By Lucy Frost-Helms, Copy editor
I’m tired of hearing what’s going on, and hearing what’s going on makes me tired. This may sound pretentious, or even lazy, but let me explain.
I am a perpetually stressed person, and the amount of coffee I consume on a daily basis doesn’t help. Adjacent to these factors, I consume the news like jelly beans, spend too much time on Instagram and Twitter—sorry, but I refuse to call it X—watch too many depressing documentaries and cannot turn away from an interesting story, even if said story will stress me out or make me sad.
Curiosity is what fuels my stress levels, which is depressing. We are taught to be curious, to ask questions, to investigate further—but, at what point do we, or I, sacrifice curiosity for peace? Is that even a possibility with the standards of being a present human being, let alone the standards of being a college student?
For instance, I am a social science major with a political science concentration, so I take a lot of political science classes. If I don’t consume the news like jelly beans, it’s difficult to be present in conversations that occur in all of these classes—in this case, the stress levels of curiosity are necessary for me to succeed. All of the terrifying statistics on climate change, staying up to date on the ongoing tragedies in Ukraine, the flooding in Libya that has killed more than 3,000 people, Tommy Tuberville being a senator. I mean, War Eagle, but come on.
All of these topics stress me out, but I feel that it is necessary to stay up to date despite the raging stress levels that come from them. Even though I continue to learn, continue to be curious, continue to be present in class, I am tired of hearing what’s going on.
On Sept. 11, in a political science class, we discussed our generation’s opinions and perspectives of that day in 2001. Many of us agreed that early 2000s babies have no personal connection to the Twin Towers being hit, unless of course you unfortunately knew someone who was affected. But, none of us did. Many of us also agreed that we were desensitized from that tragic day and only remember hearing about it in elementary school for the first time, filling out worksheets about our feelings toward it. But, despite our generation being defined by 9/11, both politically and culturally, there seems to be little attachment.
Gen Zers have seen a great deal of tragedy within our short lifetimes. Other than 9/11, we have been defined by the housing crash and recession of 2008, unbelievable amounts of gun violence—the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that killed 20 children and six adults, specifically—the clearest documentation of the ongoing police brutality epidemic, increasingly destructive natural disasters emphasized by climate change and of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just re-reading that paragraph makes me nauseous; no wonder 9/11 doesn’t seem to make an impact on us. Generation Z has witnessed and been defined by weird tragedies, and when I read about a 4th grader who has been murdered by an automatic weapon while eating their school lunch, I am terrified, but not surprised.
At this point, it’s expected and seems as though nothing is going to change. The National Rifle Association will continue to make their bank and the 2nd amendment will continue to be defended up to the ownership of grenade launchers.
Without hope and no promising improvement of ongoing issues in the United States and the rest of the world, it becomes hard to care—it becomes hard to hear about what’s going on.
There is an internet term for this: black pilled. It’s a bit of an anarchist term, and depending on where you stand on the political scale, it can have different definitions. But, in the most general of senses, black pilled defines a person that believes error has infiltrated operative systems in government too deeply, that society is too far gone, that humans have done too much environmental damage, that it’s okay to be tired of hearing what’s going on because you think it’s not going to get better.
I am black pilled. Bad news depresses me, which gives me some good empathy credit, but it also wears me out considering that I hear and read about the same things every single day with little change in sight. War crimes, mass shootings, famine, environmental disasters, political ridiculousness, animal abuse, human trafficking, religious persecution, affluent college kids getting away with sexual assault—none of it surprises me.
I’m sorry if you’re depressed reading this, but, welcome to my brain! Sometimes it’s warm and cozy, but, more often than not, social media consumption along with being surrounded by the intelligent students and professors of UM constantly informs me of what’s going on in the world, and it’s hard to imagine that—with Earth’s carrying capacity ever closing in—stability is forthcoming.
Knowing the happenings of the world is exhausting; sometimes I just want to throw my phone into University Lake and not hear anymore news, but, for things to get better, I still ultimately feel doing that is negligent.
For things to get better, we must continue to devour information and fight the good fight. But, I am here to give you my opinion that it is okay and perfectly normal to be tired of hearing what’s going on. I know I am. You can still make a difference in the world, even though you may be tired of hearing about it.
Lucy Frost-Helms is the copy editor of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in social science and minoring in philosophy. She enjoys being a goober, eating chicken salad for breakfast, watching “National Treasure” and telling you that she will “definitely pay you back for that.” Lucy has the worst memory of all time and will forget major, important details of stories you tell her.