ST. JOHN’S — Local marketing consultant Ashley McEwan is focusing on her own emotional well-being by reading precisely enough news to be filled with pervasive existential dread at all times.
“It would be irresponsible to not keep up on any news at all,” McEwan explained, before briefly taking a moment to glance at her Twitter feed and wincing sharply. “But it’s also easy to fall down a rabbit hole of being too plugged in. It’s all about balance, which is why I never read so much news that I’m actually completely informed about an issue. If any of us actually fully comprehended global warming, or the Myanmar refugee crisis, that way lies madness.”
McEwan elaborated further, “So I’ve precisely tailored my news consumption to leave me with a constant feeling of powerlessness in the face of creeping worldwide authoritarianism and unchecked transnational corporate overreach. No more, no less.”
“Then I check Chrissy Teigen’s twitter feed, to take the edge off,” McEwan added.
As many Canadians complain of being inundated with news that ranges from depressing to terrifying, McEwan has developed a system that “just barely leaves her feeling the exact right amount of awful.” She credits this feeling indignant malaise to a steady diet of stories about Trump/ Russian collusion, accelerating global warming, ballooning real estate costs, and resurgent white nationalism.
In the average week McEwan says she maintains a sensible diet, keeps in touch with friends, constantly monitors panic-inducing social media news alerts as if it were her job but not so much that she mentally collapses, and plays weekends on a local softball team. McEwan also credits alternate forms of media for allowing her to stay frighteningly up-to-date.
“Podcasts are also a great resource to work me riiight up to the line of stomach churning anxiety when I’m on the go,” McEwan explained. “If it weren’t for Terry Gross’ increasingly barely-concealed righteous outrage on NPR’s Fresh Air, I don’t know where I’d find the time.”
Asked how she unwinds, McEwan stressed the importance of a balanced media diet. “Sometimes I like to unwind after a hard day of marketing reports and finely calibrated never-ending societal panic with some light TV, like RuPaul’s Drag Race.” The 31-year-old professional added, “Of course, then I make sure to cap the night off with any of the dozen late night comedy shows which relentlessly remind me of society’s systemic injustices, all in the guise of comedic monologues.”
“Thomas Jefferson wrote that a ‘well-informed electorate is a prerequisite to democracy’,” McEwan explained, her knee compulsively tapping up and down.
“But I bet if he’d been on Twitter he would’ve just been like ‘fuck it, let’s smoke some hemp.”