Saturday, June 25, 2011

Not all News is Bad News

For every person who advocates for Americans becoming more aware of current events and more involved in the political process, there is an equal and opposite voice that, almost as loudly, tells Americans to turn the news off. To stop buying the newspaper. News and current events, they say, just bring us down. Our sources for this “important” information often only bring us death and scandal and rarely celebrate success or positivity. News depresses us, and it could be argued, maybe connects directly to this national crisis of obesity.

If you watch enough news, or follow Twitter regularly, or pick up the paper every couple days, once in a while you are going to be shocked with some good news. Yesterday was one of those days. In the midst of all the political gore smeared in front of our faces, the state of New York legalized equal marriage. Marriage for everyone. New York is the biggest of the states who have legalized equal marriage, and we can hope is a tipping point for other states (especially those that support large urban populations).

This news comes at a good time for me – the weekend of Chicago Pride – a weekend that has unfortunately become more and more agitating to me the older I get. On my way to work yesterday I picked up the Red Eye (the Chicago Tribune’s commuter short) to check out the reporting on Pride events. I almost didn’t open it after my eyes slid over the cover: a cartoon of a woman in a tight blue and pink outfit and a muscley man in a speedo with a caption about “Beads, Booze and Bods.”

To me, this is like the newspaper encouraging everyone to go out on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and listen to rap music, get corn rows in their hair and eat fried chicken.

Seriously. Equating Gay Pride with rainbow beads, getting blasted and taking your clothes off is totally insulting to what pride SHOULD be. Its degrading. I’m not saying that the Red Eye is uniquely misappropriating the meaning of this event – quite the contrary – the media is simply choosing an angle that will interest its viewership. I’m not pissed that people drink and party over pride weekend – that is certainly part of a celebration. But maybe be a little more considerate about WHY you are celebrating.

I’ve heard people say, “I don’t have white pride parade” or “I don’t have a straight pride parade.” Lets remember, the reason Americans celebrate things like gay pride or black history is because we have come a long way in regards to equal treatment and visibility in these communities. You don’t need to celebrate being a powerful majority since the beginning of time. Celebrate growth and change, and improvement. Celebrate the world being more opening and accepting then it was last year, or even yesterday – thanks to New York.

I did learn from the Red Eye that for the first time teachers from the Chicago Teachers Union would be marching. And that there are 48 entrants in the politician’s category. And that there will be 250 kids and their parents marching from my neighborhood elementary school.

I guess not all news is depressing.

Happy Pride.

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