Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Greedy after gossip?

Hardly a man takes a half-hour's nap after dinner, but when he wakes he holds up his head and asks, 'What's the news?' as if the rest of mankind had stood his sentinels. Some give directions to be waked every half-hour, doubtless for no other purpose; and then to pay for it, they tell what they have dreamed. After a night's sleep the news is as indispensable as the breakfast. 'Pray, tell me anything new that has happened to a man anywhere on this globe' - and he reads it over his coffee and rolls, that a man has had his eyes gouged out this morning on the Wachito River; never dreaming the while that he lives in the dark unfathomed mammoth cave of this world, and has but the rudiment of an eye himself.

For my part [...] I am sure that I never read any memorable news in a newspaper. If we read of one man robbed, or murdered, or killed by accident, or one house burned, or one vessel wrecked, or one steam-boat blown up, or one cow ran over the Western Railroad, or one mad dog killed, or one lot of grasshoppers in the winter - we never need read of another. One is enough. If you are acquainted with the principle, what do you care for a myriad instances and applications. To a philosopher all news, as it is called, is gossip, and they who edit and read it are old women over their tea. Yet not a few are greedy after this gossip. There was such a rush, as I hear, the other day at one of the offices to learn the foreign news by the last arrival, that several large squares of plate glass belonging to the establishment were broken by the pressure - news which I seriously think a ready wit might write a twelvemonth or twelve years beforehand with sufficient accuracy.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or Life in the Woods, 1854


  1. Here was I thinking it was your latest adventure, Sean.

  2. Ha ha, James. I can imagine your disappointment.
    Seriously, when starting the adventure blogging, and thinking of the last post I had this one in mind.

  3. I am of the same accord. Some would be shocked at what I do not have. Some would be more shocked at how happy this lifestyle makes me.
    To each his own.

  4. When I was little Sean, my father would watch the early news, the evening news and the late news. We only have one TV set, so one had no other option but to watch it with him.

    Now I am addicted to News and Current Affairs programs, international news. I have also acquired a disease where by, when agitated, I talk back at the News reader. (Not nice stuff is said)

    Luckily for my children, in our household, we have more than one TV set.

  5. Luckily for the not wife my consumption of tv nnews is limited by her tolerance and her view that 24 hour news channels need not be watched for 24 hours at a stretch...

  6. Janice,
    instead of asking many questions: I did like reading what you wrote. :)
    May happiness keep being be on you.

    you and me watching 'certain' news: now that would be first class entertainment for our audience. :)

    My compliment's to your not-wife. Her wisdom gives you (more) time for blogging which is a source of pleasure / news for me. :)