I think it started already many years ago when I had to give up the main daily Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter as they stopped distributing the weekend edition outside Umeå. That’s when I didn’t have endless access to long in depths articles waiting for me on my kitchen table anymore.
The next step I would say was when I had to move my dinners from my kitchen to my couch. In my former life I always listened to Swedish National Radio while preparing dinner. Often I enjoyed music while eating, but a lot of times I got caught up in some interesting public service program and just stayed with it. At the same time I had to give up driving my car, and so my other slot for radio listening disappeared.
For a while now I have reluctantly noticed how I shy away from lengthy mind challenging texts in my local newspaper. Västerbottens Kuriren have the most amazing editor for cultural arts. Sara Meidell is as sharp as a swordfish and her articles are always interesting and defiant. It used to be that I read everything, even if the subject wasn’t quiet my area of interest. Today I find myself selecting only the ones I feel connected to. And same goes for the op.ed. Ola Nordebro, also a bright mind and an excellent writer.
As company for my couch dinners I am choosing comfort TV. I first got aquatinted with Grey’s Anatomy during the season premiere season in Seattle September 2012. My Queen Anne penthouse city view identical to the one on the TV screen next to it. It was the season beginning with the horrible plain crash when Marc Sloan and Lexie Grey died. Back in Sweden I started following the series and have since then.
It’s the reruns which are on in time for my dinners. By now, I have watched all seasons many times, but as they are so many, when they start all over again at season 1, it feels like long time no see George and Izzy who are also long dead and gone. Old friends who I have been missing. So I am in this loop which I have a hard time leaving. Not that it’s bad for me. But I can’t say it’s moving me forward making my mind sharper.
I haven’t really experienced my brain being soggy until this winter though. I think it has been a slow insidious process sneaking up on me. So what has changed recently?
It comes down to two words. Donald Trump.
As I have mentioned before I have been watching CNN most every weekday since the election. The purpose has been to keep track of the spider in the room. I am not a big consumer. 30 minutes a day, before the 7.30 PM Swedish National Television news. So I say.
The fact is those 30 minutes are often extended. Sometimes to a full hour. Frequently to a full hour I have to admit. Which means I am dropping the Swedish lo key sensible resonating view of the news world for Sean Spicer. Yeah.
Every day I am promising myself a more healthy diet, but I just can’t help myself! I mean, Wolf Blitzer announcing a press briefing will be coming up soon, there is no way I can not wait for that one! Even worse is that it’s hardly news anymore, it’s plain freaking entertainment!
I don't blame CNN, not at all. They are doing a good job, especially considering the circumstances. It’s not CNN’s fault that my brain has turned into a slow dough mixer. No, it’s the fact that the reporting has it’s core in a president who’s vocabulary is (according to language experts) at the level of a 9-year old. And his capacity for thinking in consequences has to be even lower on the scale. Analyzes, does he even know that word? And telling truth from lies?
This week a reporter asked Sean Spicer during a briefing if the they could trust the president. Is he telling the truth? Sean Spicer turned into Melissa McCarthy and screamed repeatedly OF COURSE HE DOES!!! UNLESS HE ISN’T JOKING!
Come on, there is no way I could trade a Swedish union leader for a moment like that! Let’s face it, this White House has really turned into a comedy TV series and I don’t want to miss a single episode. It becomes very clear though, as Angela Merkel stands beside Donald Trump for the press conference on Friday, that this is for real. And that, is both frightening and embarrassing.
Zapping back to Swedish TV after my daily CNN (half) hour I feel like I have been in a candy store to long. A little bit sick. Craving carrots.
So is there anything good for me coming out of this media diet? Well, I feel like I am more connected to the English language than I have been for a while. As I haven’ been back in Seattle for many years and I am not educated by my very articulate and verbally talented friends there any more, I can tell my English is turning poor. But in spite of Donald Trump and Sean Spicer I feel a slight improvement. For which I have to thank Wolf Blitzer, his panel and their engaged analyzes.