By: Joan E. Battey

A further question might be "how many readers don't care"? To revive an old emphatic statement by a politician some years back: how many people don't know what they don't know -- things that they should know.

Today's news and accessibility is so far removed from that of earlier years that the headline question above can't reach enough people, and likely doesn't interest many who are already overloaded with work, commitments and incoming mail of all kinds. Is that why so much now rises up to surprise people who in earlier years would have been up to speed on needed advance notice of them?

Is that somehow turning into an unrecognized secret weapon to forever change daily lives and livelihoods? Take note of any place where people are. See how much more closely they are almost glued to hand-held devices than to much of anything else in their immediate vicinity, including family and friends. Friends, relatives, researchers, competitors, even apparently now, thieves are within earshot everywhere.. What is being transferred to others, compared to what is registering with the careless caller, in between rings, buzzes, and personal broadcasts to any who are within forced earshot?

We worry about national security leaks, in a nation where people wander public places chattering constantly in one-sided personal conversations, often heard an aisle away in large stores, waiting rooms or restaurants. What bits of information are scarfed up and re-assembled as parts of puzzles the chatterers don't seem to care if others have no choice but to hear? (And retain for mentioning elsewhere, in areas where people could likely recognize casual references to names and places.)

Maybe we should worry more about how much personal and business information is dispersed by people immersed near-totally in their own environment and contacts, not thinking about how that information can and will be used by others who hear it?

World War II home front posters warned that "Loose lips sink ships." Today's public places could use some re-assessing of today's far faster and more public sharing of information now, than in the dangerous times of WWII.

We seem to be gradually herded into places and situations we'd rather not know about, let alone be involved in; but which have built steadily while people assumed that everything was going to be coming up roses for "us." Meanwhile, we're also so busy that we all miss much we should have noticed -- like more news than just headlines and front page photos and sports and entertainment, etc.

News organizations largely claim that they have changed to fit changing lifestyles. Or have news organizations changed the lifestyles, and the health and customs and interests of a growingly-divided country? Are we largely willingly abdicating many aspects of our eternal vigilance of earlier years, regardless of what political or personal interests were otherwise involved?

Is that why so many things are suddenly rising up to stun us with their ominous implications? Is it too late to include that in all the texting and twittering and tweeting and character-count-limited exchanges of news and views? Can it be reversed? Especially , can it be reversed if "we" are as much to blame as "they" are?

"Published originally at : republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact."

Joan E. Battey is a freelance political writer from Apalachin, NY. Her love of logical dot connecting and writing developed over many years of  typesetting and proof reading in small daily newspapers; ad agency and manufacturing office secretarial work, and volunteer work in libraries, animal welfare, political campaigns, and networks of people keeping abreast of the steady "reforms" in education. She is a regular columnist for Ether Zone.

Joan E. Battey can be reached at:

Published in the March 13, 2013 issue of  Ether Zone.
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