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Friday, March 14, 2014

New toilet door locks from South Africa


The trial of Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympian charged with murder, will have a dedicated 24-hour television channel in South Africa, promising "round-the-clock" coverage of this blockbuster story of the year.

24-hour television channel? "Round-the-clock" coverage? Hello? Are you still there?

I mean, here we are with the world on a razor's edge economically and ecologically, and two superpowers engaged in a Mexican stand-off over the Crimea, and we are totally absorbed by the story of a nobody who's allegedly shot his girlfriend and whose only claim to fame is that he's mastered the art of running on a pair of legs which are not his own?

No one doubts that it is an exciting story as is the disappearance of a Malaysian Airline jet with 239 people on board. You could spend all day on this and indeed you probably have. You followed the story on the evening news, you caught up with it again on a number of websites, you've been thinking about it in the bath and on the way to work. You've brought it up with friends. You have a few secret theories you haven't discussed with anyone.

But after a while, such stories obscure all those far quieter yet for us far more consequential worries which we need to face within ourselves. A balanced life requires a curious combination of concern for and indifference to the news which must not become an excuse or means by which we avoid our responsibilities to ourselves.

Despite what the news insists, for its own commercial reason, not everything that happens out there can or should be our business.