Children worry a lot, even if they don't express it. They worry that their parents will die, they worry about problems that occur half a world away, not realizing that some of the problems are not a direct local threat. ("No, sweetie, we don't get tsumanis here in central London.") Is it good to be globally and politically aware? Yes. Is a certain level of insensitivity to life's tragedies good for one's health? Also yes. The constant barrage of inescapable doom and gloom frightens young children and continues to keep the more sensitive adults among us in a constant low level state of depression and fear.
It seems that everywhere we turn today, we are expected to care and weep for the world's many victims of opression, injustice and the environment. Including animals.
The BBC announcer's funereal tone of voice drifted over the radio waves early one morning last week. BBC announcers take the cake when it comes to "gravitas."
"A Royal penguin found stranded on a New Zealand beach 2,000km (1,200 miles) from its Antarctic home has died.
Lisa Argilla, a vet at Wellington Zoo, said they suspected it had suffered multiple organ failure.
The bird, which was dehydrated and starving . . . . ."
Enough! This is one bird thousands of miles away, not your dear grandmother, the gruesome details of whose death would not be shared with the grandchildren. Why is this one misbegotten bird considered international news? I call it news pollution. Its toxic effects are insinuated into the cellular energy of anyone within earshot, even half a world away.