Last week was weird.
After digesting the commentary, from the intellectual to the laughable to the degrading – my takeaway is this:
Extremism is awful. It’s also everywhere.
The Huffington Post is not “a liberal rag.” Nor are conservative media outlets the devil incarnate.
Whether you’re referring to media outlets or individuals, if you think only in terms of “right winged wackos” and “liberal nut jobs,” please stop.
I’ve been a longtime reader of The Huffington Post, and many of its blogs have positively influenced the communication style of my marriage, the way I speak to children (not just my own), and how I treat my friends.
I also listen to NPR, read the New York Times, and follow congressional coverage from my friend Chad Pergram of FOX News. Ted Talks fascinate me, and I love when A Mighty Girl pops up in my Newsfeed.
I don’t care if it comes from alt weeklies, city lifestyle pubs (shout out here to Joe O’Donnell, a publisher from my hometown who took an unexpected detour in his career to launch the killer publication that is B-Metro), or mainstream media.
I don’t agree with all the content these entities publish. But you know what? My perspective is enriched when I absorb the information they provide.
One of the greatest magazine covers I’ve ever seen was the July 2008 issue of The Atlantic, which asked the question, “Is Google Making Us Stoopid?”
Don’t be that person.
Instead of reacting angrily to what’s trending, or hurling vitriolic insults toward people with whom you disagree, use your powers for good.
Don’t be so afraid of having your beliefs challenged that you cling to the cloistered confines of your computer. Instead, think for yourself.
Read voraciously – what you love, what may seem boring or hard, and especially what differs from your chosen point of view.
If you allow yourself to be baited and persuaded by hotheaded hyperbole instead of using your own grey matter to think critically and sort out how you feel about things, that’s the real tragedy.