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Konrad Werner: The news is meant to be a bit boring

Sometimes we pretend the news is important and serious because we hate ourselves and want to be unhappy.

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Photo by FaceMePLS (CC BY 2.0)

Last week, I wrote this boring article. It tells you about something that’s going to happen next year and explains what that thing implies about something that may or may not happen even further in the future. It has no relevance to your life or the lives of any of the people who read it. In fact, probably the only people for whom the news in it might be relevant are people who are in positions that mean they know a lot more about it than me and therefore don’t need to read it in the first place.

First the article summed up what the NATO defence ministers agreed at their meeting in Brussels last week – which was to do what the Baltic NATO members have been asking them to do for ages: reinforce the NATO military presence on the Russian/Baltic state borders – and then it quoted one of the world’s many defence analysts who work in one of the world’s many think tanks.

He said that this was exactly what everyone thought was going to happen at the Brussels meeting. Then he said that – since Russia already has a massive military presence in the region which would, in the event of a conflict, still easily overwhelm the NATO forces there – the NATO move was basically just a token of solidarity with those Baltic states, who had actually been pressing for a lot more military reinforcement. Because after those invasion things happened in Georgia and Crimea, those countries have started to get a bit worried about Russia invading one day.

See? Innocuous when you read it. But only if you read it. But if all you do is read the headline – which mentions that a certain NATO member is moving a certain type of military equipment to the border of a country it used to be at war with, and which has to be short and dramatic because I’ve been conditioned to try and make you click on the fucker – and especially if you read the headline only in the form of a tweet, you might decide that NATO has suddenly decided to invade Russia and that the EU is in fact a Nazi super-state.

And then you might decide to spend the rest of the weekend tweeting me hilarious comparisons to Hitler invading the Soviet Union as if it’s the most original joke in the whole fucking world. I mean, I realize it’s my fault for locking myself into this hysteria-machine, but honestly I think it’s not worth it and you should get an allotment and do some gardening instead or maybe make pancakes. I’m not having a go, I just think ultimately you’d be happier.

Hear an oral version of this rambling tirade and much more in News des Nachrichtens, with Konrad Werner and Drew Portnoy: