An Odd Ritual

Posted on August 30, 2022. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I’m on vacation this week. Baby is sleeping and Olivia has taken the older one out on some errands. A rare moment to sit down and read the New York Times cover to cover. As I flipped through the pages, stopping to actually engage with each and every tragedy or suffering or instability afflicting some region or segment of the population, it was hard not to notice the contrast between the articles and the advertisements in the paper. Directly opposite 1000 dead in Pakistan flooding was full page “Google keeps you safe.” Adjacent to a severe beating in Hong Kong was an advertisement for the miracles of modern medicine being delivered in some US health system. The subtext was clear: “everyone else is fucked but you, cozy New York Times home delivery reader, are SAFE & COMFORTABLE.” How did this come to be? The daily ritual of sitting down and consuming all of the problems you don’t have…

There’s comfort in processing your reality in contrast to a “worse one,” but it’s a pretty ugly, if not sociopathic ritual to do so. Under the guise of being “informed,” or some kind of thin veneer of empathy for protagonists of the world’s bad news, we’ve been quietly and daily reassuring ourselves how good we have it. How and when was it normalized to sit down, spend an hour effectively rubbernecking societal wreck after societal wreck, only to fold up the paper, take the last sip of your coffee, and do nothing about it? I’m not above this in any way. I’ve done that exact thing thousands of times. It’s just such an odd ritual to have permeated our collective daily routine.

Before digital feeds of information and content, the newspaper was a predictable daily feed of the suffering you weren’t experiencing. That’s not to say you weren’t suffering in different ways, but why not start the morning with something worse than your life? Look no further than reports of death and killing, which I’d wager have graced the pages of every New York Times issue since there was a New York Times, to guarantee that you can consume something worse than what you are experiencing. If you have a pulse, a newspaper can show you someone you are doing better than.

I deleted Tik Tok from my phone months ago because the algorithm decided I like videos of people being punched in the face. I told Chris that’s why I deleted it, and he said “Tik Tok doesn’t think you like that, it knows you like that, you just don’t feel good about it.” Maybe he’s right…a more modern successor to the ritual of reading the Times…their suffering isn’t my suffering…but just because we all have lizard brains, doesn’t mean our attention needs to be pointed at feeding them.

I guess there really isn’t a point to this post…just a weird observation, but it feels good to sit down and write something longer than 140 characters…it has been a minute…

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One Response to “An Odd Ritual”

RSS Feed for Jordan Cooper's Blog: startups, venture capital, etc… Comments RSS Feed

Wow. Amazing thought. Thanks for sharing.

On Tue, 30 Aug 2022 at 9:22 PM, Jordan Cooper’s Blog: startups, venture

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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