Context Snapshot # 1

This blog has various functions. One of the bigger ones–conceptually if not in practice, is a kind of “witness to the world” thing. I have this fantasy that if my blog landed in some electronic time capsule discovered later by aliens or the round- blobs-of-video-watching-dough that humanity evolves into, they will have some sense of the experience of being living during this time. Kind of like when they find day-to-day letters from some pioneer woman chatting aboutlife and describing the dress she’s been pining for in the Sears and Robuck catalogue.

Talking to a friend recently, it occurred to me, that what is lacking in terms of “witness to the world-ness” is context. I do a fair-to-middling job of recording various things that happen to me, me, me. And the aliens will probably be able to extrapolate something about our society from my scintillating comparisons of hummus varieties on the market or growing paranoia at the DMV. But for their benefit–and/or more likely my own, should I skim through these posts in a few years–I should probably try to periodically, to give a little snapshot of what’s happening in the world right now.

But, because I am aim to be not so much a journalist as an honest recorder of the human experience, my experience in fact, I should probably battle the temptation to seem intelligent and informed by researching and fact-checking etc., but instead note a few news as they actually filter into my awareness.

So, for example:

In the last couple weeks:
-American pop idol Michael Jackson died. He was really popular during my youth. Had a big impact on the who music video industry. Late a subject of scorn due to accusations of “meddling” with young boys, and his mask-like visage–a result of way too many plastic surgeries. In death however, all seems forgiven, as there are tributes galore, and many a grief-stricken shout out on various social networking sites.
-Iran elected a new leader, and a lot of people there felt it was fraudulent, and there have been riots and protests and violence. And I don’t know what’s happening now, as the whole thing seems to have largely faded from the news.
-There’s this thing going around called “Swine Flu.” There was a lot of hubbub after the first few cases, with warnings that it was going to develop into a global epidemic. Now, I believe it HAS turned into a global epidemic, but only 300 people have died, and they seem mostly to be the very old, young, sick-with-other-things-too people who die from other kinds of flu as well, so it, too, has really diminished in terms of news coverage.
-Sarah Palin, who vaulted to fame as John McCain’s running mate in the recent presidential election, has retired as governor of California.
A recent study has shown that Colorado is the only state in the union that has an obesity rate of less than 20 percent.

In case you (or the future aliens) are wondering, I get and forget my news from the following sources:

-A BBC newsfeed in my menu bar that I don’t remember installing.
-A New York Times feed that comes to my email.
-The actual, made-out-of-paper Sunday L.A. Times, though often I don’t get through the whole thing.
-The bank of televisions at the gym. (However, because I generally use the elliptical machines, which are in the third row behind the treadmills and the stationary bikes, I am too far away to read the subtitles. I can tell you that they were talking about -Sarah Palin on “The View” this morning, and I can tell you that Whoopi Goldberg had a lot to say on the subject, but have no idea what that was.)
-Occasionally, but rarely, other people’s blogs, or links posted on Facebook.

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