Off the Media*: Brooke Gladstone, Media Nihilist

Brooke Gladstone comicCan Brooke Gladstone really feel such despair about the media?

Gladstone (@otmbrooke), co-host of “On the Media,” last week explored the topic of nihilism. Yep, the NPR show veered for more than 23 minutes into the philosophical plains of Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Camus, in a discussion she led with fellow NPR-er @JadAbumrad.

Brooke brought the discussion back to media by proclaiming how the world seems “uncomfortable” and “chaotic,” “but in our lives barely touches us. Essentially, we’re taking in the world through the media. So it may feel more deadening, but it’s less intense.”

Brooke (and I’m calling you by first name because of the friendly conversations we’ve had), I’m sorry, but I see the glass as at least half-full.

If we experience the world less intensely through media, think how much more of it we are able to share.

Ebola is killing thousands in Africa. Storms in Asia were devastating. ISIS are brutal dictators subjugating populations. Yes, we experience it all at a remove through the media. But without the media, we may not have experienced these things at all — and those in distress would get less aid and assistance.

Media don’t only keep us at a distance. They don’t simply debase and amuse us. They also let us experience the lives of others — maybe feel some of their pain — and become positively involved in ways we never would.

I’d rather experience those lives through the media than not at all.

Oh, and sometimes I put my Samsung Galaxy and iPad away and meet people face to face. That helps, too.  Brooke, your work ethic is legendary. Maybe you need to get out a little more?

*It’s been years since I’ve posted “Off the Media,” my once-regular take on the NPR show “On the Media” and other media coverage and commentary. Since I still find myself yelling at the radio and various screens, I figured, why not share? Hope we both enjoy it.