After Trump’s victory I’m abandoning ‘real’ news, give me sport instead

If sport is the opium of the masses, it’s a lot more fun than the US election

I skipped right past fear and went directly to loathing

I skipped right past fear and went directly to loathing

 

We were somewhere between the calling of Ohio and Wisconsin when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like, “I feel a bit light-headed, maybe you should drive.” Herself said, “Settle down there, Hunter S, and stick to your side of the sofa. It’s a long time till morning.”

Did I say drugs? I meant the creeping realisation that the most serious set of responsibilities in the western world was about to be handed over to a deeply unserious man who neither wants it nor has the first notion what to do with it. So just like mescaline mixed with ether and bourbon, then, but not nearly as fun and followed by a far more paralysing hangover.

And as the night went on and CNN’s John King drilled down into the returns coming in from places like Broward county and Wayne county and Manchester city (not that one), I skipped right past fear and went directly to loathing. Not for Trump, not for Republicans, not for America, not for any of that.

No, the loathing was for me. Me, the gobshite who set his alarm for 1.30am on a school night to sit boss-eyed in front of it all until dawn. Me, the fool who spent the past 18 months reading Politico and listening to John Dickerson and following Molly Ball on Twitter. Me, the hot-take idiot who had not heard of FBI director James Comey on a Friday, declared he was a danger to the known universe on a Saturday and pronounced him a straight-shooter in an impossible job on a Sunday.

No news is good news

So that’s it. I’m out. Done. On Wednesday morning, I unfollowed every political reporter on my Twitter, debookmarked every serious news site and deleted every non-sport podcast. I have made a healthy, informed and democratic decision to stop taking an interest in the world.

You can keep your serious news. You can keep Trump and Pence and Palin, you can keep May and Boris and Farage. You can definitely keep Enda and Micheál and Gerry. I’ll maybe take the odd update on how Michael D is getting on, but you can keep the rest.

Second Captains

While you’re at it, you can keep bond yields and interest rates and quarterly reports. Trouble me not with public sector pay or Irish Water or the rent crisis. Keep from me as a parent would a child any news of Ryanair, Apple or Anglo. Been there, read all the books, still none the wiser.

Give me sport instead. Now more than ever, now and forever more. Give me Pep and Jose. Give me Cody and Davy. Give me a million imagined slights and total paranoia about biased referees. Give me half a road of rock, a no-man’s land surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.

Give me the new. Give me Ultan Dillane running like Denis Hickie in Paul O’Connell’s body. Give me Gabriel Jesus splitting the Argentina defence and making fans of Manchester City (yes, that one) tingle. Give me Thistlecrack clouting fences at top speed and still coming up the hill in front, leaving you to wonder how far he’ll win by when he learns to jump.

Ruby and other gems

Give me ephemera. Give me triviality. Give me pub arguments about TV pundits who delight in not caring whether they’re right or wrong and delight even more in the fact that people think they do. Give me Joe Brolly. If at all possible, give me him bound and gagged and strapped to a post with a loud-speaker just above his head blasting out motivational TED talks.

Give me an hour of back-and-forth over whether Wes should start even though we know the answer is always yes. Give me two hours of to-and-fro over whether Dublin should be split even though we know the answer is no. Give me Big Data. Give me top-of-the-head spoofing. Either is good.

And yes, I know. I know that this is exactly the sort of thing big brains like Noam Chomsky rail against.

The powers that be want us sitting nose-to-screen, distracted by this cup run or that qualifying campaign while they casually slither into power behind our backs. Sport as the opium of the people, politics as the messy business we miss in our junk-addled fog.

Well, guess what? No election in history was more talked about, written about, debated or decried than this one. No political event ever got more coverage from all across the world. There are a million reasons Trump got elected but it surely can’t be argued that it was down to nobody paying attention.

So, yeah. Back to sport, news be damned. See you sometime in 2020.  

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