2005, We Hardly Knew Ye

I know, the monthly and weekly rags will start publishing their own “retrospectives” on 2005 today or tomorrow. By the end of the week we’ll all be sick of hearing about how wonderful 2005 was, how it sucked, and hearing again about all the things that happened in the world that we don’t really want to hear about again. Undoubtedly, only a few words will be dedicated to the hurricanes that ravaged huge tracts of land in the Southern part of the United States, barely a sentence will be written about the Asian Tsunami… but there will be copious amounts of speculation about Britney Spears, her love life and her kid. What a messed up country we live in sometimes.

Seriously, have you looked at the national and local media lately (in the US)??? It’s so American-centric that it’s almost a parody of itself at this point. Sure, that’s always been the case to a greater or lesser extent, but it’s become ridiculous. I take it as a sign of the times, and a sign of the world attitude toward Americans (and their attitude toward the rest of the world).

Don’t misunderstand me; I love living in this country and have no immediate plans to leave. Hell, I’ve built a life out here that’s really none too bad all things considered. Sure I could have had a similar life in Britain… and might one day return if the mood takes us (Rebekah and myself)… but I love it here. However, I feel that this country has become increasingly isolated from its peer countries during the last few years. I believe that the American attitude toward the world is skewed, somewhat naieve… and I don’t see a good way to fix it.

I’ve done my best. I talk to my friends… and I tell them about what’s going on in the rest of the world, but still the media that surrounds us every day is so saturated with the message that the entire world revolves around America that it’s sometimes difficult to get my message across.

This isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon, either. It started long before Sept 11th 2001, but since that time it has become an epidemic. It seems that the American public as a whole has looked at the rest of the world and thinks that the problems of the rest of the world will go away if we just stick our fingers in our ears and yell “lalalalalalalala…”

It pains me.

That’s at least in part what my comment about keeping an open mind meant yesterday. Don’t believe everything the US media feeds you; you are force-fed their vision of the world, their opinion. Get “out” a little more; get your news from multiple sources in multiple countries. I find the most independent news media I can find is New Zealand and Australia… though they do tend to “tow the company line” of the current administration. Since that administration is at the polar opposite of our own though in many ways, using that as a foil against the US media gives you a more balanced picture of the world. The BBC is a good source also, though as always the UK media sometimes devolves into believing that the UK is the 51st State of the Union.

I ask all my friends, and even casual readers… never take anything as gospel. There’s no such thing. Keep an open mind, read the news in multiple countries… make sure that you’re not just a drone of the media.

So my views on the year that is in its last week? Nothing much that doesn’t just affect me personally. My thoughts go out to all those who have suffered in the world this year, to all those who have lost someone or know someone who has. My feeling go out to all those who are posted in foreign lands fighting for their country. While I may not be a supporter of Bush’s foreign policy or his reasons for the war, I support the troops themselves. Some of them are my friends.

My thoughts personally tend to go back to my trip in October. That, to me will be a defining moment for this year because it was such a major event in my life and one I will not be able to repeat for some time. My thanks go out to all those who supported me, and those who made it possible. Too numerous to list here, just know that you are all thought about.

For 2006, I approach it with hope, and some trepidation. There are some of my close relatives I was glad to see in Belfast who may not see the end of 2006. There is another reason I was glad to return; to see those relatives one last time. Still, it’s something we all must face.

And finally, in closing I will just say that I hope 2006 treats all of you well. I hope you will get everything you need, and some of what you want. I hope that you’ll still be checking into this blog a year from now and reading my prattlings about 2006. With luck, I’ll find some more time this week to write more about the year that was.

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