Maybe some of you don't know this, but the Steubenville rape case trial started. I have been streaming it most of today. I have been reading articles about it. Two of the best are Jaclyn Friedman's article on Toxic Masculinity and Irin Carmon's piece on Can Rape Be Stopped?
I also received a beautiful and painful letter from a friend today about something difficult that had happened to her. I remain grateful for these letters. They remind me why I keep fighting.
But in the last few days, I've also experienced a lot of "bad" media. The kind that makes you want to shake your computer or scream at the TV. And there's a part of me that wants to hold my hands up and say enough. I've talked about this before. I've wondered why I can't get excited about the Veronica Mars movie kickstarter when everyone else is excited about it. And the reason that I can't is because at the same time the VM movie was going crazy into FUNTOWN on Twitter, I read that one of the Steubenville defense attorney's said this: "She voluntarily got herself intoxicated. Not once did you hear her say
or any witness statement say she didn’t want to do it." (Never mind that that actually falls into the legal definition of rape)
The point is, I WANT to be Veronica Mars excited. I want that back. I want to have days where I don't say the word rape. I want that back too. I don't know that I will ever get that back. But I do know that there are times when you need to make decisions about the media that you consume.
And I am ever grateful for my friend Anne who pointed out that sometimes we keep reading the same horrifying things over and over again and it causes us a strange sort of paralysis. It's sort of like when celebrities Google themselves until they find someone saying something horrible about the way they look, act, sing, etc. Why do we do this to ourselves? To what end?
So now, thanks to dear Anne, I have come to a decision about what type of media/popular cultural I will consume (through the duration of this trial, certainly, but possibly beyond that):
1. Does it entertain me? I like to be entertained. I like to laugh and think. I will watch Eddie Izzard forever. Also Sherlock.
2. Does it give me information I don't already have? (I am pretty savvy about rape stats, reading them over and over again is damn hard...I probably don't need to read every article telling me they're still pretty shitty)
3. Does it give me something actionable that I can do to make a difference in the world? (I'm on board for changing the rape culture, but show me the way, smarter people than me...this is why I love the two above referenced articles so much).
What about you all? Do you find yourself getting overwhelmed by information overload that isn't that helpful to you?