeled descriptions of things going on in the world (news) and smart people’s comments in these news items (editorial opinions).

Dogs getting along? We must sensationalize this now. What are they thinking? Why aren’t they growling?

I’m generalizing, of course. I’m aware that even in the times when I was young, information was presented from a certain viewpoint. I didn’t take high school journalism, but Anita did, and she told me this. And I’m quite aware that the viewpoint was well educated white guys. But the network news, Time, Newsweek, and most newspapers generally talked about the same “news” from different and interesting angles. I enjoyed learning from these sources to put together my own opinions.

Today, though, I can’t figure out why I’m supposed to care how a professional athlete’s bowel movements came out. But there it was, in my “newsfeed.” Who the heck cares about this? Why?


I made the mistake of perusing the “Facebook News” recently. There was so much clickbait that I got a little queasy from it. And gushing newsflashes about minor celebrities sneezing or burping. Or so it seemed. And did I mention gore? Endless reports of stupid people being horrible.

Gore, sensational gore.

The few actual pieces of news from serious sources tended to be behind paywalls. Sigh. I finally bit the bullet and subscribed to the New York Times. At least it’s got stuff in it about news I find important, like wars against small countries and insane political events (well, that’s mostly in the Austin Anerican Statesman, where the list of anti-trans pro-censorship bills keeps me queasy). Or science news.

Really. Who are these people and why would I care?

I just resent that I have to dig through layers and layers of drivel and nonsense to find information that matters to non celebrities and fans thereof. I’d prefer to have these two genres separated. And labeled. I’m not against fun and celebrity worship. I’d just like it to get out of my face.

I like dogs. But is this news?

Well. I rambled. Now it’s time to get ready for tornadoes that are heading this way. Texas. Extremes!!

Actual news. Here it comes.

My Decorating Style is “Dated.” So What?

I got myself in a bit of a tizzy last night while I was randomly clicking on “news” items in my Facebook feed. I landed on a clickbait article about how to achieve the very important goal of not having your home look like your grandmother’s home. According to the author, this is a horrible thing that must be avoided at all costs by following their wise decorating advice.

I have a wall clock. Those are ridiculous, says the clickbait writer. I think they meant those ones Joanna Gaines used to put on every house she did. My wooden owl clock from Germany makes me happy.

I scrolled down the numbered list (because numbered lists get more clicks) while ignoring the same ad for a watch that repeated every paragraph or so. As I did, I saw most of my decorating choices on the list. I am woefully dated. My house looks like someone’s grandmother’s house.

Fake flowers. Ick. We are told to buy real ones and throw them out. Who has that much money? I enjoy my obviously fake flowers. You can look away.

Wait. My grandmother, at least one of them, had really cool decorating taste. She had all this excellent Stickley furniture, a really cool art deco kitchen, and all kinds of fascinating collections of objects. I’d be happy to have a house that looks like hers.

Decorative plates that aren’t for eating off of? Ridiculous. How about empty wine bottles? That wasn’t on the list, but I bet it’s bad, just like pictures of chickens painted by the guy who tiled your floor or bronze baseball gloves that were once your father’s real one.

Wait. My house does look like hers. I have some of her furniture and much of her art. The rest was Mom’s. Mom was an artist. She had taste, even if she DID choose “Early American” as her style.

The clickbait person hated wallpaper. They haven’t read all the lates magazines who declared wallpaper to be back in just in time for everyone who’d wallpapered their homes in the 80s and 90s had removed it all. This is tasteful 2000-era wallpaper.

All these exhortations to get rid of anything that was popular in a decade prior to the current one strike me as mass consumerism at its worst. Throw away those perfectly functional kitchen cabinets! They are oak or cherry! Those are bad, outdated woods! Ick! Right. So all those poor trees live their lives in vain and how other trees have to give up their lives so barely used kitchen items can be replaced.

They railed about putting fake plants up on the shelf above the cabinets. I can’t argue with that. They are dusty. And ugh, look at those cherry cabinets! (They are REAL cherry wood and custom made – not getting rid of them)

And ooh, you can’t have the wrong color granite! Go dig up another mountain and get today’s color. Those beautiful rocks from the 1990s must go!

The article talked about Precious Moments figurines as being unfashionable. I am not fond of them either, but if you like them, keep them. Not everyone will like all my horse figurines.

I’m really glad that a movement toward sustainable decorating is starting to emerge. People are realizing that if the things in their home still do their job, they don’t have to go away.

Crochet. It is true, doilies collect dust. I happen to like pansies.

And at the same time, not everyone has to be “modern” and non-grandmotherly. I’m old enough to be a grandmother, so if I want a doily, dammit, I can have one. (Here’s a secret: modern furnishings were popular with many of your grandmothers – your grandmother or great grandmother might have had mid-century modern during the middle of the previous century.)

More doilies? At least I made this in the 70s and it’s bright orange.

So, I’m sticking with my cherry wood finishes. I like reddish wood. And I like natural stone, which is often brown or tan. So what? And I proudly display my mother’s collection of hand-painted floral plates right alongside the ones I bought for myself. I like them. And I decorated my house for ME, not whoever determines what’s “in” this month.

Rocks, wood, brown things, clutter. So what? I’m happy.

Please keep what pleases you in your own house and don’t throw away your stuff just because someone tells you it’s not cool (or whatever the current word for cool is; I’ve used that word since 1964). And don’t hide your needlepoint. I just want to stab whoever said to hide it and not display it with a blunt tapestry needle, even though I’m a nonviolent pacifist. Flower lover. Hippie. Maximalist.

I love my needlepoints, even with cherry wood frames.

I’m glad I got that off my chest. I’m now going to go hide in my distinctly non-modern tack room and not read any articles full of ads that are written just to get people to buy stuff. Trends. Ugh.

something poetic

(formerly The Lost Kerryman)

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